Warts (also known as verrucae vulgaris) are caused by a subset of viruses known as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They traditionally present as raised, warty growths that often have “black dots” in them, which are blood vessels that have been affected by the virus. Although most commonly found on the hands and feet, they can be found on any anatomical surface including the mouth, genitals and other mucous membranes.
Wart symptoms may vary based on anatomic location, ranging from mild irritation to intense
tenderness and occasional bleeding. If found on mucous membranes, they can also interfere with activities of daily living.
Warts are all derived from a subset of viruses known as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are many HPV subtypes, depending on the location they are found on the body. Although the large majority of HPV subtypes are benign, there are several that are considered pre malignant (i.e. genital HPV).
Although there is no cure for warts/HPV infections, your physician may employ several modalities to help destroy the virus.
These treatments include, but are not limited to, topical therapies such as cryosurgery (freezing), application of cantharidin (“beetle juice”), application of 5-fluorouracil, prescription medications including imiquimod (Aldara®) cream and salicylic acid, and occasionally oral medications (zinc sulfate and cimetidine).
In recalcitrant cases, surgery and laser ablation may be required.
Sometimes, observation may be recommended as sometimes warts can be self-limited.
Due to the nature of the virus, warts can be extremely challenging to treat. Many factors contribute to prognosis, including patient’s general health, location of warts, and prior treatments. It is generally accepted that 6-12 treatments may be required to eradicate a wart. Your provider will select a personalized treatment plan based on your individual case.
Although warts are seen mostly commonly in children, they can affect any age group. Individuals with compromised immune systems may experience more widespread/recalcitrant eruption.
If you are concerned you have warts or they have not resolved, please call our office at (704)784-5901.