A dense mat of spider webs, held onto the skin by a sheet of paper fastened with string. Compresses of castor oil. The milk squeezed from the leaf of a wild lettuce. These are part of the treatments that were in use over a century ago for the age-old and most irritating of skin conditions, warts. There is no indication that they may be caused by toads.
Common skin warts can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medication containing salicylic acid. It works by dissolving the keratin and dead skin that makes up the wart infection. It is applied topically using pads, gels or plaster. This wart treatment doesn’t cause negative effects on the skin despite being an acid. At worst, the skin reddens and stings slightly. In case of such inflammation, just avoid using it on the irritated areas. Avoid using it on facial warts as the skin is generally more sensitive and likely to draw more attention than intended.
Continuing On With Wart
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is responsible for genital wart infections. It is transmitted from one person to another only by sexual intercourse or other intimate contact. It isn’t possible to catch it from toilet seats or spa baths.
The obvious result of infection with the human papilloma virus is the growth of warts, sometimes of quite a large size, on the penis in men and around the genital area of women. They may appear as flat, pale areas on the skin, or as the dark-colored, irregularly-shaped lumps more usually associated with warts. After contact, the incubation period varies from 1 to six months, but may be even longer.
There are a set of hidden problems with this virus. In men, the virus may be present on the penis, but no warty growths may be obvious. They may only be seen if a doctor stains the area with a particular liquid. The wart virus may likewise be present at the end of the day of the urine tube (urethra) that crosses the penis, and in that situation the warts are completely invisible. The warts can also be spread through sexual contact to other areas of the body.
Both men and women can be carriers of the virus from one sexual partner to another without being aware that they’re infected. Only when the warts become large and obvious does the victim seek attention.
It is in women that the sterling, and deadliest, problems occur. If a woman is infected by HPV, she may develop genital warts not only around the exterior of her genitalia, but internally where they’re difficult to detect. There may in fact be no warts present at all, but once the virus enters the vagina, it can attack the cervix. This is the opening into the uterus (uterus). HPV infections of the cervix are associated with cancer of the cervix. It doesn’t happen immediately and may take some years to develop. However, a large proportion of women with this infection will develop cancer. Cancer of the cervix has few early signs and is often not detected until it is well under way and difficult to treat.
Every woman should have regular Pap smear tests every year or two while she is sexually active. These tests can detect this kind of pre-cancer and cancer, genital wart infections and other gynaecological problems at an early stage. When detected early, the cancer can be addressed effectively and completely cured. Any woman who knows that her partner has genital warts should be extremely careful to have Pap smear tests, and probably more often than normally recommended. Condoms can give reasonable, but not total, protection against catching an HPV infection.
The genital warts themselves, in both men and women, can not be treated by destroying the warts with acid paints or ointments, freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen, or by burning them away with an electric needle or lasers. Treatment with all except the acids and freezing will require either a local or general anaesthetic depending on the size of the affected area. Treatment is often prolonged, as the warts tend to recur, but with careful observation and rapid treatment of any recurrence the infection will finally settle.
There are various types of treatment methods used besides these medications. One if it is laser treatment, mostly used for overly recurring genital warts although it cost high to do the procedure. Another method used is electrodessication. This uses electric current on the affected area to destroy the warts. There is also a technique called cryotherapy that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts.
Another type of method used, mostly for warts that are still beginning to acquire or those which are still small in size and number is surgery. The only problem with it is that it tends to have a greater chance for the warts to return again, although this might be the fastest and easiest way of treatment. People also tend to try various types of non-medical procedures such as acupressure and acupuncture, and even ayurveda, though of course, these are mostly not advisable by doctors and other specialist.
Anyone who is treated for genital warts should also have tests performed to check for the existence of other venereal disease, as a person carrying one type of VD could well carry another.
Warts on the skin are caused by a virus, a very slow-growing virus. This may take months or years to cause problems. Only a quarter of the people are susceptible to the wart virus, the rest of us have natural immunity. That is why some people never catch the disease, even if they may come into contact with warts frequently.
Warts are more common in children from 8 to 16 years of age. The virus is caught from someone else who’s got the disease, and months or years later, the wart develops. People with warts shouldn’t be isolated for fear of spreading the disease. The virus is common in the community. Isolation of victims is both impractical and ineffective.
Once a wart has developed, it will normally go away by itself without any treatment, but this may take many months or years. The average life span of a wart is about 18 months. The body gradually builds up antibodies against the wart virus, and when they reach a high enough level, the virus and wart are destroyed. Normally that person then has long-term resistance to further wart infections.
The most common sites for warts to develop are the knees, hands, feet, and elbows. When warts develop on the ground floor of the feet they’re called plantar warts or verrucae.
Because warts can become both unsightly and painful, many patients wish them to be removed. The medical profession has progressed a step further than using spider webs and wild lettuce. However, the principle of wart removal remains the same. They cannot be cured by tablets or creams, they must be physically removed. The methods available are acid paints that are applied regularly to eat away the wart tissue, freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen to destroy its cells which causes it to fall off within a few days, burning the wart tissue away with a large voltage electric current in a proceeding called diathermy, injecting a cell destroying substance under the wart, or cutting the wart out surgically. All these methods have their right and wrong points, and if a wart is more than just a few millimeters across, the various options should be carefully discussed with a doctor.
Because warts eventually disappear without any treatment, only those that are causing disfigurement or discomfort should be treated, as a scar may remain after any type of surgery, freeze, or diathermy. Warts may also recur after all such forms of treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with male genital warts, it’s best to consult a qualified practitioner regarding a proper form of treatment. The treatment you’ll be advised depends on factors like the extent of the warts, if you’ve had warts before and whether your warts respond to locally applied creams. You may choose from creams like imiquimode or podofilox. These are locally applied. There are a few precautions you’ll have to be taken when you’re on medication. You will also have to ask your partner to seek treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with genital warts.
If you have been advised surgery, you’d be having large warts, or warts which are resistant to other forms of treatment. Treatment options in this situation include electrocautery, cryosurgery, surgical excision or laser treatment. Remember that this condition recurs because the underlying virus isn’t easy to eliminate. You may have a relapse after you warts have gone.
In the future, it may be possible to obtain a vaccine against warts to prevent the emergence of this virus, in the same manner as measles and influenza vaccines work today.
If you’re not sure whether a lump on your skin is a wart, it should be verified by a doctor, as certain forms of skin cancer may mimic a wart in appearance.
Plantar warts (or verrucae) are warts on the ground floor of the feet. These tend to grow inwards rather than out. They tend to cause more problems than warts in other areas because they become painful with walking and so need treatment at an early stage than warts elsewhere on the body.
The treatment of plantar warts is the same thing as for skin warts, but a far larger hole than expected is commonly left in the sole of the foot, as plantar warts tend to be a little bit like icebergs, with only a small portion showing on the surface. It may take some weeks of the surgery for the hole to heal.
The information given on this page isn’t designed as a substitute for the advice of a registered doctor or other healthcare professional.
The content of this page is intended only to give a summary and general overview. Do not use such information to disregard medical advice, nor to delay seeking medical advice.