Common Warts (Verruca vulgaris) Treatment


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It may surprise you to know that there are many different types of warts, but what they all share in common is that they are caused by the human papillomavirus, and are all equally unwelcome on our skin. If you do have warts on your skin, chances are that they are common warts, also known as Verruca vulgaris.

What are common warts?

Common warts are small, benign (harmless) growths that occur as a result of an infection from the notorious human papillomavirus. This virus is more often referred to as HPV, and exists in over 130 different subtypes, many of which can cause common warts. The growths have a characteristic appearance in that they are small, raise, and rough textured and can appear as individual warts or in small groups. How do these growths form? HPV, like all other viruses, infects you to grow and increase its numbers, and part of this mechanism increases the growth of skin cells. This abnormal growth is what forms the unsightly appearance of a wart.

Are common warts dangerous?

This is probably the most important question around any kind of illness, and in the case of common warts the answer is a very comforting ‘no’. The only instances in which a common wart can badly affect your health are where a person already suffers from a pre-existing immune condition like HIV or AIDS which makes viruses that your body would normally be able to defend against more dangerous.

How can you get common warts?

The virus that causes the common wart, HPV, enjoys moist, warm environments in which it can grow and wait for someone to infect. As this is the case, the form of the virus that causes common warts can be picked up off many different surfaces, particularly those in environments like bathing areas and changing rooms. The most common mode of transmission is probably person to person through contact with an infected region of skin. The virus is very contagious, meaning that contact is very likely to result in infection. The virus will most likely cause an infection at the site of an injury, although this isn’t strictly necessary for an infection.

Who is most susceptible to common warts?

Like most other conditions, you can develop resistance and immunity against the HPV, which makes you much less susceptible to further infections and the resulting warts. Your body’s immune system is adept at learning how to combat repeat offenders, which is why adults tend to have warts much less than younger children and teenagers. In younger age groups the body hasn’t had a chance to be exposed to the virus and learn how to defend against it. People with immune deficiencies can be vulnerable to common warts, and certain individuals might be particularly vulnerable to particular strains of the virus for no obvious reasons, although these instances are relatively rare .

Can common warts be treated?

Yes, common warts are very treatable. In fact most cases will resolve themselves given time, but if you feel particularly self-conscious or embarrassed about the appearance of warts, then having the condition treated is probably your best option. There are a number of different methods of treatment, depending on the number of warts and their severity. Examples of milder forms of treatment include, for example, applying a cream or topical gel with an active ingredient that removes the wart. The most common substance used in these, and probably the most effective, is salicylic acid, which can be bought in low doses over the counter. You can look for prescription treatments from your doctor, whose experience will undoubtedly be beneficial in recommending a treatment to suit you as an individual. Other treatment routes include laser or surgical treatments, but these are only really applicable in more severe instances.

With all this in mind remember that if you are concerned about your warts then it is always best to consult your doctor just to be doubly sure. At the very least you would get some advice on how to go about getting rid of your common warts, and take comfort in the fact that once you’ve had it a few times you are likely to develop a resistance to the condition.


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