Wart: Can You Get Rid Of It Forever?

A wart is a benign neoplasm of the skin that occurs due to the proliferation of cells in the epidermis and papillary dermis caused by the human papillomavirus, which is transmitted by contact.

Warts: causes, types, diagnosis and treatment

The wart is a localized predominantly benign formation caused by epidermal hyperplasia. Papillomatous growths and papules most often occur due to the activity of viral infections. The main reason for their appearance is the presence of human papilloma virus (HPV) in the body. HPV infection occurs through contact with the household, as a result of which the viral flora penetrates the skin or mucous membranes. Various injuries to the skin and mucous membranes, as well as weakened immunity, increase the risk of infection.

According to statistics, more than 60% of the population are carriers of HPV. At the same time, symptomatic HPV may not appear for life. Warts, many of which are called papillomas, appear on the skin and mucous membranes only if there are favorable factors.

There are different types of warts, the appearance of which is caused by one or another type of virus. Each type of skin lesion can be located either on the skin or on the mucous membranes. It is not always possible to eliminate the virus from the body.

Warts on the legs, arms and other parts of the body in adults

Men and women are equally susceptible to infection with the human papillomavirus and, accordingly, the appearance of neoplasms such as warts on the skin and mucous membranes. The penetration of the virus into the body is possible both with the usual handshake and with the use of general hygiene products, as well as during sexual intercourse. Once in the human body, the virus enters the squamous skin epithelium and actively multiplies in it. The incubation period for HPV can range from one to a month and a half to six months or more.

Warts on the face, genitals and other parts of the body in women

the doctor examines the warts on the woman's hands

Warts in women can appear on any part of the body at any time of life. In shape, color and size they can be different, ranging from small flat warts on the face with a white color, ending with dark genital warts on the mucous membranes of the genitals. It is worth noting that genital warts, according to research, can cause the development of cervical cancer. Also, the official confirmation was the connection of warts, which are an external manifestation of HPV, with an increased risk of breast cancer.

Papillomas and warts in men

The body of the stronger sex is less susceptible to infection and active reproduction of the virus in general and in particular to the appearance of papillomas and warts. Only a sharp decrease in immunity caused by various diseases can provoke the appearance of benign formations on the skin and mucous membranes in men. It should be noted that papillomas and genital warts in men can be located in the area of the coronal sulcus and frenum, sometimes the head or body of the penis, on the sheath at the entrance to the urethra and directly on its mucous membranes, in the perianal area.

What are the types of warts in children?

consultation with a specialist if the child has warts

People of all ages are prone to warts. But warts are most common in children and adolescents. The reason for this may be various papillomatous viruses. Infection of the child's body usually occurs through contact and household means. Babies are much more likely to interact closely with other babies in large groups and easily "catch" different viruses from each other. In addition, the baby can be infected with the papillomavirus from the mother during intrauterine development or birth.

Warts: causes

Many factors can contribute to the appearance of warts. Transmission of the papillomatous virus, as mentioned earlier, occurs through close contact with an infected person or his belongings. In addition, the carrier of the virus, which has no external manifestations, can also act as a source of infection. Autoinoculation or, in other words, self-infection is also not ruled out. So, warts on the face and neck can appear after shaving and cosmetic peeling. The same goes for papillomas and warts on the legs, chin and armpits. Various skin lesions only increase the risk of HPV infection. This often happens in swimming pools, gyms and saunas.

Provoking factors

visit a doctor if warts appear on the body

The virus that causes warts is unlikely to enter the body of a healthy person with strong immunity. The risk of infection can be increased by:

  • Damage to the skin and mucous membranes.

If they are present, contact with the skin of an infected person or an object on the surface of which there is a virus is likely to lead to infection. HPV can stay in the environment for about 2-3 hours. During this period of time, the probability of someone becoming infected with it is quite high. Injuries (wounds, cuts, abrasions), sweating and, accordingly, the constant moisture of the skin only increase it.

  • High humidity and heat.

Such a provoking factor is most suitable for the appearance of warts on the legs. Uncomfortable park shoes that cause excessive sweating of the feet, calluses and skin lesions can cause epithelial growths such as warts on the feet.

  • Weakening of the immune system.

Even in the presence of a virus in the body, the appearance of warts is not always observed. One can carry the virus for decades without knowing it. With strong immunity, the body constantly suppresses the virus, preventing it from multiplying. As soon as the immune system weakens, the virus is immediately activated, which is accompanied by the appearance of external manifestations.

