Warts are caused by a virus called HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) that creates growths to appear on the skin. Although they usually cause no harm, warts may cause embarrassment and may even be painful when they develop on the sole of the foot.
Over time, the body’s immune system usually kicks in and starts to fight back and destroy the wart virus. However, this can take as long as two years or more and many people prefer to take action sooner rather than wait for nature to work.
Types of warts
Common warts: Most commonly found on the hands though they may appear on any part of the body.
Plantar warts: These appear on the soles of the foot and can be very large and painful due to the weight of the body pressing down on them.
Flat warts: Often seen on the face and on the legs of young women who shave their legs regularly. Spreading occurs through scratching and the use of a razor.
Subungual/periungual warts: These are found underneath or around the edges of finger and toenails. They are harder to treat than other types of warts, largely because they can be difficult to access directly.
Genital warts: Also known as condyloma, these may be found anywhere in and around the genital area, including the pubic region, in-between the thighs, inside the vagina or inside the anal canal. The HPV vaccine, Gardasil™, can protect against 90% of the HPV types that cause genital warts.
Treatment options for warts
Over the counter treatments may include salicylic acid creams, pads, or gels.
Professional treatment for warts may include:
- Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen
- Cantharidin application (blister beetle juice)
- Imiquimod cream (Aldara™, Zyclara™)
- Topical 5-fluorouracil cream (5-FU)
- Tretinoin cream (Retin-A™)
- Candida albicans injections
- Pulsed dye laser
- Veregen™ ointment (15% sinecatechin)
Warts can be an embarrassing problem, but your dermatologist has solutions to uncover healthy, beautiful skin. Contact The Menkes Clinic & Surgery Center in Mountain View, California, for excellent dermatological care.