What Do You Know About Warts?

Warts can appear on your hands, inner thighs, the soles on your feet, and even on your genitals.  Although warts may be an unsightly condition to experience, it is usually painless and also very common.

Despite warts being a very common occurrence, one can take necessary preventative measures and try conventional or natural alternative treatments to treat this condition.

Types of Warts

  • Dome-shaped warts on knees, fingernails, and toes.
  • Plantar warts are found on the sole (plantar surface) of the foot.
  • Flat (“plane”) warts, most commonly found on the face, legs, and other parts of the body, often in large numbers.
  • Periungual warts are commonly found on or under the nail.
  • Filiform warts are usually seen as a long single stalk, often on the face.

Causes of Warts

Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. There are about 130 known types of human papillomaviruses. Human Papilloma Virus usually affects squamous epithelium, including the skin or genitals, however, each HPV typically infects only a specific area of the body. In addition, many HPV types result in the development of wart or papilloma, a benign growth.

Warts Prevention

Even though skin warts can’t be prevented, there are a variety of precautionary measures you can take to lower your risk of acquiring warts. One of the most important things you can do is to wash your hands regularly. Always try to keep your skin healthy, moisturized, and free of cuts. Try not to bite your nails and always be sure to use clean towels in public locations. Make sure to wear sandals in public locker rooms and showers as well.

For genital warts, Gardasil is an HPV vaccine aimed to prevent cervical cancers and genital warts. There are many different types of HPV, however, type 16 and 18 are the most common forms that result in about 70% of all the cervical cancers and can also cause vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancers.

Treatments for Warts

Common warts usually require early diagnosis and effective management strategies to get rid of them. However, in most of the patients, warts usually disappear within a  few months without any medical or surgical intervention, whereas in others, effective preventive measures and treatment strategies are required.

  • Salicylic-acid preparations – These are commonly available as gels, drops, plasters, and pads. These preparations are used in cases of warts, depending upon the location, size, and intensity of symptoms.
  • Non-prescription freezing methods – Over-the-counter aerosol sprays are used for freezing warts. These sprays contain aerosols, maintained at minus 70°F. However, liquid nitrogen is also used by many clinicians, which is comparatively much colder and effective than cooled aerosol (minus 320°F or minus 196°C).
  • Duct tape – This is one of the most common treatment strategies for warts. In this procedure, a duct or electrical tape is used to cover warts. The tape is left as it is for many days and only removed once or twice a week. Various tapes have been used, however, duct or electrical tape is the most commonly employed for this procedure.

Alternative Treatments and Natural Remedies for Warts

A variety of traditional folk remedies and rituals claim to be able to treat warts and associated complications.

The acrid yellow sap obtained from Greater Celandine is used as a traditional wart remedy. The sap can be applied directly to the affected region, in a similar manner as that of the concentrated salicylic acid solution, however, precaution must be exercised for the amount of sap used.

Final Word on Warts

Warts are generally painless unless they are present in areas prone to pressure or friction like the palms and soles. If you happen to experience a wart, don’t panic, just schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss different treatment options.

Quick FAQs

How many genital warts usually appear?

De Villiers EM, Fauquet C, Broker TR, Bernard HU, zur Hausen H (Jun 2004). “Classification of papillomaviruses”.Virology 324 (1): 17–27.

Warts types, causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention Webmd.com. 2010-09-02. Retrieved2013-05-17.

Kumar, Vinay; Abbas, Abul K.; Fausto, Nelson; Mitchell, Richard (2007). “Chapter 19 The Female Genital System and Breast”. Robbins Basic Pathology (8 ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders