Warts

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About Warts

Warts are a very common and can occur anywhere on the skin. They are usually harmless but can take a long time to clear up by themselves. 

Common places to get warts are:

  • The feet (called Verrucas)
  • The hands
  • Genital areas

Having Warts

If you have a wart you will probably notice a small rough lump on the skin. They can range in sizes and it is possible to develop a few warts in the same area. 

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Warts are called by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Infection with this virus causes a reaction in the skin and this is why a wart develops. 

Genital warts are also caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) but they they tend to be a different type of HPV.

Treatment

It is not always necessary to treat warts - if they are not causing any problems they will mostly clear up in a year or two. 

If you do wish to have treatment for warts there are 2 main ways of treating them:

1. With salicylic acid which can be applied as a cream that burns the top layer of the wart. You often need to continue the treatment for months and it also involves regular soaking to soften the area and filling with an emery board. This treatment cannot be used on the face. 

2. Cryotherapy - this is freezing the wart often using liquid nitrogen. You may need 4-6 treatments to completely get rid of the wart virus. 

Genital warts can also be treated with a range of creams or cyrotherapy but it depends on the exact location of the warts. 

Prevention

Warts are contagious but if you follow simple hygiene methods you can avoid spreading them. These include:

  • Avoid sharing towels
  • Don't share shoes or socks
  • Cover any warts or veruccas when swimming
  • Avoid touching/scratching them and if you do touch the wart make sure you wash your hands as you could transmit the virus to another part of your body or to someone else. 

There are several strains of HPV, known as high risk strains, that are associated with cervical cancer. There is now an HPV vaccine that is given to 12 and 13 year old girls which protects against either 2 (Cervarix) or 4 (Gardasil) different strains of HPV. Cervarix protects against two of the cancer associated strains while Gardasil also protects against two low risk strains which cause genital warts. 

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Our doctors are available now to help you with warts or any other medical condition which you would normally see your GP about. Book an appointment now and start feeling better right away.

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