WARTS

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is contagious, so it is easy to get this virus. Many people get a wart when they have skin-to-skin contact with someone who has them. You also can get one by touching something that touched a person’s wart, such as a towel or the floor of a locker room.

The type you get depends on the type of HPV that infects you and where it is located. You cannot get them from touching a toad or a frog. If you have any of the following types, contact your dermatologist for solutions.

Types Of Warts?

  • Common - These usually form on the fingers, around the nails where the virus can easily get into the body, such as near a bitten fingernail or hangnail. They also form on the back of our hands. A common wart often looks like a rough bump. You may see black dots in it that look like seeds. These are blood vessels. Because of these black dots, some people call these seed warts. A dermatologist can recommend solutions to eliminate these lumps so they don’t spread.
  • Plantar - When common types form on the soles of the feet, they are called plantar warts. Plantar is the medical term for the bottom of the foot. Left untreated, these types can grow quickly. Most plantar warts are flatter than other common ones. This flattening is caused by walking, which pushes the growth into the skin. This can make them painful. It can feel like you have stones in your shoes. Check with your dermatologist in Bountiful for treatment.
  • Flat - These can be found anywhere on the skin, but are most common on the face. Shaving seems to cause them to spread, so they are common in the beard area of men and on the legs of women. Flat warts are smaller and smoother than common ones. When people get flat warts, they usually have more than one. To effectively remove all of them, visit a dermatologist.
  • Genital - These usually appear in or around the genital region. People get this type through sexual contact. In some cases, a mother can spread them to her baby during childbirth when the baby passes through the birth canal. Any pregnant woman who has had gential warts should tell her doctor and check their Bountiful dermatologist so that steps can be taken to prevent spreading the virus to her baby.

    They are flesh-colored, may feel rough or smooth, and can be large or small. Some people get a single one; others get clusters of them.

    Certain strains of genital warts can cause cancer in males and females, so it is important to get treated from your Bountiful dermatologist early before they can turn into cancer. Women who have been exposed should see a gynecologist to get screening tests for cervical cancer. This screening test allows doctors to find early signs of disease, which can be treated before cancer has a chance to develop.

The HPV Vaccine

HPV vaccines can prevent males and females from getting some of the most common types of HPV that can cause genital warts and cancer. These vaccines do not protect against other types of warts. For the best protection, it is important to get all three shots. The vaccines should be given before a person becomes sexually active.

General Treatment

Many types of warts are usually harmless and tend to disappear with time. Since it can take a few months to longer than a year for them to disappear, treatment from a dermatologist in Bountiful may be recommended.

Treatments can reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other parts of your body and to others.

Some treatments are available without a prescription. However, it is important to see a dermatologist in Bountiful if you:

  • Have them in your genital area or anus
  • Notice that the lump hurts, itches, or bleeds
  • Have more than a few of them
  • Cannot get rid of the them with a treatment that you are using
  • Are not sure what a spot on your skin is

Dermatologists offer many treatments. The treatment a patient receives varies with age, type of wart, and many other considerations. No one treatment works for everyone. Some benign growths are stubborn and require your dermatologist to use more than one type of treatment to clear up.

Many treatments that you can buy without a prescription contain salicylic acid. Your dermatologist in Bountiful can prescribe a medicine that contains a stronger dose. If your dermatologist prescribes a medicine with salicylic acid, you will likely apply it every day after bathing or soaking the lump. It can take many weeks to see results. You should stop treatment, at least for a short time, if it or the surrounding skin becomes sore.

In Office Procedures

One or more of the following treatments, which your dermatologist can perform in the Bountiful office, may be used. Warts can grow deep into the skin, so some patients need a few or even several treatment sessions.

  • Cryotherapy - Cryotherapy is a common treatment. Your dermatologist will freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen, causing it to blister and later fall off. To prevent freezing healthy skin, patients often need more than one treatment. Some people see a lighter spot form on skin treated with cryotherapy. This is more common in people who have darker skin.

  • Cantharidin - Your dermatologist may treat a wart by painting it with cantharidin. This is a chemical that causes a blister to form under the lump. You may need to return to the office in about a week so that your Bountiful dermatologist can clip away the dead parts and re-treat anything remaining.

  • Electrosurgery - This treatment destroys the growth by burning it off.
    • Some types are more difficult to treat than others. Plantar warts, for instance, are hard to treat because the bulk of them lie below the surface of the skin. Your Bountiful dermatologist may use one or more of the following therapies.

  • Excision - Your dermatologist may surgically remove (cut out) a wart.
  • Laser treatment - Advances in technology make laser treatment an effective therapy for some warts, but laser treatment is not necessarily the best option for all types. Many different lasers can be used, and the number of treatment sessions a patient needs from their dermatologist in Bountiful can vary.

  • Chemotherapy - When a growth remains despite many treatments, a chemotherapeutic medicine may be recommended by your dermatologist. This does not mean that you have cancer. These medicines also slow the growth of HPV. Bleomycin is such a medicine. Studies show that it is very effective at clearing warts. Bleomycin is injected into the growth. Getting these shots can be uncomfortable.

  • 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) - This is a cream used for treatment. Patients can apply it at home after seeing their dermatologist in Bountiful, usually doing so once or twice a day.

  • Immunotherapy - This type of therapy stimulates the patient’s own immune system so that it can more effectively fight HPV. There are different medicines used by dermatologists to stimulate the immune system. Some are creams that the patient can apply at home. When such a cream is effective, it causes an intense skin reaction.

  • Occlusion - Another treatment that your dermatologist in Bountiful uses to stimulate the immune system is occlusion. This word means to shut off or close up. Covering the wart with tape is a type of occlusion. Occlusion is often used along with another treatment such as salicylic acid.

Preventing New Growths

  • The following can help prevent warts:
  • Do not pick or scratch at them. This can spread the virus to other parts of your body.
  • Wear flip-flops or pool shoes in locker rooms, pool areas, and showers and bathtubs used by many people such as those in hotels and health clubs. HPV spreads easily in warm, humid conditions.
  • Do not touch someone's growth
  • Keep your feet dry, as moisture helps them spread.

Warts are common and should not cause you to worry. They are benign (not cancer). Your dermatologist in Bountiful can help make sure you get the proper treatment, giving you the best possible result.

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