Warts are relatively common but should be treated if found to be growing. Warts are caused by certain types of a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). Most warts are benign, but some can cause cancer.

Common warts may appear as red bumps, but others may become inflamed, painful, or infected.

In this article, we look at the treatments and remedies for common warts. A summary of the types of warts and how to treat them:

Non-cancerous warts:

Backed by most healthcare professionals, there is a common belief that non-cancerous warts are nothing to worry about. If a wart gets bigger and starts to break, then it is best to seek medical advice.

Non-cancerous warts are generally harmless and are most often caused by a virus. However, it is possible for a wart to become cancerous, so it is important to see a doctor if a wart appears to be getting bigger.

When a non-cancerous wart gets bigger and starts to break, it is best to see a doctor. However, some warts are a sign of the virus causing cancer. This is because a cancerous wart would need to be a large size in order to break through the skin.

Symptoms

Many people develop warts in their early teens and stop developing them after a few years. However, not everyone’s body produces the necessary enzymes to break down the wart virus, so warts can recur in some people.

When a wart starts growing again, it can look very different from a previous time. This is because a person’s body may have lost some of the cells that help the wart to grow.

However, if the wart is less than 10 mm (0.4 inches) in size, it is unlikely to cause any problems, so many people do not notice it.

It is important to note that not all warts are the same in appearance and severity. A wart can be:

  • round and flat, similar to a zit
  • shaped like a leaf, for example a jellyfish
  • straw-like, for example a shell
  • ellipsoidal or small
  • red, for example from an ingrown hair
  • blood-red, for example from skin infections
  • or any other color or shape
Cancerous warts

Cancerous warts are abnormal growths of skin cells. They can grow in the same place as a normal wart, but they will usually occur in an area that is deeper in the skin and appear bigger.

Cancerous warts may turn black or become very ulcerated. A doctor will often scrape them off the skin, and if this is not successful, the wart may need to be removed entirely.

A wart that has become cancerous may return at any time, but it will usually do so again if the cancer cells are not killed off. The cause of cancer is not known, and different cancers have different treatment options.

What are the different types of warts?

The main types of wart are:

Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet. They are considered non-healing sores that require removal. There are many different types of plantar warts. A doctor is the best person to determine whether you have plantar warts.

The medical term for plantar warts is plantar cell adhesion. Your doctor will be able to determine the type of plantar warts on your feet.

Common types of plantar warts include:

a.) Ponticelliforme warts are very painful. They are extremely stubborn, and it can take years to eliminate them completely. They are found on the dorsum, or middle of the sole.

b.) Prometheidunum warts are slightly more flexible than Ponticelliforme warts. They can be removed in the office in about 30 minutes.

c.) Laverne warts grow all over the sole of the foot. It is very painful to remove.

d.) Tarsal warts are very painful to remove. You may need to visit the doctor in order to remove them.

e.) Ulcerative foot warts often appear in between the toes. They can take several months to grow.

Flat warts

Flat warts usually grow on the face, on the hands or anywhere else where a bump or lump is undesirable. Treatment depends on the size and location of the growth. In some cases, the growth is removed with surgery.

Warts, also called stomatitis herpetiformis, are benign growths that usually form on the hands, feet, or genitals. They can also appear anywhere on the body, including the upper lip, inside the ear, the nose, the mouth, and on the palms, soles, and other hard surfaces.

Filiform warts

Filiform warts grow around your mouth. You can get them by putting your finger in your mouth or by putting anything in your mouth like ear wax, tape, soap or a pacifier. They’re not a thing you’d really notice, unless you were to pull your lip down and see them.

Filiform warts are different from Papillomavirus and Trichomonas in that they’re cultured in the lab. Trichomonas is on your skin, Papillomavirus lives in your nose and throat, but Filiform warts can be grown in a lab and removed.

Periungual warts

Periungual warts are most common on the toenails on the inner or third (inverse) side of your toes. They may be painless or may cause redness and sensitivity when you step on something that scrapes the area or if you have been standing in the shower and something drips on your feet. Most cases appear on people in their 20s, with an average age of onset of 13 years.

Occasionally, the wart will be on the pads of your feet. These pads of the feet are called paravertebral ganglia, which is sometimes mistakenly called the “distal ganglia” of the feet. The ganglia are small clusters of nerve cells that control movement of the feet and ankles.

But Periungual warts are not caused by an infection of ganglia. Instead, they may be caused by underlying inflammatory issues such as psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or psoriatic neuropathy.

There are a number of reasons you might develop a periungual wart.

When nails aren’t cut or filed. A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that periungual warts are more common in people who don’t properly file their nails or who don’t wear shoes or socks that fit them correctly. If you don’t take the time to properly care for your toenails, you may be more likely to develop a wart on the inner (periungual) side of your toes.

What causes warts?

The main cause of warts is a virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is usually passed on through skin-to-skin contact or from kissing.

