Warts are caused by the HPV virus; the most commonly sexually transmitted viral infection, and commonly grow on fingers, hands, toes or feet. Six million people become newly infected each year, and most do not know they have it. Depending on the severity of the virus, warts can appear as small, rough, skin-colored mounds or as smooth dark marks along the skin with varied frequency and quantity.
Anyone can get warts regardless if they are sexually active or not. They can spread by skin to skin contact, or even if an object to wart contraction, for example, if a person comes in contact with a towel that a person’s wart touched. Children are more susceptible to contracting warts because they enter the system easily through cuts and scrapes, and their underdeveloped immune system.
Dermatologists can diagnose a wart by looking at it, although in rare cases a biopsy can be performed in order to confirm in a lab. Many people seek a dermatologist’s help to remove warts because of embarrassment, irritation, and prevent spreading.
There are many at-home, over-the-counter treatments that can be found in local pharmacies. However, your dermatologist can use a mildly painful application of liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart that causes a blister to develop underneath the wart, which falls off within the week. Minor surgery involving the cutting away of or electrical burning of the wart may be necessary if the wart is unresponsive to other treatments.
Types of warts include:
What are genital warts?
Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted infection. They appear as lesions of the penis, vagina, and anus. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which has many different types, or strains.
Different types of HPV cause different health problems, such as hand warts, genital warts, and precancerous lesions of the male and female genitalia. In the case of genital warts, HPV infects the skin cells and causes them to grow abnormally.
Warts usually appear as round, flat, or raised flesh-colored bumps on the penis, vagina, or anus. Their appearance can be varied: for example, there may be a few small warts or large clusters of warts.
Individuals infected with the strain of HPV that causes warts may not actually go on to develop warts, and therefore may be unaware that they have the infection. Warts can emerge weeks or even months after sex with an infected partner.
How do people get genital warts?
Certain practices increase the likelihood of becoming infected with the virus that causes genital warts. The increased risk is associated with a higher number of sexual partners or sex with a new partner. The virus can be transmitted between straight or gay couples and during any type of sex (oral, anal, or vaginal sex).
How can I protect myself from genital warts?
There are two types of vaccines available to prevent HPV infection: Cervarix® and Gardasil®. Both vaccines protect females against the strains of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. Gardasil offers additional protection against most strains of genital warts.
I have genital warts- what can I do?
Although genital warts can be very upsetting, it is important to understand that you are not alone and treatments do exist. Luckily, genital warts are not cancerous and will not turn into cancer. Before choosing a method of treatment, your doctor will consider your overall health status, the number, and size of warts, and the specific areas in which the warts are located.
Imiquimod (Aldara™) may be prescribed for application to the surface of warts. This medicine works by strengthening the immune system so that it can fight the actual virus (HPV) that is causing warts.
Your doctor may use any of a number of methods to physically remove warts. Some treatments require repeated visits. All of the techniques listed below remove the external manifestation of the virus: warts. The treatments described below may not clear the virus that causes warts from the body. Possible treatment methods include the following:
Warts can be stubborn to treat. Fortunately, there are now lasers that have proven to be successful in treating difficult warts, including common warts, plantar warts, and genital warts. Lasers penetrate deeply into the skin to destroy the abnormal cells that produce unsightly warts. In order to remove a wart 100 percent, multiple treatments will be needed. The number of treatments you need depends on the location, number, and size of warts.
The Pulsed Dye Laser is an effective procedure that first produces a cold spray to eliminate sensitivity and then administers a concentrated beam of light to target blood vessels in the skin. The light is converted into heat once it penetrates the epidermis. The blood vessels are destroyed, leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. No anesthesia is required. Dr. Rokhsar uses the V Beam Perfect laser to destroy wart tissue and leave behind a smoother skin surface.
The C02 Laser Skin Resurfacing treatment removes a layer of skin to allow new skin to flourish. The first layer of skin is treated which ultimately destroys the wart. Collagen production is then encouraged to create a healthier skin surface. Dr. Rokhsar has been trained by the inventor of the C02 laser resurfacing procedure and can ensure expertise in the removal of warts. The C02 laser has also shown successful results for the treatment of wrinkles, sun damage and scarring.
Although warts can be treated with over-the-counter drops, gels, pads, and plasters, it is advised that they are removed by a dermatologist. These treatments are composed of a salicylic acid called keratolytic which means it dissolves the protein (keratin) that makes up both the wart and thick layer of dead skin the surmounts it.
Dr. Rokhsar will use cryotherapy, or cryosurgery to remove the wart. This process uses liquid nitrogen spray to destroy the wart virus and skin cells. Immunotherapy can also be used which involves injecting a medicine called intralesional candida antigen to stimulate the body’s immune system to naturally kill the wart and heal the body.
The ND:YAG long-pulse laser is a Q-switched laser that can effectively destroy warts during typically one or two sessions. The long pulse of the laser slowly heats the blood supply surrounding the wart virus. The blood supply feeding the virus is then cooked and dies, all in a treatment that usually takes half an hour of your time. This laser is typically used for more stubborn warts that appear on the feet, such as plantar warts.
With years of advanced training and strong dedication to serving patients throughout Long Island and NYC, Dr. Rokhsar offers many wart removal methods. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Cameron Rokhsar today to discuss a treatment plan that will rid you of your warts forever.
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