Treatment of Warts

Warts are ugly and sometimes painful. They are contagious. Most people who get warts are otherwise healthy. People whose immunity is poor have a tendency to get more warts than others.

Warts are a type of infection caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are at least 60 types of HPV viruses. Everyone is frequently exposed to the virus, but it is not known why certain parts of our body accept certain types of viruses at certain times.

Warts can grow on all parts of our body. They can grow on our skin, on the inside of our mouth, on our genitals and on our rectal area. Some types of HPV tend to cause warts on the skin, while other HPV types tend to cause warts on the genitals and rectal area.

Warts on the hand may be passed to another person when that person touches the warts. It is also possible to get warts from using towels or other objects that were used by a person who has warts.

Warts on the genitals can be passed to another person during sexual intercourse. It is important not to have unprotected sex if you or your partner has warts on the genital area. In women, warts can grow on the cervix (inside the vagina), and a woman may not know she has them. She may pass the infection to her sexual partner without even knowing it.

Often warts disappear on their own, although it may take many months, or even years, for the warts to go away. It is not known why some warts disappear and others don’t.

Generally, warts require treatment. Warts are often bothersome. They can bleed and cause pain when they’re bumped. They can also cause embarrassment, for example if they grow on your face. Treatment may also decrease the chance that the warts will spread to other areas of your body or to other people.

What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are common warts that have the distinction of growing on the bottom of the foot (“planta” is Latin for sole).

Since they are on the sole of the foot, where pressure is applied, plantar warts grow inward and can be extremely painful. They tend to be flat and hard, usually gray or brown in color, with one or more pinpoints of black in the center.

A plantar wart is not the same thing as a corn or callous, as the wart may not be located over a bony prominence.

A virus causes plantar warts. Thus they are contagious, but require that the virus contact the skin or with clothing that has come into contact with a wart. The plantar wart is usually contracted by walking barefoot where the virus can be found. There is no known way to prevent them.

Children are more susceptible to warts than adults. The virus thrives in warm, moist environments (such as locker rooms).

Plantar warts can disappear spontaneously and recur later. They can be intensely painful when pressure is placed directly on the wart.

Preventative measures that may be taken include changing shoes daily, keeping the feet clean and dry, and avoiding direct contact with warts, even your own.

What is the treatment for warts?

There are more than 100 known treatments of warts, including several folk remedies. (Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn recommended three: dead cats, beans, and spunk-water.) Modern medicine has developed a number of approaches. These include:
-Applying salicylic acid
-Applying liquid nitrogen
-Electrocautery (burning the wart with an electric needle)
-Laser surgery

Local anesthetics may be required. None of these treatments is guaranteed to work in every case. And warts can come back!

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