What Are Warts? – Types, Causes, and Treatments

Warts are small fleshy bumps on the skin that are caused by a type of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 HPV viruses that are responsible for causing this. They generally occur on hands and on the bottom of the feet but can occur in other parts of the body too. They are usually not painful but can cause pain if they rub against a surface. They are not at all cancerous.

Warts are highly contagious and can spread from one person to another via touch. If left untreated, these warts can grow from months to years and keep spreading from one part to another. Hence, treatment is necessary to prevent them from spreading. Over-the-counter treatment includes application of Salicylic acid to the infected area. If the warts are serious, wart removal treatment in London is readily available.

Types of Warts 

Common warts are also called the Verruca Vulgaris. Symptoms include raised warts and roughened surface and are most common on hands but can spread to other body parts as well.

Flat warts that are also referred as Verucca Plana are a small smooth flattened wart, flesh-colored and can affect most part of the body including face, neck, wrist and knees.

Genital warts, also called as Venereal warts or Condyloma Acuminatum are the most common warts that appear on genital areas.

Plantar warts (Verruca Plantaris) are hard and painful bumps which can have one or more black specks in the center. They usually occur on feet.

Other major types of warts include Filiform wart(Digitate wart), Mosaic wart and Periungual wart.

Causes and Prevention 

Since warts are caused by a virus and are believed to enter the body through skin contact, it is advised to avoid contact with unhygienic surfaces like public toilets and showers. Working with meat is also believed to increase the risk of getting warts. If your skin is even slightly damaged, the virus can easily get inside the epidermis and get you a wart.

Disinfection and Treatments 

The virus Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is immune to many disinfectants but common disinfectants used against it are ethanol(90%), Glutaraldehyde(2%), Savlon(30%) and/or Sodium Hypochlorite (1%). The virus is also resistant to heart and drying and should only be killed if the temperature goes beyond 100℃.

Salicylic acid is generally prescribed for warts by medical professionals and is observed to provide an effective treatment.

 Other Treatment Includes: 

  1. Cryotherapy: It involves, freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen that will make the skin and the virus die and the dead skin will fall off in some time. This treatment needs to have 3 to 4 sessions depending upon the requirement. This procedure is also one of the most widely accepted. It must be done under proper medical supervision since it may take a longer time to treat if it is not done right.
  1. Cautery: In this method, the wart is burnt off, killing the virus and the epidermal cells. It is very effective, but is done only when the wart is non-responsive against above treatments.
  1. Surgical Excision: In cases when the wart is completely non-responsive, it is needed to be removed surgically. A professional surgeon should perform this excision. This method takes some time to heal but it ensures that the wart will not come again.

It is important to note that treatments like cryotherapy, cautery and excision should be done by experienced medical professional. None of these treatments are very expensive. You must not take it lightly since this can not only spread on other body parts but also can affect others around you.