Warts – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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What are warts?

Warts are small out growths on the skin caused by a virus Human Papilloma Virus (H.P.V). It has several strains up to about 40 each having a specificity of the body part to grow. For example the virus strain producing warts on the body parts like neck, hands and face is different from the virus affecting the genital parts and on the soles of the feet.

Warts on palm

Warts on palm

Where do warts grow?

Warts can grow anywhere on the body, usually harmless except itchiness of the affected area. The warts grown on the soles are extremely painful. The warts grown on the genitals are highly contagious through sexual intercourse. The virus enters into the body through the abrasions on the skin and produce warts. Warm and moist weather favors the spread of the virus. The warts are generally black or dark brown in color. They grow usually in a single out growth with rough and irregular contour. Some times they also grow in large numbers closely giving the appearance of a cauliflower. Some warts will have a pedicle and some are closely attached to the body. Some times they disappear of their own accord. Usually treatment is not required since they are harmless. But warts which are grown on the face need surgical removal in those conscious of beauty (Cosmetic). Genital warts and solar warts need treatment.

What are the symptoms of the warts?

Common Warts:

  • These appear as hard and firm growths appear on the neck, hands and shoulders possessing a rough and raised surface.
  • They are black or dark brown in color and are round.
  • They are firmly attached to the skin.
  • Some times they grow in groups called ‘Crops’

Plantar warts:

  • These occur on the soles of the feet. They are extremely painful and cause inconvenience for walking because the soles are the weight bearing parts of the body.
  • They are flattened in the skin of the soles with thickened edges and dotted with a black spot.
  • Walking barefooted in communal and dirty places will cause infection of the virus.

Genital Warts:

These warts occur in the genital areas of men and women. In men they grow on the fore skin of the penis, on the glans penis and in the anal region caused by human Papilloma virus. They are transmitted through sexual intercourse and reported by men most commonly. An infected person can transmit the disease to the sexual partner. The warts appear in the infected person in about few weeks to twenty months. In women they are seen on the vulva, Vagina, cervix and anus. Pregnant women having these warts are at a higher risk of transmitting the infection to their babies during delivery. Preventing of these warts is following safe sexual methods only and avoiding contact with persons having the genital warts. Condoms are not safe in protecting with infection.

Treatment of Warts:

There are several methods of treatment of warts. Many over the counter medications are available for treatment of the warts. Many of these medications aim to the removal of the growths only. However it is advised to consult a skin specialist before going for self treatment.

Surgical Removal:

The radical method of treatment is only by surgical removal of the warts under local anesthesia. This procedure is necessary when the warts grow on the face neck and eye regions especially in those of persons conscious of beauty (Cosmetic).Other skin warts are generally not treated since they are harmless and non painful.

Electrical Cauterization:

The wart is cauterized by means of electrical supply through a special needle. Application of this causes destruction of the wart and prevents further growth at that place. Laser beams are also used for similar cauterization.

Cryo Surgery:

In this liquid nitrogen is used to cauterize the wart with a special instrument at a temperature of -1960 C. The wart gets destroyed at that temperature and completely stopping the recurrence of the wart.

Topical Application Used:

Strong acids usually salicylic acid is used in several preparations to destroy the wart. These acids not only remove the wart but can also harm the healthy skin. Therefore careful usage is a must in using these products. The healthy skin should be protected first before applying the medicine.

Homeopathic Treatment:

Homeopathic treatment claims complete cure for the warts without recurrence of the warts. It can also be worth tried under the guidance of a qualified homoeopathist.

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