Warts/Genital Warts/HPV

Warts are growths on your skin caused by an infection with humanpapilloma virus, or HPV. Types of warts include:

  • Common warts, which often appear on your fingers
  • Plantar warts, which show up on the soles of your feet
  • Genital warts, which are a sexually transmitted disease
  • Flat warts, which appear in places you shave frequently

In children, warts often go away on their own. In adults, they tend to stay. If they hurt or bother you, or if they multiply, you can remove them. Chemical skin treatments usually work. If not, various freezing, surgical and laser treatments can remove warts.

A variety of treatments are available depending upon the age of the patient, the location of the wart, and the type of wart.

  •  Salicylic acid gels, solutions, or plasters may be prescribed for daily home treatments.
  • Cantharidin is a chemical that can be applied in the dermatologist’s office.
  • Cryotherapy is freezing with a cold liquid gas called liquid nitrogen.
  • Electrosurgery (burning) is performed in the dermatologist’s office.
  • Laser treatment can also be used for resistant warts that have not responded to other therapies.
  • Surgery or cutting may be used to remove the wart.
  • Imiquimod is a cream that causes an inflammatory response which makes the wart go away.
  • Bleomycin is an anti-cancer drug that may be injected into each wart.
  • Interferon is injected into warts to boost the immune reaction and cause rejection of the wart.
  • Immunotherapy attempts to use the body’s own rejection system.

There are some wart remedies available without a prescription; however, you might mistake another kind of skin growth for a wart and end up treating something more serious as though it were a wart. If you have any questions about either the diagnosis or the best way to treat a wart, you should seek a dermatologist’s advice.

Adapted from U.S. National Library of Medicine

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