Warts - Are They Troubling You?
The most important facts about Warts:
Warts are growths on your skin or mucosa caused by a virus known as Human PapillomaVirus(HPV).
Time to appearance of growth may be few weeks to upto 20 months from infection(incubation period).
These are known by various names like "Common warts", "Plantar warts", "Hand warts", "anogenital warts","periungual warts" etc based on site. "Filiform"(finger like), "digitate"(grouped) or "plane" (flat) warts are based on shape .
HOW these spread?
HPV is highly contagious. Spread occurs by direct or indirect contact. Impaired skin barrier from trauma or excessive wet skin greatly increases the chance of getting infection.
These are confined to skin and mucosa only. These can be confused with skin tags commonly which are mostly present on face, necks or underarms. Plantar warts and corns may cause diagnostic difficulty as plane warts and Lichen planus.
A dermatologist uses his/her clinical acumen and Dermatoscope to differentiate diseases.
Vaccine is available to prevent infection though it confers protection only from four types of HPV (>200 types of HPV are there!).
To limit spread of the infection, avoid:
- Walking bare feet in common bathing areas to prevent plantar warts
- Biting of nails to prevent periungual and oral warts
- Sharing towels
These are treatable but there is no treatment which effectively cures;most effective are given first like Salicylic acid, Cryotherapy, Radiofrequency, Electrocautery,
Treatment type varies in different sites, age, stage of disease etc.
Even some warts may go with time without treatment but impossible to offer a reliable timeline in an individual. Clearance is usually quicker in children but may persist for many years in adults. There is a chance of spread as it takes many months for spontaneous resolution.
So, consult your skin specialist/dermatologist for best solution of your Warts.