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Warts (Verruca)

Where do warts come from?

Almost everyone knows someone that has had a wart or has had a wart themselves.  Warts or verruca are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are very common.  Children to adults can get warts.  Sometimes they are rough and raised and sometimes flat and smooth.  Almost always painless.  Patients that are immunosuppressed from a transplant or HIV are at risk for warts.  HPV is typically harmless and there are literally hundreds of subtypes of this virus.  The good news is most common warts such as subtype 2, 3, 4, 27, etc. are harmless.   These are different subtypes than the vaccine that adolescents get to protect themselves from cancerous sexually transmitted strains of HPV.  That is why it is possible to still get a wart on the bottom of your foot (plantar wart) even if you had the vaccine.

Warts can occur anywhere on the body from the head down to the toes and everywhere in between.  Treatment for warts are available over the counter, but if those have not helped, I recommend scheduling an appointment to see us.

Treatment Options

We offer cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen to help destroy the wart.  This is similar to Dr. Scholl’s “freeze away”, but much stronger.  Other treatment options are prescription topicals that are applied nightly, as well as in-office immunotherapy injections with candida or trichophyton.  I tell all my patients with warts that they are sometimes tough to get rid of.  Your body does not seem to care that they are present and even with treatment it is not uncommon to have multiple treatments with cryotherapy before the wart resolves.  So hang in there, eventually the wart will go away.

If you happen to find a wart in your genital area, then I always recommend completing STD/STI testing.  There are even certain types of warts that affect the genital area that are cancerous called Bowenoid papulosis.  Typically, this is diagnosed with a biopsy of the suspected wart.  And yes, you should refrain from sexually intercourse if you think you have a wart in the genital area.

Don’t pick!

Whatever you do, don’t pick or scratch at the wart.  They can be spread by self-inoculation.  This means you can transfer the wart from one area on your body to another.

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