About warts (common warts)

What is warts (common warts)?

Warts are small, self-limited tumors caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

  • Types of warts include common warts, flat warts, plantar warts, periungual warts, and filiform warts.
  • Warts typically disappear on their own with time, but it may take years.
  • Warts respond variably to a variety of treatment measures.
  • Over-the-counter treatments for warts include salicylic-acid preparations and freezing kits.
  • Warts may recur following treatment.

What are the symptoms for warts (common warts)?

Hard patches of skin symptom was found in the warts (common warts) condition

See your doctor for common warts if:

  • The growths are painful or change in appearance or color
  • You've tried treating the warts, but they persist, spread or recur
  • The growths are bothersome and interfere with activities
  • You aren't sure whether the growths are warts
  • You are an adult and numerous warts begin to appear, which may indicate the immune system is malfunctioning

What are the causes for warts (common warts)?

Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is quite common and has more than 150 types, but only a few cause warts on your hands. Some strains of HPV are acquired through sexual contact. Most forms, however, are spread by casual skin contact or through shared objects, such as towels or washcloths. The virus usually spreads through breaks in your skin, such as a hangnail or a scrape. Biting your nails also can cause warts to spread on your fingertips and around your nails.

Each person's immune system responds to the HPV virus differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts.

What are the treatments for warts (common warts)?

Most common warts go away without treatment, though it may take a year or two and new ones may develop nearby. Some people choose to have their warts treated by a doctor because home treatment isn't working and the warts are bothersome, spreading or a cosmetic concern.

The goals of treatment are to destroy the wart, stimulate an immune system response to fight the virus, or both. Treatment may take weeks or months. Even with treatment, warts tend to recur or spread. Doctors generally start with the least painful methods, especially when treating young children.

Your doctor may suggest one of the following approaches, based on the location of your warts, your symptoms and your preferences. These methods are sometimes used in combination with home treatments, such as salicylic acid.

  • Stronger peeling medicine (salicylic acid). Prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. Studies show that salicylic acid is more effective when combined with freezing.
  • Freezing (cryotherapy). Freezing therapy done at a doctor's office involves applying liquid nitrogen to your wart. Freezing works by causing a blister to form under and around your wart. Then, the dead tissue sloughs off within a week or so. This method may also stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. You'll likely need repeat treatments.

    Side effects of cryotherapy include pain, blistering and discolored skin in the treated area. Because this technique can be painful, it is usually not used to treat the warts of young children.

  • Other acids. If salicylic acid or freezing isn't working, your doctor may try trichloroacetic acid. With this method, the doctor first shaves the surface of the wart and then applies the acid with a wooden toothpick. It requires repeat treatments every week or so. Side effects are burning and stinging.
  • Minor surgery. Your doctor can cut away the bothersome tissue. It may leave a scar in the treated area.
  • Laser treatment. Pulsed-dye laser treatment burns (cauterizes) tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. The evidence for the effectiveness of this method is limited, and it can cause pain and scarring.

What are the risk factors for warts (common warts)?

People at higher risk of developing common warts include:

  • Children and young adults, because their bodies may not have built up immunity to the virus
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or people who've had organ transplants

Is there a cure/medications for warts (common warts)?

Warts (common warts) is a viral disease that causes benign skin growths on different parts of the body.

Common warts do not require treatment as they are resolved on their own after a few weeks or months.
There are two main treatments:

  • Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid gradually dissolves the hard scales upon applying it several times a day for over a few weeks. Most salicylic acid solutions are available over the counter at pharmacies. The formulations may contain lactic acid as well. One must go through the instructions slip included in the packages.
  • Cryotherapy: It involves freezing the affected area by applying liquid nitrogen. The nitrogen destroys skin cells in the patches of skin. Since it is extremely cold, brief stabbing pain, redness, and swellings are common. Sometimes, blisters may develop. It may need several sessions with at least one week between consecutive sessions.

After the treatment, viruses may remain in the skin, and warts may recur. These are not advisable for pregnant women and those with nerve damage in their feet due to an underlying health condition such as diabetes.

Hard patches of skin, pain, itching, tightness, and pressure,Sometimes bleeding and or brownish dots of bloodstain
Small, grainy, rough skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands,Patterns of tiny dots, which are small, clotted blood vessels
Salicylic acid,Lactic acid

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