Have you ever noticed these weird, hard and small protrusions on your skin? If you are scared that this is cancer, then worry not. It could very well be warts.
What Are Warts?
Warts, also known as verrucae, are growths on the skin or mucous membranes, which are benign, meaning they are non-cancerous. They are familiar in children and teenagers, although people of all ages could get them. Warts are known to grow anywhere on the body and have no specific place of incubation. They are known to incubate for 2-9 months; however, some tend to last for nearly two years but are known to go away on their own.
What causes warts?
Firstly, different types of warts grow on the skin and are primarily known to be caused by some forms of the Human Papillomavirus or HPV which is known to infect the topmost layer of the skin, and it tends to enter the body in the area which has broken or damaged skin.
The nature of HPV is such that it makes the top layer of the skin to proliferate, thus aiding in the formation of warts. As many kinds of warts grow on humans and in any part of the body, most commonly they are found to be growing on hands. Common warts are the ones that are extensively found as well as plantar warts, which specifically grom on the soles of the feet.
Do warts spread?
Warts tend to spread and do so with direct contact with an HPV. A person suffering forwards can also infect themselves again by touching the mole, and then with the same finger for instance touch another part of the body. In this scenario, as mentioned before, the HPV will enter the body through a part of the skin that is broken or damaged.
On the other hand, warts could also spread to others, and usually is the case with people sharing towels, razors and other personal items. HPV is a slow growing virus, and it could take months before the first signs show up of the incubation of the virus in one’s body.
Symptoms of Warts
There are no specific symptoms for warts, as they tend to grow on the skin and are seemingly harmless. The early, however, is then the person suffering from it feels a bump at the beginning of the growth, but at times warts are smooth and flat on the skin. At the core of warts, tiny blood vessels are found, which essentially manage their blood supply. This is the case with common warts and plantar warts, which could initially look like a small red dot at the centre before they grow bigger.
Diagnosis and Treatment of warts
A doctor can easily tell apart from other growths and warts, by merely looking at it. At times many doctors will opt to perform a skin biopsy by taking a sample of the wart, usually done to double check if its a wart or some other growth. The skin biopsy is also performed if the growth is darker than the skin surrounding it, which at times looks like an irregular patch of skin, which could even bleed or be fast growing.
As far as the treatments for warts are concerned; ideally doctors, after examining will recommend none. However, if warts turn out to be painful or there is a spreading pattern visible, or if you want it removed nonetheless, then these are the treatment options available –
- Medications, which are directly applied or doctors might directly give a shot of the medicine directly on the wart
- Cryotherapy, which essentially freezes the wart.
- Removal of the wart through means such as electrosurgery, curettage and laser surgery.
Warts are usually the result of human contact with HPV, and their development could take much time, due to the nature of the virus. As mentioned earlier, doctors do not recommend any treatment in most cases, because warts are known to be generally harmless and tend to go away on their own. Another reason for it is because many a times treatments don’t work on warts and they tend to grow back and even spread to other parts of the body. This is also because most treatments, even if they do destroy the physical wart that appears, they fail to kill the virus that is causing warts to grow.
About the Doctor:
Dr Hari Krishna Reddy – Consultant Dermatologist
Dr Hari Krishna Reddy is one of Sunshine Hospital’s leading people in Dermatology. Dr Reddy holds vast experiences in treating, consulting and expertise in dermatology and the many problems people have in the area. His expertise is vital in solving plenty of complex cases we get on a regular basis.
About Sunshine Hospitals:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.