Warts

Definition:
Warts are harmless skin growths caused by a virus. They have a rough surface on which tiny dark specks may be seen. They may grow on any part of the body and their appearance depends on their location. Warts in the genital or rectal area have a wet appearance and have been said to look like cauliflower.

Causes
We do not know why some people get warts easily while others never get them. There is no way to prevent warts.

Plantar warts are common. They may bleed if injured. However, they never turn cancerous.

Since warts are caused by a virus, they are slightly contagious. You should not share clothing or linen with someone who has warts. Warts may spread on the body and seed other areas.

Treatment:
PThere is no single perfect wart treatment, since we are unable to kill the virus without killing the cells that the virus has infected. All types of treatment can cause a permanent scar at the site of the wart.

  • Warts can be destroyed with surgery, by freezing with liquid nitrogen, by applying chemicals or acids and by injecting them with bleomycin.
  • The CO2 laser is the most effective method for treating warts, but it is also the most expensive method. We do have this treatment available.
  • The wart treatment used on your warts depends on their location and size, your type of skin, and medical judgment.
  • Warts in the genital area require special consideration. Genital warts are not cancerous, however in women they may cause precancerous changes in the cervix. Women with genital warts should have a Pap smear performed by their personal physician or gynecologist.
  • In adults, genital warts are usually transmitted through sexual intercourse. To prevent further contagion, genital warts should be treated faithfully until they have cleared.
  • Men with penile warts should use a condom to prevent transmission of warts to their sexual partners.
  • Sometimes new warts will form while existing ones are being destroyed. The only thing that can be done is to let them grow large enough to be seen.
  • No matter what wart treatment is used, warts occasionally fail to disappear. They may also return weeks or months after an apparent cure. Do not become concerned if a wart recurs. Make an appointment and the treatment will be repeated, or a different method will be used to destroy the wart.


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