Genital warts can lead to an increased rate of mortality across the entire globe. The degree of pervasiveness, as well as occurrence, can be diverse among different societies. According to statistics, it is estimated that genital warts currently affect up to 3% of the entire population in Singapore, with 15 and 30 year olds being the most affected age group. Let’s find out more about warts.
Also medically referred to as verruca, warts are small growths of thickened skin. Plantar warts are a common term used to describe the lesions that usually occur over the soles of your feet. It is important to note that warts can occur in nearly any part of your body.
Warts are caused by viral infections that occur in your skin’s outer layer. This particular virus is known as HPV or Human Papillomavirus. There are more than one hundred and fifty strains of the HPV virus. Viral warts can be triggered by just a few of these strains.
Plantar warts are transmitted through contact with already infected skin scales, such as shower cubicles, floors of public locker rooms as well as the areas surrounding swimming pools among others. The HPV virus is not highly contagious and it is not certain why some individuals suffer from plantar warts whereas others do not. However, moistness enables the transmission of the virus so in most cases, the virus usually enters the skin via tiny breaks found on the surface.
A significant number of viral warts cases don’t carry any visible symptoms and are not painful too. However, viral warts that occur in certain areas within the body can potentially result in lots of discomfort, particularly those that appear in weight-bearing areas.
Viral warts usually vary in both size and shape. They can be between a few millimeters to more than one centimeter. They may also have a rough texture that protrudes out of your skin surface. However, when examined closely through the help of a magnifying lens, you will see small black spots.
No, warts are not hereditary.
Your doctor will physically review your symptoms and make a judgment based on the clinical appearance of your symptoms. To aid me in my diagnosis, I may use a small sterile knife to help thin the affected area down through a medical procedure known as paring to help reveal the black dot.
There are a couple of things that should help you determine whether you need to consult your doctor for symptoms. These may include:
It is imperative to note that there is a proven cure for plantar warts. Research also indicates that younger patients who haven’t had the virus for fairly long periods have a chance of their warts being cured. For patients who are suffering from underlying health conditions and those on immunosuppressant medications, the treatment process can be less successful.
Most warts usually clear themselves with time and may be left untreated if the affected individual is asymptomatic. Before determining whether your plantar wart should be treated or not, your doctor will have to take the following into account.
Although it may take years, your immune system will always fight off viral warts and will eventually disappear. Close to 60% of warts usually clear out on their own within two years. Unfortunately, before they clear completely with time, patients may experience lots of pain and the warts could also spread to other parts of their body.
Some treatment options I offer for plantar warts and palmar warts include:
Salicylic acid works by removing the outer dead skin slowly, thereby encouraging your immune system to clear off the virus. Before you apply this medication on your skin, you should first soak the affected area in warm water and subsequently use a pumice stone to thin the affected skin area to boost the effectiveness of the ointment. However, if in any case the affected area becomes too sore as a result of the treatment, you may need to stop using it for a while before you can continue.
Cryotherapy refers to continuously freezing warts using liquid nitrogen. This procedure is usually conducted in the clinic. Several sessions may be required and can be very painful resulting in some burns and blisters.
Surgery is also another viable option for wart treatment, but I advise that you first talk to your doctor to determine whether surgery is suitable for you.
They include silver nitrate caustic pencils, formaldehyde gel, dithranol, glutaraldehyde, podophyllotoxin, trichloroacetic acid, and f5-fluorouracil.
If you think you may be having viral warts, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance.