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About Warts


Warts are due to virus infection of the epidermis and are contagious. The viruses responsible are different antigenic types of human papilloma virus. Warts are among the commonest of disorders and luckily rarely cause any significant threat to health. However, they are regarded as ugly and excite the usual distaste and revulsion associated with any disorder of the skin. Consequently they elicit a variety of illogical responses from teachers and local authorities, including the banning of children with plantar warts from swimming baths and from the gymnasium. For every visible plantar wart there must be many more that are not seen and exclusion seems a highly impractical way of preventing the spread of this disorder. lt seems even ┬░more illogical when no attempt is made to prevent children who have had gastrointestinal or respiratory infections from swimming. In my view the obvious benefits that result from communal exercise far outweigh the minor hazards of wart infection, bearing in mind that these lesions are self-limiting and do not require heroic efforts at removal. They are anyway notoriously stubborn in resisting treatment.

Viral warts can become a major nuisance for doctors is a good idea to develop a treatment policy towards them.

First, make sure that what are presented as warts are in fact viral warts. Beware of the solitary wart in the elderly as squamous cell carcinoma can present as a solitary warty nodule. They can also be confused with solar keratoses or seborrhoeic warts. .

Perianal or genital warts in the sexually active age groups may be what they seem but may also be a manifestation of secondary syphilis (condyloma lata). The heaped and slightly warty lesions of secondary syphilis are usually soggier and more prolific than ordinary genital warts. In addition there are usually other signs of syphilis present.

In children or young adults, wart-like lesions that are small, dome-shaped, whitish papules with a central warty spot are probably the lesions of another virus infection molluscum contagiosum.

In most cases warts resolve spontaneously, so that whatever you do may appear effective. Unfortunately their resolution is unpredictable and some warts seem to take forever to disappear. The old wives' tales of warts vanishing after they have been bought for a penny or after burying a steak in the garden or after some other equally bizarre magical technique are (at least partially) explicable on the basis of this tendency to spontaneous regression. However, practitioners should try especially hard to clear some warts before natural resolution in certain situations.

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