Warts are small, fleshy bumps or growths on the skin’s surface or the mucus membranes (inside the mouth or nose and other areas).
Warts are generally caused by a number of issues. However, the most common causes are varying strains of the human papillomavirus. Different strains can cause warts to present themselves in different parts of the body, and they can spread from one area to another fairly quickly. They can also be spread from person to person via direct contact and spread of germs if the warts are a symptom of a greater issue.
HPV can cause warts to appear in different areas, most commonly:
- Mouth, nose or mucus membranes.
- Areas where there is broken skin.
The only true symptom of a wart is the fleshy, painless growth on the skin’s surface. However, warts may also be a symptom of other diseases or disorders such as chickenpox, or herpes zoster.
It is important that if you have a wart or growth it should be tested. Some warts may be a part of a more dangerous disease or disorder, some may even be cancerous. Therefore, you should make sure to ask your doctor to differentiate between a harmless wart and a cancerous one.
Warts can be treated at home easily using such things as facial or body washes containing salicylic acid and even duct tape. However, it is important to seek medical attention as you may not know the true cause of the wart.
For more serious warts we will generally use the following treatment options:
- Cryotherapy: Freezing the wart and using a scalpel or surgical knife to remove it.
- Medications, or topical creams and ointments.
- Minor Surgical Procedures such as electrosurgery – using electricity, and curettage/excision surgery – removal of the wart using a scalpel or surgical tool.
- Laser Surgery or Skin Resurfacing can remove the wart from the skin’s surface.
- Chemical Peels: generally acid peels, such as glycolic acid or TCA, and even stronger formulations of salicylic acid.