Seborrheic wart

With age, significant changes occur in the human body, which affect not only the appearance but also health. Thus, a violation of the distribution of basal cells of the epidermis leads to the appearance of benign formations called seborrheic warts. Otherwise, such warts are called senile. It is quite easy to identify senile warts by their characteristic appearance:

  • they are represented by papules or plaques protruding on the surface of the skin.
  • neoplasms are round or oval;
  • they are localized, as a rule, on the skin of closed areas of the body, as well as on the face and scalp;
  • the color of the warts can be yellow-brown and sometimes even black;
  • the size of the formations can vary from 0, 5 to 4 cm.

The boundaries of the seborrheic wart are clear. They protrude slightly above the skin and can be slightly flattened.

If you get these warts on your hands, face, body or head, you should see a doctor. In order to determine the most effective, safe tactics for their treatment and removal, it is necessary to perform a differential diagnosis that distinguishes seborrheic warts from:

  • Pigmented nevi.

These neoplasms are benign. Just like seborrheic warts, pigmented nevi are yellow-brown or dark, closer to black. Sometimes the papillomatous surface of the nevus is covered with hair. Their size may vary. In shape, neoplasms of this type can be represented by giant plaques or flat papules with a smooth surface.

  • Dermatofibromas.

Such a benign formation is formed by the skin and connective tissues. In appearance, dermatofibromas have some resemblance to moles and warts. The surface of the formations can be both smooth and keratinized. Their shape is round. Dermatofibroma is partially located in the upper layers of the skin and partially protrudes above its surface. Single neoplasms are most often found. Their color can be different: from gray-pink to purple. Sometimes dermatofibromas are brown or black. The size of the formations is approximately 1 cm.

  • Melanoma.

Unlike dermatofibroma and pigmented nevus, melanomas are malignant tumors. They appear at the site of moles or at nearby sites of tissue. Factors that provoke the malignancy of skin cells are ultraviolet rays, various lesions.

Human papillomavirus infection

human papillomavirus causing warts

As mentioned earlier, HPV is the cause of HPV infection. To date, more than a hundred of its varieties are known, which can affect the body in one way or another. Each type of virus causes certain types of warts:

  • HPV 1 - benign formations on the palms and soles;
  • HPV 2 - common (vulgar);
  • HPV 3, 10, 28 and 29 - flat neoplasms;
  • HPV 4 - warts on the feet and vulgar warts;
  • HPV 6, 11 - laryngeal papillomatosis and genital warts;
  • HPV 5, 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19-25, 36, 39, 40 - generalized manifestation of the virus, which is wart epidermodysplasia;
  • HPV 7 - vulgar warts;
  • HPV 13, 32 - focal proliferation of epithelial tissues;
  • HPV 16, 18, 31, 33, 35 - malignant neoplasms such as carcinomas and genital dysplasia.

In addition, as the immune system weakens, the human body becomes more susceptible to papillomatous viruses of types 26 and 27. In some cases, HPV 30, 34, 37 and 38 can cause benign and malignant tumors.

It is also worth noting that some types of papillomatous viruses are transmitted through household contact, while others are sexually transmitted.

Types of warts: common, plantar and others, treatment

Quite a large number of varieties of papillomatous viruses and other causes of warts cause different localization of formations and their different characteristics. So, there are:

  • Frequent warts, also called vulgar warts.

They are most often localized on the skin of the hands. These growths can vary in color from flesh to brown.

  • Plantar warts.

Such formations grow deep into the tissues, causing painful sensations and accompanied by capillary thrombosis, which bleed at the slightest damage. Plantar warts require treatment by a doctor, not cutting them on their own or in a nail salon.

  • Flat warts.

Their localization, as a rule, is observed on the skin of the neck, face, chest, curves of the knee and in the forearm.

  • Anogenital warts, better known as genital warts.

Such formations affect the skin and mucous membranes of the external genitalia, as well as the perianal area. Their localization is possible at the entrance of the urethra with subsequent proximal spread.

  • Perianal warts.

Such formations are most often found in the anus and vagina, as well as in the nearby tissues of the external genitalia in women. In men, perianal warts are located in the anus.

  • Laryngeal papillomatosis.

This manifestation of the virus occurs mainly in childhood. The masses can be multiple, which is especially life-threatening, causing airway obstruction.

