A wart is a rough, small painless growth on the skin that somewhat resembles a blister or a cauliflower. Typically, warts are caused by human papillomavirus although there are other types of warts that are sexually transmitted and appear on the genitals. Hence, warts can be very embarrassing especially those that appear on the genitals signaling a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, the HPV infection that causes warts is contagious and can be transmitted through open skin although in some cases it appears as a secondary symptom to other diseases such as cervical cancer and Heck’s diseases. However, the most common types of warts are harmful since they usually last for only a few months.
Types of Warts
Common warts- Like the name suggest, common warts are most likely to occur on the skin. They are often characterized by appearances on the hands, face and forehead although they can spread to other parts of the body. They rarely occur in adults but are rampant in children.
Genital warts- Most are sexually transmitted and usually appears on the vaginal, anal canal, pubic area and in between thighs.
Flat wart- Usually smooth and flat appearing in large numbers especially on the wrists, knees, neck, face and hands.
Plantar Wart- Symptoms include multiple black protrusions that appear on soles of the feet causing pain and difficulty in walking or running.
Peringual Wart- Resembles a cauliflower and appears on the fingernails or toenails.
In order to identify a wart and proceed with the appropriate elimination procedure, it is crucial to consult a dermatologist. Although in most cases dermatologists can spot a wart just by a glance, sometimes a skin biopsy needs to be done. If the wart has been confirmed, the dermatologist will prescribe a treatment depending on the patient’s age and type of wart. Unlike children, warts in adults do not easily disappear without effective treatment.
Hence, there are various wart removal procedures that are administered by dermatologists which include;
Cyrotherapy or liquid nitogen- Treatment is done by freezing the wart spot and it is less painful compared to other methods. Although it can cause dark spots in specific dark skin varieties and the procedure needs to consistent.
Laser treatment- The wart is usually numbed with anesthetic injection to reduce pain. Although laser can be expensive and painful, it is one of the most effective methods of wart removal especially for those people who have not responded to other treatments.
Cantharadin- The dermatologist applies cantharadin which is a natural chemical proven to dermal blistering beneath the affected area. After a few days, the dead wart can be eliminated.
Electro surgery/Curettage- The two procedures are administered together for full effect. The electro surgery involves burning the warts with electrical current while curettage scraps off the remaining patch.
Duct tape therapy- The advantage of using duct tape for wart removal is that it is quite cheap and it can easily be self-administered. Although research indicates that it is sometimes inconclusive especially when treating extensive warts.
There are other over the counter medications such as Veregen, Imiquimod and Bleomycin. Additionally, HPV vaccines are capable of preventing specific warts growth.