Warts are a common viral skin disorder caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus can affect both the skin and mucous membranes. Warts are the most common manifestation of HPV infection. About 150 types of HPV have been identified and some of them tend to affect only certain areas of the body, e.g. HPV type 1 is the most common cause of warts on the soles of the feet, while HPV types 6 and 11 cause warts on the genitals.
Warts are most commonly found in children and adolescents. The risk factors that increase the likelihood of contracting warts are listed below:
- Skin damage (e.g. nail biting, scratching the skin around the nails)
- Handling raw meat, poultry, fish
- Sweating profusely
- Skin diseases (e.g. atopic dermatitis)
- Sharing personal hygiene products, towels
- Immunodeficiency conditions (e.g. HIV infection, use of immunosuppressive drugs)
- Walking barefoot in saunas, swimming pools, gyms, etc.
- Wearing inappropriate footwear (too tight, too narrow)
- Frequent stressful, stressful situations
How does a person get infected with the papillomavirus? Specific features of infection.
HPV is contracted from a sick person or a carrier through direct contact, as well as from contaminated objects (e.g. towels). Skin penetration is facilitated by defects in the skin barrier (minor trauma to the skin, usually invisible to the naked eye). In addition, a person can also become infected “by himself”, e.g. an invisible trauma to a tiny wart can spread the virus to adjacent areas of skin.
HPV affects epithelial cells, causing them to grow abnormally. This results in the characteristic symptoms of the disease – hard skin formations with a rough surface.
In 20% of cases, warts in children have a chance of disappearing spontaneously within a couple of years. In adults it takes longer, usually up to several years. But this viral skin disease is prone to recurrence.
The main types and signs of warts:
Common warts are skin-coloured or yellowish lesions with a squamous surface, ranging from 2 mm to several centimetres in diameter. When damaged, small dots of bleeding (or small black dots) are observed. These warts occur most often on the hands, fingers, palms and feet. Common warts account for about 70% of all warts.
Plantar warts are irregular skin growths with a rough and untextured surface. They usually appear in areas where mechanical pressure or rubbing is greater. These warts can be painful and several warts can merge into a single formation – a mosaic wart. Large warts on the soles of the feet are not only painful but also interfere with running, walking and other physical activities. These types of warts are the most difficult to treat.
Flat warts are flat, oval, round or polygonal formations with a smooth surface, 1-4 mm in diameter. They are yellowish or skin-coloured, hard, and form in lines at the site of small abrasions. Flat warts are usually multiple and affect the hands, wrists, knees, face and neck. It is not a common variant of warts.
Genital warts (pointed condylomata) – treated as a sexually transmitted infection. Most commonly caused by HPV types 6 and 11. Both single and multiple warts are common. In men, these warts can occur on the penis or scrotum, in women on the labia majora. The size of the condylomas varies between 1-5 mm, but larger ones of a few centimetres in size, sometimes fused together, are common. They may be hard (squamous) or soft. If damaged, bleeding is typical.
Warts can also be classified according to their localisation (e.g. apical warts) and morphology (e.g. seam warts, mosaic warts).
How are warts diagnosed?
Warts are diagnosed during a medical examination after a detailed assessment of the rash, the type of skin lesion and the characteristic features of the lesion. Sometimes, in cases that are particularly unclear, a skin biopsy and histological examination of the lesion may be performed to clarify the diagnosis. However, in most cases, no additional laboratory or instrumental tests are needed to diagnose warts.
How to eradicate warts?
The main methods of treating warts are:
Medical treatment – destruction with acids (e.g. salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, etc.);
Cryodestruction (destruction of warts by freezing with liquid nitrogen);
Laser destruction (laser removal);
Surgical wart removal(rare).
Although there are many methods of removing warts, none of them prevents the recurrence of the wart, as only the expression of the infection is removed, i.e. the skin lesion, while the virus remains.
Removal with acids such as salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid and other special medications. These drugs soften the epidermis and stimulate the local immune response. However, the duration of medical treatment of warts is the longest. It requires frequent applications of the medication according to a special regimen, and adherence to certain skin care rules. Sometimes this causes inconvenience for the patient and the medication also has adverse reactions, such as skin irritation, redness, etc.
