What are warts?
Warts are benign growths on the skin or mucous membranes that cause cosmetic problems as well as pain and discomfort. Common warts appear most often on the tops of the fingers and hands, usually along the cuticles, as rough, thick papules that develop solitarily or in large numbers. Black dots, which are minute blood vessels, can be seen in them, especially after paring down some of the thickened skin. Small satellite warts may surround the original lesion because the virus is usually present in a one-centimeter radius surrounding the wart. Sometimes warts can disappear on their own.
What causes warts?
Warts are the results of a type of infection caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are at least 60 types of HPV viruses. Some types of HPV tend to cause warts on the skin, while other HPV types tend to cause warts on the genitals and rectal area.
Can anyone get warts?
Warts can occur in people of all ages, but occur most commonly in children and young adults. They spread by direct contact, simply by touching the wart. It appears that a person's susceptibility to warts and the time it takes for them to go away is related to the individual's immune system. Some people are more naturally resistant to the HPV viruses and don't seem to get warts as easily as other people.
What is the treatment for warts?
There is no single effective treatment for warts; management is based on the age of the individual as well as the size, number, and location of warts. Some patients try over-the-counter therapies which can include salicylic acid and freezing sprays (approximately -70 degrees F). Once these methods fail, patients may require other destructive treatments. Treatment involves the physical or chemical destruction of the lesion. Options include Liquid Nitrogen Therapy (-321F), Intralesional bleomycin therapy, topical immunotherapy, and rarely surgical destruction.