What is a Wart?
Warts are a common skin condition, most commonly found on the hands, fingers, and around the fingernails. They look like small, fleshy peas, but can also be large in size. It is also common for warts to appear in clusters on the knees and elbows. Warts are caused by HPV, otherwise known as the human papilloma virus. Although warts are harmless for the most part, they can be unsightly and bothersome. Many times, over-the-counter wart removal treatments are not enough and the wart must be removed by a professional dermatologist. Our board-certified dermatologists at Snyder Dermatology in Austin, TX carefully remove warts of all shapes and sizes.
What Causes Warts
The cause of common warts is the human papilloma virus. HPV lives in the flat, thin cells that are found on the skin’s surface and also surfaces of the mouth, throat, head, penis, vagina, cervix and anus. Out of the 100 HPV types, about 60 cause warts. Warts occur from having direct contact with HPV, which can be spread from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. Warts can also be the result of making contact with an object used by a person infected with HPV such as exercise equipment or a towel. The virus is usually spread through breaks in the skin such as a scrape or hangnail.
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"A good friend recommended Dr. Renee Snyder to me. My experience with both Dr. Snyder and her staff were all positive. She discovered a basal cell carcinoma which was removed by her associate, Dr. Nikki Dietert, only a few days after the pathology results. Both doctors were attentive, friendly, effective and responsive to my questions."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 11, 2019
"Great practice! Everyone had good service from the check in and check out process to the assistant helping and Dr. Snyder. Dr. Snyder was thorough and straight to the point and I recommend coming to this practice! I was nervous about this appointment because of a bad experience at my previous dermatologist, but I felt welcomed and comfortable here."- M.G. / Yelp / May 08, 2019
"Very thorough and straight to the point. I did not feel like she was just trying to get money out of me and her practice made me feel very comfortable, I definitely recommend her!"- M.G. / Yelp / May 08, 2019
Symptoms of Warts
Common wart symptoms include bumps that are tender, grainy at the top, and fleshy feeling. The area with the wart can be rough to the touch. Plantar warts look like light brown or flesh-colored lumps that are speckled with tiny, black spots, which are clotted blood vessels. These warts often appear on the soles of the feet. Flat warts are smaller, smoother and flatter compared to other types and can usually be found on the face and sometimes the legs. Genital warts appear in the pubic area, on the genitals, and in or around the vaginal area or anus. These warts appear as small, pink, red or flesh-colored growths. They can appear in clusters of 3 or 4 and can grow and spread rapidly. Though usually not painful, they can bleed or itch.
How to Treat Warts
Even after initial treatment, warts can reoccur so it is important to find the right treatment method to help keep the condition at bay. Freezing a wart is a common treatment and is performed with success. With freezing, a doctor utilizes liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart away. A blister will form around the wart where the dead tissues will fall off within a week. A substance called cantharidin can cause extreme inflammation to the skin when applied to a wart. This chemical is extracted from a blister beetle and it is applied to the skin to form a blister around the wart, it is a common and popular treatment because the application is pain free. Other medications to treat warts include bleomycin, which is injected into the wart to kill the virus, and Aldara, which is a prescription cream that can be applied directly to the wart. When other methods are ineffective, surgery may be needed to cut away the wart. An electric needle or cryosurgery, or deep freezing, are methods that can be used to destroy the base of the wart.
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Though most warts prove to be harmless and some patients choose to use home treatments, they often don’t work. In addition, warts can spread, become bothersome and can lead to cosmetic issues. In any case, it’s normally a good idea to get them checked out by a trained medical professional. He or she can examine the wart to determine the type and best course of treatment. Call our office today for a consultation to get rid of any warts you may have now, as well as preventing them from reoccurring in the future. Our office has the staff, tools and experience to get you back to a wart-free existence.