Warts Can Be Removed

Warts are a type of skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The infection causes rough, skin-colored bumps to form on the skin. The virus is contagious. You can get warts from touching someone who has them. Warts most commonly appear on the hands, but they can also affect the feet, face, genitals and knees. Warts can be removed with creams, medication or surgical procedures.

What causes warts and are they contagious?

When the human papillomavirus (HPV) enters a cut in the skin, it causes a skin infection that forms warts. Warts are very contagious. The virus can spread from person to person or from different parts of the body through:

  • Direct contact with a wart.
  • Touching something contaminated with the virus, such as towels, doorknobs and shower floors.
  • Sexual intercourse (genital warts).
  • Nail biting and cuticle picking.
  • Shaving.

First things first, what exactly are HPV warts?

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Types of HPV that can cause different types of warts:

Genital Warts (Condyloma Acuminata): Genital warts are sexually transmitted and are caused by certain types of HPV. They can appear on the genitals, as well as in and around the anus and the mouth. Genital warts can vary in size and may be raised or flat.

Common Warts (Verruca Vulgaris): These are the most typical type of warts and are usually found on the hands and fingers. They have a rough, raised surface and can be gray, flesh-colored, or brown.

  • Butcher’s warts: These warts tend to develop on the hands of people who handle raw meat (like butchers) and those whose occupation involves frequent exposure to a cold, moist environment.

Palmar Warts: These warts are small, soft, and flatten when pressed. They have a skin tone similar to the surrounding area and are often found in clusters.

Plantar Warts: These warts appear on the soles of the feet. They can be painful and often have black dots in the center. Plantar warts are sometimes mistaken for calluses.

Verruca vulgaris:

These are keratotic growths that usually appear on the hands or, occasionally, in any part of the body.

Palmar or plantar warts:

These are flat, callus-like growths that, unlike calluses, interrupt the fingerprint patterns and are painful to lateral pressure.

Flat Warts (Verruca Plana): These warts are smaller and smoother than common warts. They often appear in large numbers on the face, neck, hands, wrists, and knees.

Filiform Warts: These warts are long and narrow, often found on the face, particularly near the eyes and lips. They have a thread-like appearance.

Subungual and Periungual Warts: These warts develop under or around the nails. They can be painful and affect nail growth.

Oral warts: also known as oral papillomas, are growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) that develop in the mouth or throat. HPV is a common virus that can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s skin or mucous membranes.

Mucosal Warts: These warts can develop on mucous membranes inside the mouth, throat, and genital areas. They are often flat and less common than genital warts.

  • Oral warts
  • Genital warts

Heck’s disease, also known as focal epithelial hyperplasia (FEH), is indeed a distinct subtype among HPV-associated lesions. It’s caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV), specifically types 13 and 32.

Warts & Cancer

Warts, in general, are benign growths caused by various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). While most warts are harmless and do not lead to cancer, certain high-risk strains of HPV have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. Here’s what you need to know about the relationship between warts and cancer:

Low-Risk HPV Strains and Warts: The majority of warts, including common warts, plantar warts, and genital warts caused by low-risk HPV strains (such as HPV types 6 and 11), are benign and do not pose a cancer risk. These warts can occur on the skin or mucous membranes of various parts of the body.

Condylomata Acuminata (Genital Warts): Condylomata acuminata, also known as genital warts, are caused by certain strains of HPV, primarily types 6 and 11, as well as high-risk types such as HPV 16 and 18.

High-Risk HPV Strains and Cancer: Certain high-risk strains of HPV, particularly types 16 and 18, are strongly associated with the development of certain cancers.

While most warts are harmless, it’s essential to be aware of the potential link between certain HPV strains and cancer. Seeking prompt medical attention for any unusual growths, particularly in the genital or anal area, and staying up-to-date with recommended screenings can help reduce the risk of HPV-related cancers.

How are warts managed or treated?

Warts often go away on their own after your immune system fights off the virus. Because warts can spread, cause pain and be unsightly, your doctor may recommend treatment. Options include:

  • At-home wart removal: Over-the-counter (OTC) wart removal medications, such as Compound W®, contain salicylic acid. This chemical dissolves warts one layer at a time. These products come in liquid, gel and patch form. You may need to apply the medication every day for several months to get rid of the wart completely.
  • Freezing: During a procedure called cryotherapy, your doctor applies liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart. After freezing, a blister forms. Eventually, the blister and wart peel off. You may need several treatments.
  • Immunotherapy: For stubborn warts that don’t respond to traditional treatments, immunotherapy helps your immune system fight the virus. This process involves a topical chemical, such as diphencyprone (DCP). DCP causes a mild allergic reaction that makes the wart go away.
  • Laser treatment: Your doctor uses laser light to heat and destroy tiny blood vessels inside the wart. The process cuts off blood supply, killing the wart.
  • Topical medicine: Your doctor may apply a liquid mixture containing the chemical cantharidin. A blister forms under the wart and cuts off its blood supply. You must return to your doctor’s office in about a week to have the dead wart removed.

What are the complications of warts?

Most warts go away without any significant problems. Sometimes warts cause issues, such as:

  • Cancer: HPV and genital warts are linked to several different cancers, including anal cancer, cervical cancer and throat (oropharyngeal) cancer. You can lower your risk of genital warts by getting the HPV vaccine and using condoms.
  • Disfigurement: People with weakened immune systems may develop unappealing clusters of warts on the hands, face and body.
  • Infection: Infections can occur if you pick or cut a wart. Breaks in the skin allow bacteria to enter.
  • Pain: Most warts don’t hurt. But plantar warts can grow inward into the foot and be painful to walk on. You may feel as if there’s a pebble under the skin.

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