HPV can also be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact with contaminated areas of the genital area, such as the inside of a diaper.

The virus causes warts in the same way that it causes warts on other parts of the body. A wart will appear as an abnormal lump that has not been there before.

In most cases, the wart will go away on its own without any treatment. The risk of infection depends on how much wart tissue is left.

Maintaining good hygiene is a good idea to prevent infection. For example, keeping a sanitized wipe in the genital area will help to prevent any contamination.

Treatment

Most warts will go away on their own, but there are a few treatments that can help to relieve them.

Self-treatment

Applying a solution of 1% hydrogen peroxide or an antiseptic to the wart can help to remove some of the fluid inside. Applying a solution of 1% hydrogen peroxide or an antiseptic to the wart can help to remove some of the fluid inside.

People can usually treat warts at home. This is usually as simple as:

creating a solution of 1% hydrogen peroxide and rubbing it onto the wart keeping the solution on the wart for about 20 minutes, and then removing the solution People should avoid touching their wart directly, as the wart will spread the infection.

Patch tests

A medical prescription wart wart treatment, such as a cream, will usually not remove the wart. A small bandage should cover the wart.

A dermatologist or general practitioner can recommend a better treatment. These include: 3M iWart Spray, Vaseline Intensive Wart Removal etc.

These treatments can be purchased at most drugstores and pharmacies.

Other medications

There are also some other medications that can be used to treat warts. These include:

Allopurinol

Allopurinol is an anticoagulant and prevents blood clots. It is often used to prevent the formation of blood clots and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

It is prescribed to treat blood clots in the legs, but it can also be used to treat warts.

TNF blockers

TNF blockers help to reduce the body’s response to the immune system. This reduces the chance of the body’s immune system attacking the wart.

Mast cell stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers help the body to reduce its inflammatory response to skin infections and warts. This reduces the chance of the body’s immune system attacking the wart.

Diet

People should eat a healthful and balanced diet. According to the World Health Organization, diet is a factor in most chronic diseases.

The more nutrients a person has in their diet, the healthier they are likely to be. It is usually helpful to follow a healthful diet, especially if they are experiencing any discomfort, discomfort, or pain associated with their warts.

Getting rid of warts

There are two main treatments for warts.

The first, surgery, will be necessary if the wart is very large or infected.

The second, freezing, is a relatively new procedure that helps the body to kill a wart by freezing it off. Doctors freeze a wart using cryotherapy, which uses cold, chemicals, or both.

The procedure may be an option for those who are unable to get treatment for their warts at home. Many people have success with freezing their warts. There are some risks, however. In some cases, freezing may actually destroy the wart, making it grow back. People should talk to their doctor about this.

Treatment guidelines

People should seek medical attention when a wart causes serious discomfort, pain, or other symptoms. Warts should not be left untreated for longer than two weeks. If a wart has grown in a new location, a person should see a doctor. Fingernail, toenail, and plantar warts can be removed with a cuticle cutter.

This tool allows a doctor to remove the nail portion of the wart and surrounding tissue. If a wart is small or has not grown, a doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter medication or cream. A person should start using the medication immediately and continue until the warts are gone.

Home remedies

To treat warts at home, a person can try the following: Warm water on the wart and wart juice with a cloth can help remove it.

Using a wet, clean finger, dabbed with a solution, or cuticle pus from the wart can help remove the wart. Wash the affected area with a solution of rubbing alcohol and water and clean the skin with a water-soaked cotton.

The pH of the solution can also help the warts to wither. Washing the area with a solution of baking soda and water, diluted with some water, can help remove the wart from the skin.

A person can make a paste of white vinegar and baking soda and use it to dry out and remove a wart. Apply an antibiotic ointment such as neosporin to dry out the wart. Apply some tomato paste to the infected area and cover it with bandages.

Prevention tips

If a person gets a wart at a young age, they may be more likely to have a repeat infection. A person should pay special attention to their hands and feet, and use an antifungal cream on them every day.

Warts can appear anywhere, but they are most commonly found on the hands, arms, hands and feet, the head, under the nails, the genitals, and under the toenails. In most cases, there is no way to prevent warts.

To prevent infections and re-infections, a person should always wash their hands, avoid touching or picking at warts, and wear latex gloves when working in a laboratory.

Warts can grow back, so it is important to wear the right gloves and practice good hand hygiene. A person should never allow their hands to get wet, as this can lead to infection.

The following wart tips may help:

Warts are contagious, so always cover warts with nail polish and/or bandages when they are going to be exposed to people who are not immune.

Warts tend to be more contagious when they first appear as these are usually small, but they grow and become larger. Because warts have a high number of white blood cells, they have a high chance of being re-infected.

Warts will usually grow back, so they should always be removed and a new one replaced. Warts may grow at the same rate for both boys and girls, but more often in boys.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4054795/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0001731016300813
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2724027

 

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