Cryodestruction with liquid nitrogen is one of the most common and oldest methods of wart removal. It is a painful method and therefore only recommended for older children and adults. The procedure freezes the wart and a small area of surrounding healthy skin. Cryodestruction is repeated every 2-3 weeks. If there is no effect after 6 treatments, it is recommended to try another treatment method. In addition, liquid nitrogen treatment is not suitable for the removal of hops and warts on the toes and soles. Liquid nitrogen removal is also rarely used for warts over 2-3 mm in thickness. The main side effects of cryodestruction are skin redness, blistering and pain. In addition, repeated treatments are required.
Laser destruction (laser removal) is the fastest and often the most effective method of wart treatment. It only takes 1 treatment to eradicate your troublesome warts. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia, which makes it painless and blister-free (unlike cryodestruction with liquid nitrogen). Warts removed by laser are less likely to recur, as the procedure can remove the wart down to the healthy tissue. Laser wart removal does not damage the surrounding tissues. The healing time depends on the size of the wart, and after healing there is usually no (or very little) scar. Laser wart destruction is also available for warts that are not affected by other treatment methods.
Surgical removal of warts. Although this method removes the wart permanently, the procedure is limited by scar healing. This is particularly avoided in the area of the soles of the feet, where the scarring can be painful. This is an extremely rare method of treating warts.
All of the methods described above are available at our centres in Vilnius and Klaipėda. How to eradicate warts? Depending on the type and localisation of the wart, the most appropriate method of removal will be selected for you, with the best quality/price ratio. This means that for larger numbers of warts, lower prices apply.
Before and after wart treatment
Causes of warts
Warts are unsightly, painful and uncomfortable benign growths on the surface of the skin of viral origin. In some cases, warts are small and difficult to notice and do not cause any serious effects. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In more serious cases, they are more painful and cover a much larger area. There is a great deal of discomfort when you have one.
Warts are unsightly, painful and uncomfortable benign growths on the surface of the skin that are viral in origin. In some cases, warts are small and difficult to notice and do not cause any serious effects. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In more serious cases, they are more painful and cover a much larger area. There is a great deal of discomfort when you have one.
Depending on the location of the wart, the unpleasant sensations it causes, such as pain, irritability, etc., also vary. As many as 75% of people who have experienced this problem do not know what causes warts?
It doesn’t matter how big the wart is on your skin. It is, in any case, already a signal that the skin’s resistance has decreased and the immune system has weakened. Warts are caused by viruses that like warm and moist environments.
Warts can appear on the face, on the soles of the feet, on the toes and on the fingers and toes. In some cases, these skin lesions also spread unpleasantly to the genitals. Common warts can be contracted through the hands, using certain hygiene items. Common warts most often appear on the fingers and face. Seam warts are usually found in men. This type of wart is much more common in men than in women. Men develop unsightly skin growths on the armpits, neck and eyelids. Flat warts are most common on the face and forearms in young people. Plantar warts, as can be seen, usually appear on the heels or the front of the feet. These warts are almost always painful because they are more sensitive, flatter and horny.
The most common causes of warts are:
- weakened immune system;
- compromised barrier function of the skin (can occur after trauma or skin breakdown);
- impaired blood circulation;
- increased sweating;
- poor hand and foot hygiene;
- excessive sunbathing in natural sunlight;
- harmful lifestyle (unnatural diet, fast food, busy life, stress, use of various concerogenic substances, etc.);
- overexposure to certain diseases or illnesses;
- after heart or liver surgery on the kidneys;
- unsafe and disordered sex life.
Warts can become painful if they appear and are left untreated, they can fuse and spread, and if they are caught and scratched, they can start bleeding. There are many different ways of removing warts. It can include nitrogen freezing, surgical removal, laser treatment, etc.
In the case of multiple warts, several treatments can be applied. The specific treatment and the type of treatment can only be prescribed by the attending physician taking into account:
- the age of the person;
- the immune system;
- the number of warts;
- the spread of the warts;
- the size of the wart;
- the location of the wart.
To prevent warts, you need to protect your skin from drying out, avoid overexertion, regulate your diet, take care of your feet to prevent sweating and wear appropriate footwear. Wear only your own personal footwear when visiting swimming pools and saunas. And to prevent cankerworms, have safe sex.
If you are unable to prevent the appearance of warts, consult a specialist doctor who will prescribe the most appropriate treatment and remedies.