Warts: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Risks, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

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1Overview

Caused by the human papillomavirus, the warts are seen as bumps on the skin that is considered non-cancerous. Fingers, nape, back, on the face and even on the genital areas are the sites where the warts are most likely to be found. It can be contagious, and it can be passed to a person when the virus enters the body through an open wound on the skin. Warts are seen as small bumps or it can be flat in appearance and it is often the same color of the skin or even darker.

2Types

There are several types of warts. The types are specific to the characteristics of warts and where they are usually found on a specific part of the body.

The common warts

Warts found on the face, hands specifically the fingers, and toes. It is common in children because the virus is spread through hand to mouth motion. The warts are characterized as round like seeds that is dark in color.

Flat warts

Is usually found on the face in children, on the legs in females and on the hairy place on the face like the bearded area in males. It is a small and flat wart that appear in clusters on the skin and it is usually pink to brownish.

Plantar Warts

The warts are found on foot, it usually on the sole of the feet. Unlike the appearance of other warts, plantar warts grow inward and can cause discomfort and pain while walking. They are found in clusters on the feet and appears whitish and some have black dots.

Filiform Warts

Just like common warts, it is found on the face but the only difference is the appearance. Filiform warts appear as a skin tag and have the same color as the skin of the person.

Periungual warts

Warts grow on the nails of the fingers and toes and this can interrupt the growth of the nails. It can appear as cauliflower-like warts on the skin.

3Symptoms

Warts use the blood capillaries of the body part where they are usually found to use as a supplement for their growth.

The common warts

Warts on the face, hands, and toes have an appearance of a seed. The color is usually skin tone or even slightly darker.

Flat warts

It is sometimes not noticeable at first but when a physical assessment is conducted, it appears as small and flat warts in clusters on the skin and it is usually pink to brownish.

Plantar Warts

They are also found in clusters on the base of the feet and appears to have black dots or holes surrounded by a whitish callus. The person may experience pain while walking because of warts growing inwards.

Filiform Warts

Filiform warts appear as a skin tag and have the same color or even pinkish. The usual places that filiform is found are around the mouth and nose.

Periungual warts

It can appear as cauliflower-like warts on the skin in between the nails.

4Causes

The Human papillomavirus is the virus that causes infections and also warts on the body. The mode of transmission of the virus is from a direct contact with a person who is infected with the virus, sharing of personal items like combs or even razors can be one of the ways that the virus may be passed.

The virus then enters the body through a break on the skin surface, it will then start to invade the tissues and the symptoms will appear by then. There are many types of human papillomavirus, some virus causes genital warts and some can be classified as cancerous. They usually grow on the moist area on the body, for example, plantar warts can thrive in-betweens the skin folds on the feet.

Have a consultation with an expert in the skin when the warts are painful, bleeding and the color and appearance of the warts changes dramatically. Signs of infection is also a cause of concern that must be addressed right away.

5Risk Factors

Having warts on the body may vary from person to person that can cause discomfort and loss of self-esteem when faced with the wart problem. Risks can be associated and categorized by:

Age

Children and teenagers are more prone to having warts on the body than adults.

Impaired immune system

The immune system acts as the defense of the body against foreign invaders. When the immune system is compromised, the bacteria and or virus can easily live inside the body and this can cause problems to the person.

Constant exposure to moist and damp area

Swimmers are at most at risk for having warts, because of the environment they are in.

People who bite their nails

The hand to mouth movement is one of the modes where the virus can be transferred.

Sharing personalized items

It is not good to share personal things with other people, they might be a carrier of the virus and you can be easily infected.

Poor personal hygiene

Unable to treat open wounds can cause different types of infection and this can include warts.

6Diagnosis

Diagnosis warts are easy, a skilled doctor can determine the skin lesion just by sight and appearance of it. In some cases, the doctor can order a special test to validate the finding, if it is warts or another skin condition and this is Skin biopsy, the doctor, in this case, a dermatologist will obtain a small sample of the skin. It will be then sent to the lab to test and see the structure of the skin.

7Treatment

Warts do not need treatment, it usually fades away through time. But the person may opt to remove it for aesthetic purposes, or the warts are causing problems like pain or spreading in the different parts of the body. The removal of warts requires certain equipment that is used by the dermatologist when the warts are removed there is no guarantee that warts will not be coming back, it may grow back or on other body parts.

  • Laser surgery is burning the skin and warts. A numbing cream will be applied before the procedure to lessen the pain during the procedure.
  • Electrosurgery used electric current to kill and remove warts.
  • Curettage requires a scalpel to remove warts from the skin, it is done by the dermatologist in the clinic to prevent infection and complication.
Other treatments may be done like:

Medications

Cantharidin

It is the cream that is usually applied directly to the wart by the dermatologist. The medicine then causes a blister under the wart and this can kill warts. After a week, you are advised to return to the clinic so that the doctor can remove the wart.

Bleomycin

It is an injection that will destroy the skin and the wart. It is not used as often as other medicines because of the pain after the injection is given.

Retinoid cream

Cream that can inhibit the cell growth of warts eventually killing the wart in the process.

Cryotherapy

From the word “cryo”, the treatment uses a cold liquid to freeze warts. Although there would be less scaring on the skin, it can be painful for the person undergoing the procedure.

Peeling by using chemicals

It uses chemicals to make the skin thinner and peel. The treatment needs to be followed every day for it to work.

Immunotherapy

This therapy uses the immune system of the person with warts. A chemical called diphencyprone (DCP) is applied to the skin and causes a mild allergic reaction that can kill warts. Interferon is a way to boost the immunity of a person, improving the immune system can help the body fight the virus that is causing the wart.

Most people use salicylic at home, wherein the fluid is applied onto warts every day making the skin peel and that can cause warts to be easily removed.

Persons who have other diseases like Diabetes must consult the doctor if they have warts. People who have their immune system compromised must also seek an expert to help them with the proper treatment to be done.

8Prevention

There are ways to prevent acquiring the virus by keeping yourself clean and avoid using others personal things like razors and towels. Other tips include:

  • Proper hand washing to prevent spreading the virus on your body
  • Use proper footwear when going out. The use of boots when it is raining is advisable to prevent the feet from being wet. The use of
  • Treat an open wound and avoid exposing it to a damped environment.
  • Avoid touching your face or other parts of the body when you held an object that is not sanitized or clean.
  • Change clothes or socks when it is soaked to prevent the virus from sticking to the surface of the cloth.
  • Do not bite your nails, the virus may enter the oral mucosa and can cause problems also.
  • If you have warts, cover it and avoid touching it to prevent spreading the virus to the other parts of the body.