Common warts can appear on the skin as small growths with a rough surface. A virus is the cause behind the warts. It is called the human papillomavirus (HPV). It most commonly affects moist or broken skin, but it can also penetrate intact skin. Sometimes warts appear long after infection. Warts, as a rule, are found among the young population. Individuals suffering from chronic skin diseases or those who get sick often are also susceptible.
They look like a round protruding outgrowth or nodule, the color can vary from pinkish flesh to dark brown. Warts can be single or multiple. Several warts can gather in groups when they are close. If left untreated, they can grow in size and make life miserable.
They are typically found on the face, fingers, especially around nails, articular surfaces (knees, elbows), and soles. Sometimes they are found on the mucous membrane of the larynx and nose. Such warts often degenerate into oncological tumors, therefore, they require immediate medical attention.
Diagnosis of warts
No doctor will give a prescription or start the removal of warts before examination and diagnosis. For an experienced dermatologist, a visual examination is usually sufficient to establish the correct diagnosis. To clarify the situation, dermatoscopy can be performed. The dermatologist examines the individual and determines the type of neoplasms using a dermatoscope (magnifying device).
In some cases, histological examination, which is laboratory determination of pathogens, is necessary. If oncogenic viruses that are dangerous for cancer are found in the tissues, then it will be necessary to select special treatment methods to minimize the risks.
You might also need to have a blood test to identify the papillomavirus strain and its activity if there are multiple warts on the body. A dermatologist or pediatrician selects a treatment plan based on the information collected.
Fortunately, warts can be easily and typically painlessly removed. The size and location of the wart will affect which method suits you best and may include topical medications, cryotherapy (freezing), surgical removal, and other methods.
The most modern method of removing any warts is laser removal. The essence of the procedure lies in the fact that the laser beam seals the vessels that feed the wart. This is a non-contact, selective, completely safe method of treatment. In most cases, it allows you to remove the wart in one session. The technique does not violate the integrity of the skin and does not leave wound surfaces. After removal, the skin does not have scars, bleeding, or burns.
Freezing therapy, carried out by a medical specialist, involves applying liquid nitrogen to the wart. As a result, it destroys the tissue surrounding the wart and deep underneath it. The dead tissue then peels off over the course of a week or so. It also triggers a better immune response. Sometimes, you will need a repeat treatment. This method is not as painless as laser removal and can also cause blister and skin discoloration in the treated area. Since this technique can be painful, other methods are chosen for individuals who cannot deal with pain, including children.
If you prefer to treat the warts at home, you can try several topical medications.
- Salicylic acid works by removing the wart in layers, so to say, so you might need to use it on a daily basis for several weeks for it to be completely gone. At low concentrations, it removes the outer stratum corneum of the skin and facilitates the subsequent freezing of the wart. In turn, at high concentrations, it cauterizes the wart.
- Special ointments and solutions from Happy family pharmacy, such as zinc, 5-fluorouracil, and imiquimod ointment, might also help. Imiquimod, for instance, is an ointment that, when applied to the skin, activates the immune system to recognize abnormal cells and causes a reaction that removes them.
- Although it is best to turn to a specialist, you can turn to over-the-counter freezing spray. As you apply the substance, blanching of the skin and a burning sensation may be observed as a result of exposure to cold. Afterward, the color of the skin will be restored, the burning sensation will quickly decrease and disappear within the next few hours. After 10-14 days, the wart will gradually disappear. During this time, healthy skin is restored under the bubble at the site of the wart.
Since warts are caused by a virus and typically a weak immune system, removing the visible part of the issue is often not enough as there is a chance that new warts will appear. After a thorough examination, the physician will be able to recommend how to avoid relapses and effectively deal with the current issue.
Here are some recommendations that will help you to avoid an uncomfortable situation that warts inevitably lead to:
- Carefully follow the rules of personal hygiene;
- Strengthen the immune system through a healthy way of life;
- Balance diet with fat restriction and sufficient protein;
- Take a course of vaccination against HPV;
- Use individual manicure tools and cosmetics.
The appearance of new warts on the body can be prevented by covering existing growths with bandages. It is not recommended to wet with water, comb, clean, and shave areas where warts are present (to avoid the spread of the virus). You should wash your hands thoroughly after touching warts.