Warts, also known as Verruca Vulgaris is a minute, flesh like a bump on the skin or mucous membrane caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV). As it appears on the skin, it is necessary to take care of warts to avoid further problems. This article discusses the types of warts and how to care for warts.
What Are Warts?
Wart occurs when the virus comes in contact with the skin and causes an infection. The virus is most likely to enter broken or wounded skin, as it penetrates through the top layer into the skin through these cuts and abrasions. There are more than 60 types of HPV and warts are commonly found on the fingernails and hands. There are some certain types of HPV, which causes warts to occur in the genital area.
The dermatologists are still unsure of the fact that why some people are more prone to warts than others. Children are much more likely to get warts more often, than adults. This is because the immune systems of the children are not so strong and have not built defenses against the HPV virus. Warts are contagious and can spread by directly touching the infected person or by coming in contact with the things and surfaces touched by the infected person such as towels and bathrobes.
Many warts have numerous black dots like seeds; these are blood vessels that provide warts with oxygen and nutrients. Warts can also spread from one part to the other when picked or touched frequently. Hence, it is very important to wash the hands after touching the infected area. There may ways to care for warts, which if known, can help maintain health.
Types of Warts
Before discussing how to care for warts, it is important to know the types of warts. There are mainly three types of warts, which include
Plantar Warts – These types of warts are mainly found on the soles of the feet. They mainly appear as a light brown tinted or a flesh-coloured lump with speckles of blood clot vessels that commonly appear as black dots.
Genital Warts – These types of warts appear mainly in the private and genital areas. They appear mainly in or around the anus or vagina. These are minute, flesh-colored or pink-colored bumps that appear in these areas. They appear in clusters and might grow or spread quite rapidly. They are usually painless but might sometimes cause slight bleeding and itching. This type of HPV contamination is the most commonly transferred sexual infection in North America. Some of these viruses are also responsible for causing cervical cancer.1
Flat Warts – These types of warts are commonly seen in children and teens. These are much tinier than other warts. They commonly appear on the face and in many women, these warts can also be seen on the legs.
How are Warts Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of warts is normally done by a dermatologist with any of these common techniques:
- The doctor examines warts.
- The doctor might scrape the upper layer of warts and look for dark-coloured dots and blood clotted vessels.
- The doctor might remove a minute area of warts for biopsy and send it for further examination.
How to Care for Warts?
Most warts heal on their own without any specific treatment and it might take two to three years for new warts to appear. It is better to consult a doctor before trying out any home remedies to understand the severity of the condition. How to care for warts depends on the type and severity of the condition. Home remedies might also result in the spreading and worsening of the condition. Treatment of warts might take a few weeks or months depending on the severity. The main motive of the treatment is to eliminate warts by restoring the immune system’s response to fight against the virus. Doctors generally start with the least painful process and gradually build up a tolerance.
Some of the common treatment methods and ways to care for warts include
Salicylic Acid for Warts:
Salicylic acid is the main and only type of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), which mainly functions by removing the dead layers of warts, little at a time. This type of strong peeling action is the most effective when combined with freezing.
Cryotherapy to Treat Warts:
This therapy is also commonly known as freezing. This is usually done at a doctor’s clinic. This process involves the use of liquid nitrogen for freezing up the wart. Freezing causes a vesicle to form beneath and throughout the wart and the skin starts to peel and fall off within a week or so. This treatment further enables in developing immune resistance to combat future warts. It is advisable to repeat this treatment several times for the best results.
Talking all good, there are also some side effects of this treatment. It includes pain, blisters, and discoloration of the skin of the treated area. Since this method is aggressively agonizing, it is not recommended to treat warts in children.
Other Acids for Treating Warts:
If salicylic acid and freezing fail to work, then the doctor might use trichloroacetic acid. In this method, the dermatologist primarily scrapes the skin and then proceeds with the acid by applying it with a wooden toothpick. Repetitive nursing must be required per week to achieve maximum results. Side effects include pain, burning and stinging.
Minor Surgery for Warts:
This is the least preferable method. The doctor might incise an area of the tissue, which can leave a blemish at the treated area.
Laser Treatment for Curing Warts:
A little on the expensive side, laser treatment burns off any infected tissue. This leads to the infected area eventually drying and falling off the wart. The side effects of this treatment for curing warts include immense pain and scarring.
Along with these treatment methods, it is necessary to follow medical advice on how to care for warts and during the post-treatment period.
Prevention of Warts
Impossible as it seems, it is not possible to prevent warts from occurring. The only thing that can be done is preventing it from spreading. This is also an important part when discussing how to care for warts.
Do not pick at existing warts – this will prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. Keep warts covered with bandages and always keep hands dry. This is because controlling the virus in a moist environment is difficult. Avoid brushing, combing or shaving the affected areas; this can cause warts to spread.
In the case of genital warts, any of the following preventions prove to be effective:
- The infected person should abstain from sexual contact until the wart is cured.
- If abstaining is not possible, use male contraception during sexual contact.
- It is advisable to have sex only with one partner rather than multiple partners. It is also advised to have sex with a partner who is having sex only with one partner and not multiple partners.
- It is better to avoid sexual contact with a person having genital warts
If warts are severe and home remedies do not seem to work, then it is best to consult a doctor. The doctor might ask several questions like when was the wart first noticed? Was there any incident like this in the past? What treatments have already been used to treat warts? It is important to be familiar with all these details to reap the maximum benefits of the treatment. It is not unavoidable and a few tips and tricks of self-care can treat and prevent this condition. Now that you are aware of the types of warts and how to care for warts, you can take the right action.