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Sarasota Dermatology Blog

Those Bothersome Warts

Posted on 28. Jan, 2009 by in Warts

Those Bothersome WartsOne of the most common skin problems seen in a dermatology office are warts. Most of us have had a wart at one time or another. Warts are more of a nuisance and are usually harmless.

Warts are skin irritation caused by a virus. The virus will invade warm moist areas like small cuts or scratches. They can affect any part of the body, but are most commonly found on hands and feet. Warts are painless unless they are found in an area that frequently has pressure applied to it, like the soles of your feet.

Warts are passed from person to person by close physical contact or from touching a surface that a person with a wart touches, like a bathmat or a shower floor. Therefore, warts are contagious. Simply touching a wart does not guarantee you’ll get a wart.

There are a couple different types of warts. Common warts are usually found on hands, and other parts of the body like your elbows and knees. They are basically a hard bump that looks like they have a black dot on the inside. Flat warts are smaller warts that have a flat top. They are more commonly found on the face. Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the foot. They are generally more painful than other warts due to the pressure put on the wart while walking. Filiform warts have finger-like shapes and are commonly found around the mouth or nose. Genital warts are sexually transmitted warts found in the genital area.

As a dermatologist, patients usually ask me to remove warts because they don’t like the way they look. I usually use cryosurgery to remove the wart. This is simply freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. There are other ways of removing warts such as cauterization (burning off the wart with an electrical current) or a dermatologist may surgically remove the wart.

A wart will generally fall off after a few days of treating it with cryosurgery. In some cases, warts may have to be treated many times before it disappears. Warts can grow slowly and may take a few weeks to develop. Therefore, there is no guarantee that a wart won’t return or that it hasn’t spread to other areas prior to being removed.

Although they are unpleasant to look at, warts are a common skin problem that is unlikely to cause serious problems. No, you won’t get a wart from holding a frog or toad, as you were told as a child.

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