A wart is a skin growth caused by some strains of human pailloma viruses (HPV).
The HPV virus infects the upper layer of the skin and usually enters the body through a skin lesion.
The virus causes rapid growth of the upper layer of the skin, thus forming a wart.
Warts can develop anywhere on the body and are mainly found in:
- Young people.
Types of warts
The common wart (also called vulgar wart or verruca vulgaris) often arises on the hands, but can occur anywhere on the body.
These skin formations are firm and dome-shaped and have a gray-yellowish color. They are painful only under pressure.
One should not confuse it with a pimple, which has a red color.
The plantar wart develops on the sole of the foot, often on the ball of the big toe, but can also occur:
- under the heel,
- on the toes.
Foot warts are divided into:
- Simple plantar wart: it looks like a rough plate with a few dark spots in the middle.
Plantar warts can cause foot pain when walking and you may feel like walking on gravel.
- The mosaic wart is a subspecies characterized by many small warts joined together in the form of a mosaic.
They are less common and more superficial than the simple sole of the foot.
The subungual and periungual warts occur under and next to fingernails and toenails.
They appear as coarse bumps with irregular surfaces and edges. They can affect nail growth.
The flat wart is a smooth growth that usually forms in groups on the face, arms or legs.
- common in children,
- less often during puberty,
- only rarely in adulthood.
It is small (2 to 4 mm in diameter, usually smaller than a pencil eraser), flat and can appear:
- or light yellow .
The brush wart usually develops around the mouth, around the nose or in the beard area. It is skin-colored and has thread-like growths protruding from the wart.
Genital warts or papillomas
- Anogenital warts: are usually asymptomatic, but can also cause discomfort and itching. Genital warts can appear on both the skin and the mucous membrane.
- Laryngeal warts (simple papillary pachyderma) are benign growths that can cause disturbances in voice formation (when speaking) and usually need to be removed.
What is a periungual wart and what does it remind you of?
Periungual warts are abnormal formations that are difficult to detect at first.
At the beginning, they are only the size of a pinhead and are smooth, which is why they are often not noticed until they have grown large enough.
Over the course of weeks, periungual warts grow and develop rough, irregular edges that can interfere with nail growth.
As a result, the nail can fall off.
In extreme cases, the nails can remain deformed and damaged forever. If left untreated, the wart can grow into the nail bed and cause serious infections.
Genital warts (sometimes called condylomata acuminata or genital warts) are the typical sign of genital infection with the papillomavirus. However, many people have a genital HPV infection without genital warts.
Genital warts are soft, moist and skin colored.
They appear within a few weeks or months of infection.
They are usually found:
- in the genital area,
- within the pubic zone.
Occasionally they appear in groups, reminiscent of the shape of a cauliflower. They can have a relief or be smooth and small or very large.
- In women, genital warts can appear on the vulva and cervix, or around and in the vagina and anus area.
- In men, genital warts may appear on the penis, on the glans penis or in the scrotal area.
There are cases when genital warts appear in the area of the thighs and groin.
This phenomenon should not be confused with the vesicles of genital herpes.
Infection with genital warts
Genital warts are very contagious.
They can be transmitted during any type of unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Transmission can also occur through skin contact, for example during sexual intercourse with an infected person (rarely).
About two-thirds of people who have sexual intercourse with a partner with genital warts usually develop the warts within 3 months of contact.
Complications of genital warts
Cancer Some types of HPV (especially 16 and 18) can cause:
- cervical cancer,
- carcinoma of the vulva,
- Penile carcinoma (rare).
However, most genital HPV infections do not lead to cancer.
In women, a Pap test can detect any abnormal cells on the cervix.
In men, the complications of HPV are diagnosed by:
Pregnancy and childbirth
Genital warts can cause a number of problems during pregnancy. Since genital warts can multiply and become larger, the doctor will point out options for their removal if necessary.
Genital warts can also be removed to ensure a safe and healthy birth of the newborn.
Sometimes they enlarge during pregnancy, and if the warts are in the urinary tract, they can cause pain when urinating.
If the warts are inside the vagina:
- they can make the vagina less elastic,
- represent a disability during childbirth.
Are warts contagious?
Simply touching a wart does not automatically cause infection.
The viruses that cause warts are transmitted from one person to another through close body contact or through contact with a surface previously touched by a person with a wart, such as:
- a bath mat
- or a shower cubicle.
A small incision or skin lesion increases the susceptibility to warts in any area of the skin.
Additionally, a wart can be transferred from one part of the body to another.
The time between when someone comes into contact with the virus and the formation of a wart can vary.
Warts can grow very slowly and sometimes take weeks to develop.
Symptoms of warts
- Most warts are raised and have a rough surface.
- They can be round or oval.
- The area where the wart is located may appear light or dark, depending on the surrounding skin tissue.
Only rarely are warts black.
- Some warts have a smooth or flat surface.
- The wart can swell or become inflamed and can also cause pain and itching.
