Why Would I Want to Treat my Warts?

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For many people warts are little more than a nuisance like acne or corns, or any number of other skin afflictions that, if left alone, will be resolved in little to no time. There are however, many reasons for wanting to deal with warts more directly and quickly, and some of these are outlined in this article.


Warts are caused by a very persistent little pathogen (infectious material) called the human papillomavirus, aka HPV. All this virus needs to survive is an environment with some moisture and warmth, which means that it can be transferred through surfaces in places like public swimming pools, bathrooms, and changing rooms. HPV is also very much transmissible by person to person contact, all it takes is for an infected person’s fingers to brush against their warts before making contact with someone else for the warts to be passed on. Of course some people are naturally a bit more resistant to warts so won’t catch the condition that easily, but most of the time passing on warts is just that simple.

This level of contagiousness is a very good reason to seek treatment as you probably don’t want to share warts around. While the condition is not usually any cause for concern, it can be a distressing, and for a small minority of people suffering from immune deficiencies, the condition can pose a much more serious health risk.

Embarrassment/self confidence

There are many different types of warts which can affect different parts of your body, and depending on where they crop up and how they look, they can make you feel quite self-aware and embarrassed. Filiform warts are a classic example of a fairly unpleasant wart that can badly affect self-confidence. These warts form long frond like growth that appear in small groups and on very obvious locations like your eyelashes and lips, which can negatively affect how you feel about your appearance. Similarly flat warts can appear in clusters of as many as 100 on your neck or face to a similar effect. Even common warts can have this effect on your confidence because of the characteristic cauliflower-head like appearance of small groups of warts, which on your face and neck, or even on your hands, can be less than desirable.

Genital and oral warts are also a source of embarrassment for many people, particularly because of the stigma surrounding sexually transmitted infections. Oral warts are most often caused by sexual contact with a person carrying genital warts, and the condition has become more prevalent in recent years with increasing social acceptability of oral sex. Talking about either condition, but more particularly genital warts, can be difficult and embarrassing to say the least if you are sexually active.

Pain and soreness

While most warts when left to their own devices are not a cause of physical pain or distress, they can grow in places where they can cause pain and force you to seek treatment. The classic example of this is the plantar wart, which develops on the bottom of your feet were the full force of your body weight drives the wart into your skin, causing you pain. Similarly oral warts can be aggravated by certain foods and drink, becoming more than just a nuisance for many people and affecting how they chew and how much they enjoy eating. Periungual warts which appear in and around nails can become painful as well,, in some cases growing large enough to deform or displace a nail completely. Finally facial warts like filiform (frond like elongated) warts which grow around lips and eye lashes can become painful as these areas are often rubbed or brushed against, irritating the wart.

Potential health risks

While most warts are perfectly harmless in terms of your health, there are certain types which bear more careful management and closer attention. Oral warts for instance, can be more of a concern because a potential link to mouth and throat cancers, and so the onset of oral warts often means you should seek a doctor’s attention, advice, and treatment. Periungual warts don’t carry any risk of cancer, but because they grow around nails they can develop into more serious conditions. Some of these warts, for instance, grow under nails, where at first their small size is no cause for concern, but given time a periungual wart can become large enough to displace a nail or cause it to deform permanently. In rare cases these warts can actually get into the nail plate, which begins a more serious fungal infection which is best avoided by dealing with the wart as quickly as possible.

Even standard and generally harmless warts can be a problem if your immune system is particularly vulnerable to disease. Your immune system is your body’s defence against organisms and particles like the wart causing HPV (human papillomavirus), and in fact given time your immune system can deal with HPV on its own. However people suffering from illnesses like HIV (human immune virus) and AIDS (acute immune deficiency syndrome) have a compromised immune system that isn’t able to deal with normally harmless viruses like HPV, making a wart a much more serious condition that would need to be checked out by a doctor. Similarly people receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy for cancer are often left immunocompromised and hence similarly vulnerable.

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