Filiform Warts Treatment


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Of the many different types of warts, filiform warts, also known as facial warts, are amongst the most distinctive because of their appearance. These warts tend to favour parts of the face, and as such can be a cause of considerable embarrassment and distress about how they affect your appearance. This article should give you some information about filiform warts, how they come about, and most importantly, how to get rid of them.

What is a filiform wart?

Like other warts, the filiform variety is a benign growth that can appear as an individual wart or in a group or cluster. Whereas other warts tend to be either raised or flat growths however, filiform warts tend be quite different in that they are quite long and narrow growths that have a distinctive and undesirable frond like appearance which can be quite distressing, particularly as it favours growing on the face, and more specifically on the lips and eyelids. These warts grow very quickly which is also quite characteristic, as most other warts can take a long time to develop after the initial infection.

What causes filiform warts?

There are many disease causing organisms in the world around us, of which some of the simplest are viruses. Whereas bacteria are small organisms which are quite complex in their own right, a virus is little more than a packaged bundle of DNA that infects cells to reproduce and form lots of other little viruses. It is a virus which is responsible for warts, in particular a type called the human papilloma virus (HPV). There are in fact many different types of HPV, and the strains thought to be responsible for filiform warts are thought to be strains 29, 27, 4, 2, and 1.

What these strains of the virus do is make their way into the a layer of the skin called the epidermis, a perfect environment for viral growth, and once in there the virus uses your skin cells to fuel its replication. It also stimulates growth in infected cells, which results in an abnormal but benign growth that we see and known as warts.

How do you get filiform warts?

HPV is notoriously contagious, and so can be caught through person to person or person to surface contact. Filiform warts grow on the face, and touching these warts actually poses a serious risk of passing the virus on to another part of your body as the virus hands on to your fingers and will move on to whatever surface or part of your body you touch next. You tend to pick up filiform warts through contact with other infected people or infected surfaces, which is why it’s quite important to maintain good hygiene and avoid contact with people with known HPV infections.

Can filiform warts be treated?

The short answer to the question is yes. Your body’s natural response to the presence of invaders like HPV is to work against it through a complex defence network known as the immune system. So for many people the immune system will take care of these warts given enough time to do so. The natural reaction to HPV can vary, meaning that some people will have a strong natural resistance against the virus, while others can be particularly vulnerable to warts. Despite the fact that your immune system will take care of the warts given enough time, the elongated and prominent appearance of filiform warts can be quite detrimental to your appearance, and so it’s not surprising that so many people choose to look for treatment.

Facial warts warrant extra care because some chemicals can irritate the skin on your face, despite being perfectly safe elsewhere. Skin on your face tends to be particularly sensitive, and most of us would rather not risk damaging our appearance in that manner. The safest option is to talk to your doctor about how to sort out your filiform warts, and he or she is likely to recommend certain topical drugs which when applied to the wart trigger an immune reaction against the infected cells. There are more aggressive treatment options available, and these can be quite effective in sorting out more resilient warts. Cryotherapy involves freezing a wart with liquid nitrogen to remove it. Laser therapy is a similar approach that relies on a laser to heat up the blood vessels supplying a wart to kill it. Surgical excision is another option, however it has become less popular with the development of alternatives because of its potential for scarring. Immunotherapy will involve stimulating an allergic reaction against the wart, but this can be a painful option.

Can I prevent filiform warts?

As with other types of warts, the best way to avoid a filiform HPV infection is by keeping your face clean and avoid contact with people suffering from an HPV infection. You should always take care when handling surfaces and sharing towels in changing rooms, swimming pools, and other environments which are warm and wet enough to harbour viruses like HPV.


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