Tests and diagnosis of plantar wart
The species can diagnose a wart only by looking at the skin curve.
Sometimes the doctor may remove the top layer of the wart to look for coagulated blood vessels (black dots) that appear on warts. If the diagnosis is still not established properly, the doctor may send a small sample of skin to the laboratory for analysis to rule out other types of skin growths.
In the differential diagnosis of warts, it is necessary to exclude the following possibilities:
- Skin calluses (Tylom)
- Pronounced keratosis
- Molluscum contagiosum
- Seborrheic or actinic keratosis
Difference between Wart and Calluses
The sole of the foot wart hurts when walking. The body weight causes a push into the depths.
Typical for a wart are the black dots, which represent coagulated blood vessels.
A wart bleeds when you try to scratch it open. A wart should not be cut away for the following reasons:
- it may recur;
- may expand;
- more warts may form nearby.
Calluses form at the heel and at the base of the toe, warts, on the other hand, in softer places and where there is no friction.
Therapy for warts
Since they generally do not cause problems, they do not always need to be removed.
Without treatment, some common warts regress on their own and can persist from 6 months to 2 years.
The doctor may decide to remove a wart if:
- it causes pain,
- is a hindrance in daily activities.
As a rule, doctors recommend removing the warts because they are very contagious and can spread to other parts of the body.
Doctors have severalways to remove warts, including:
- use of over-the-counter or prescription drugs on the wart;
- burning of the wart by weak electric current; the wart is removed by cauterization. The dermatologist often also performs an abrasion of the wart. This method is used for common warts, brush warts and plantar warts.
- Icing of the wart with liquid nitrogen at – 196° (cryosurgery). The skin surrounding the wart turns white and a crust forms that falls off over time.
Liquid nitrogen removes the wart in no time.
After treatment, a blister may form; Dermatologists usually advise against opening them to prevent infections.
The bladder disappears on its own within 20-30 days.
- Application of acid. The doctor may scrape off the wart and then apply trichloroacetic acid with a cotton swab.
Side effects include pain and burning.
Repeat this therapy weekly.
- Immunotherapy. This method uses medications or solutions to stimulate the immune system to fight the warts. The doctor may inject a foreign substance (antigen) into the warts or apply a solution or cream to the warts.
- Surgical intervention. The doctor then surgically removes the wart sutures. As a result, a visible scar remains.
- Vaccination. HPV vaccination has been successfully used to treat genital warts.
- Laser treatment. However, this therapy must be repeated frequently because the wart is not completely removed.
The repetition should be done every 3 to 4 weeks.
The effectiveness of this form of therapy has not been scientifically proven.
The wart may disappear within a few days after treatment, but several treatments may be necessary.
Usually, doctors don’t cut out warts, as this would cause scars and can lead to recurrence.
If a larger child has a simple wart on his finger, one can ask the doctor if a natural remedy can be used for removal.
This type of treatment often takes weeks or months before you see a result, but eventually the wart should go away.
Medications for warts contain corrosive chemicals and must be used with caution as they can also damage the healthy areas of the skin.
Talk to your doctor before taking an over-the-counter medication
- or on the genitals.
For these areas, less aggressive creams are usually used, for example, with retinoic acid.
Home remedies for warts
If the wart is treated at home, one should proceed as follows:
1. Bathe the wart in lukewarm water and remove the dead skin on the surface of the wart with a nail file (this should no longer be used for the nails) before applying the drug.
Care must be taken to ensure that the healthy skin surrounding the wart is not injured.
2. The wart area should be covered while the drug is working.
3. The wart must not be rubbed, scratched or punctured to avoid spreading the virus to other areas of the body.
Ask your doctor if this home remedy is right for the child.
What to do if warts do not heal?
Apple cider vinegar Method of removing warts using apple cider vinegar
For this procedure for removing warts with apple cider vinegar, you only need 3 things:
1. Apple cider vinegar;
2. cotton wool;
Every night before going to bed, dip a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, place it on the wart and fix it with a plaster.
Leave it on the wart all night or even over 24 hours.
When does the wart fall off during this treatment?
The wart will swell and pulsate in response to the vinegar. Eventually, it turns black over the course of the first two days.
After a week or two, it disappears completely.
N.B.. It is important to continue treatment for a few days or a week after the wart is gone to avoid recurrence.
Among the home remedies, there is also fig milk and garlic, which can be applied directly to the wart.
How long does it take? Prognosis
Usually, warts are harmless outgrowths that pass by themselves within 2 years.
Warts around and under the nails are more difficult to treat than warts in other areas.
These skin elevations may recur after treatment, even if they seem to have healed.
- in children, the wart disappears on its own,
- in adults this does not happen, so treatment is required.
After removal of warts, slight scarring may form.
The wart can reform in the same place if it is not completely healed.
- Warts or genital condylomata acuminata
- Hyperkeratosis of the skin and in gynecology
- Human papillomavirus