Anogenital warts

Anogenital warts are benign neoplasms localized on the skin and mucous membranes of the external genitalia, as well as in the perianal area. All anogenital warts are usually divided into:

  • Typical warts.

Such warts are located, as a rule, at the entrance to the vagina, in the anus, as well as on the inner layer of the foreskin. In their form, such neoplasms may resemble cauliflower.

  • Papular warts.

The surface of such neoplasms is smooth and does not contain keratinized layers.

  • Hyperkeratotic warts.

Unlike previous warts, the surface of such anogenital formations is covered with keratinized tissue particles. For the most part, hyperkeratotic warts are located on the outer sheet of the foreskin, the body of the penis and scrotum in men, as well as on the labia majora in women.

  • Flat warts.

The formations are represented by spots protruding slightly above the surface of the skin. They are virtually invisible and are not always immediately identifiable.

Giant Bushke - Levenstein warts

the doctor examines the warts on the back

Carnin-like genital warts appear when the HPV 16 virus enters the body. According to the results of some studies, HPV viruses of 1, 6, 11, 18, 31, 33, transmitted both through contact and sexually, can also lead to the appearance of such warts. The second name of such education is the giant condyle Bushke-Levenstein. Its main differences are:

  • rapid progressive increase in size;
  • the possibility of re-education after treatment;
  • destruction of nearby tissues;
  • high probability of malignancy with subsequent development of squamous cell skin cancer.

Young and old are most susceptible to this type of tumor. In the male body, the virus is manifested by the appearance of genital warts on the tissues of the glans penis and foreskin. Sometimes Bushke-Levenstein warts can be located on the skin of the penis. In the female body, the formations are usually located in the perianal, anorectal and groin areas. Their appearance on the face, oral mucosa, as well as other areas of the skin and mucous membranes is not excluded.

Frequent warts on the fingers and other parts of the body

The most common benign skin lesions are vulgar warts, also called common warts. In appearance, such formations are hard and dry elevations on the skin. Their surface is uneven. The dimensions vary within a few millimeters. Most often, such warts are localized on the fingers and hands, as well as on the face. The color of the neoplasms is usually grayish, yellow-brown or flesh-colored.

Palmar-plantar warts on the hands and feet

Warts can easily appear on both the palms and soles of the feet. They are available in a variety of shapes and colors, ranging from pale yellow to dark brown. These epithelial formations are common in the population. They can be superficial and mosaic-like in appearance or deep (hyperkeratotic).

The treatment of palmar and plantar warts is complicated. The dermatologist, during a thorough diagnosis, must rule out lichen and warty tuberculosis.

Flat warts on the face

examination of a wart on the face

The flat wart is almost always small and has a smooth (rarely scaly) surface. Its color is practically indistinguishable from skin color, which is why people often live with such formations and do not even notice them. Usually such epithelial flat formations appear on the skin of whole groups.

The specialist will be able to detect and accurately identify flat warts on the face or, for example, on the back of the hands at the first meeting. The visual examination will be sufficient for the competent doctor to understand what he is dealing with. If the dermatologist has doubts about the presumptive diagnosis, then additional diagnosis, including laboratory tests, may be ordered.

Diagnosis of human papillomavirus infection

The clinical manifestations of a wart depend primarily on the site where it has formed. Each type of epithelial tumor described above has its own individual characteristics.

  • The common wart is characterized by pronounced hyperkeratosis (high rate of cell division of the stratum corneum and desquamation).

It may look like a nodule or domed papules. Such warts appear mainly in those places where the risk of tissue injury is increased, ie on the skin of the hands, feet, elbows.

  • Flat warts have a flattened tip, they are small in volume and do not exceed 3-4 mm in diameter.

If the wart is visualized in the area of the skin folds, its initial diagnosis can be difficult, as such papules or growths can appear as flat or ordinary warts.

  • Warts on the soles of the feet may be accompanied by a symptom of pain, as these areas of the body are constantly under trauma. The center of such an epithelial tumor may be slightly depressed.

It is also not uncommon for several warts on the sole to merge into one structure, forming a specific pattern in the form of a mosaic.

  • With regard to filamentous warts, such a problem can occur on the skin of the face.

They grow quickly, therefore, when found, they try to be removed as a cosmetic defect.

  • Also, warts can be diagnosed in the oral cavity, where the formations are most often represented by whitish or pink small nodules.

Such a problem is found in extremely rare cases, as a rule, during a meeting with a dentist or during a routine examination of the body.

