What is a Wart?
Although warts are usually harmless, they are unsightly and can cause patients to seek treatment to get rid of them. They are normally flesh-colored, rough skin growths, but can also be smooth or dark-colored and appear after the top layer of the skin is infected by HPV, or the human papilloma virus, which is contagious. The virus usually occurs when the skin is cut or damaged. San Antonio dermatologist, Dr. Garcia, can treat warts all over the body, including the hands, fingers, knees and elbows. Dr. Garcia can treat flat, plantar or genital warts with a variety of treatments.
Symptoms of Warts
Common wart symptoms include bumps that are tender, grainy at the top, and fleshy feeling. The area with the wart can be rough to the touch. Plantar warts look like light brown or flesh-colored lumps that are speckled with tiny, black spots, which are clotted blood vessels. These warts often appear on the soles of the feet. Flat warts are smaller, smoother and flatter compared to other types and can usually be found on the face and sometimes the legs. Genital warts appear in the pubic area, on the genitals, and in or around the vaginal area or anus. These warts appear as small, pink, red or flesh-colored growths. They can appear in clusters of 3 or 4 and can grow and spread rapidly. Though usually not painful, they can bleed or itch.
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Causes of Warts
The cause of common warts is the human papilloma virus. “Papilloma” actually refers to the kind of wart that develops from the particular type of HPV. HPV lives in the flat, thin cells that are found on the skin’s surface and also surfaces of the mouth, throat, head, penis, vagina, cervix and anus. Out of the 100 HPV types, about 60 cause warts. Warts occur from having direct contact with HPV, which can be spread from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. Warts can also be the result of making contact with an object used by a person infected with HPV such as exercise equipment or a towel. The virus is usually spread through breaks in the skin such as a scrape or hangnail.
Treatment for Warts
Even after initial treatment, warts can reoccur so it is important to find the right treatment method to help keep the condition at bay. Wart freezing is a common treatment and is performed with success. With freezing, a doctor utilizes liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart away. A blister will form around the wart where the dead tissues will fall off within a week. A substance called cantharidin is extracted from a blister beetle that’s applied to the skin to form a blister around the wart, which lifts it off the skin so the doctor can remove the wart’s dead portion. Other medications to treat warts include bleomycin, which is injected into the wart to kill the virus, and Aldara, which is a prescription cream that can be applied directly to the wart. When other methods are ineffective, surgery may be needed to cut away the wart. An electric needle or cryosurgery, or deep freezing, are methods that can be used to destroy the base of the wart. With laser surgery, a laser is used to both burn and destroy the wart’s tissue.
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Treat Your Warts Today!
Though most warts prove to be harmless and some patients choose to use home treatments, they often don’t work. In addition, warts can spread, become bothersome and can lead to cosmetic issues. In any case, it’s normally a good idea to get them checked out by a trained medical professional. He or she can examine the wart to determine the type and best course of treatment. Call our office today for a consultation to get rid of any warts you may have now, as well as preventing them from reoccurring in the future. Our office has the staff, tools and experience to get you back to a wart-free existence.