Warts: treatment

professional wart removal

Epithelial tumors in the form of warts are treated only under the strict supervision of the attending physician. Therapy cannot be general, as each case of the onset and development of the disease is individual. Therefore, it is not recommended to use questionable drugs on the advice of friends, advertising or a pharmacist in a pharmacy.

To date, there is no specific therapy for the human papillomavirus. Therefore, the treatment of warts is aimed at eliminating the symptoms of a viral lesion.

If the patient is diagnosed with warts, then this type of education necessarily needs well-chosen therapy, as there is a risk of malignant degeneration.

There are several methods of treating warts, each of which has its own characteristics. The effectiveness of all therapeutic methods is approximately 70%.

Cure for warts: external therapy

The treatment of warts is mainly aimed at their removal. This can be done through physical intervention or medication.

With external methods, warts are treated in a complex. The doctor may prescribe cauterizing drugs and keratolytic drugs. This can be a 10% solution of silver nitrate, 50% solution of lactic acid.

Your doctor may recommend antiviral medications for warts.

Cytotoxic drugs, such as fluorouracil cream, are also relevant. It is prescribed for the treatment of warts and all kinds of plasters with salicylic acid (40%).

Physical destruction of warts can be accomplished through liquid nitrogen and electrocoagulation. Chemical tissue destruction can be performed with the help of salicylic or trichloroacetic acid, sodium silver solution, sodium hydroxide.

Immunotherapy is also used. After removing the wart, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs.

Removing warts at home is prohibited

moxibustion of the wart on the hand

Traditional medicine, according to most, can safely cure many diseases. But this opinion is wrong, because decoctions, infusions and any compresses of essential oils and herbs can only play a supporting role and in no case should be used as the main type of therapy.

In combination with healing effects, the treating specialist may prescribe recipes for alternative medicine with celandine, rowan berries, wormwood, onions, linseed oil, milkweed.

Removal of warts at home is not performed. Education cannot be cut with sharp objects, pierced and cauterized. Only a competent doctor, after diagnosing the patient's condition, can prescribe adequate and safe therapy. Be careful and do not self-medicate in a hurry.

Laser wart removal and other methods

Modern medicine uses several surgical techniques to remove warts.

  • Electrocoagulation is one of the most proven methods for removing various warts.

The manipulation is performed under local anesthesia with the help of a coagulator. The high-frequency current applied to the steel chain helps to thinly cut the epithelial mass and prevent bleeding during and after surgery.

  • Surgical excision is prescribed for extensive skin lesions.

The manipulation is performed under local anesthesia, followed by the imposition of cosmetic sutures, which are removed after about 1 week. A minor scar may remain.

  • Laser wart removal is the latest method of treatment.

The effect of such manipulation can be presented in the form of evaporation or coagulation of skin cells. Laser wart removal is quick and absolutely painless, as the procedure is performed under local anesthesia. After removing the wart, a small depression may remain, which will disappear after 12-20 days.

Laser removal is now offered by many medical centers and clinics.

  • Warts are also removed with the help of low temperatures.

Deep freezing of tissues leads to their death. Thus, cryodestruction of liquid nitrogen is performed.

Such wart removal is performed using a cryoapplicator or an applicator stick with a cotton swab. In any case, the procedure is effective and takes only a few minutes.

The applicator is applied to the wart (perpendicularly) and lightly pressed on it. The time required for the epithelial tumor to freeze depends mainly on its size. It usually takes 7 to 35 seconds to freeze.

It is important to know that any removal of warts is not a guarantee that the problem will not recur. The likelihood of recurrence depends on many factors, including the patient's immune system. According to statistics, recurrence of the disease occurs after 3-4 months in more than 20% of patients. That is why many doctors, along with surgical removal of warts, prescribe general antirelapse therapy.

Wart prevention

eating greens to prevent warts

To protect yourself at least a little from a viral infection and reduce the risk of warts on the body, doctors advise above all to lead a healthy lifestyle. It is necessary to constantly competently maintain the immune system, which loses its protective functions due to constant nervous stress, lack of sleep, malnutrition and even lack of vitamins.

Doctors recommend:

  • Refuse casual sex. It is advisable to have a permanent and healthy partner.
  • Adhere to the rules of personal hygiene. You should not use someone else's towel, go to a public bathroom without changing your shoes.
  • Treat skin lesions properly.

It is also important to eat properly, lead an active lifestyle, get rid of bad habits, get enough sleep, be less nervous, because all these factors negatively affect the immune system.