Common warts are hard, callous spots and tumors caused by a virus from the family of human papilloma viruses (HPVs). The medical name for the common wart is verruca vulgaris. Warts are very common and are completely benign.
Who gets warts?
Almost everyone in childhood does have a period with warts on hands or feet. The virus spreads through skin-skin contact, especially when a wart is scratched open: the virus can then easily go outside. In this way, others are infected with the virus, or other skin parts are infected with the ‘patient’ themselves.
Adults who have had warts as a child will no longer develop warts on new infection with the virus because they have built up immunity against the virus. People who receive drugs for a long time that reduce resistance (eg patients who have undergone organ transplants) may develop warts again.
How long do warts persist?
According to a stat, in 80% of people, the warts disappear completely within 1 year, even if you do not do anything about it. In 20% of people, however, it takes longer, sometimes many years, before all warts have disappeared.
How can warts be treated?
Not treating is often the best option. Warts eventually all disappear and the treatment is sometimes more painful and disabling than the warts themselves. However, if there are complaints of walking pain (foot warts) or a lot of warts on the fingers that make people seriously embarrassed or who work well with their hands, treatment is recommended. There are several options:
Local application of drops or ointment
there are many local means in use: the most applied are:
– salicylic acid in Vaseline. Salicylic acid soaks the wart (protect the surrounding skin with Vaseline!). After softening it softens callousing away with a knife.
– application solution with cignoline and salicylic acid
by the doctor can be frozen the wart every week with liquid nitrogen. They die when the cells are thawed.
the warts are burnt away with a kind of ‘welding device’. The wart must first be stunned during coagulation.
the wart is scraped away with a sharp metal spoon. The soil is often coagulated or treated with liquid nitrogen
with the CO2 laser and some other ‘burning lasers’ the wart can be burnt away. The wart must also be anesthetized beforehand. Experimental is the treatment of warts with the pulsed dye laser: this laser burns the blood vessels that provide the wart with food and oxygen: this causes the wart to die.
this is a so-called chemotherapeutic agent that is used in the treatment of some types of cancer. In very persistent, therapy-resistant warts in adults, it can be applied by spraying it into the warts with a very fine needle. Is not performed in children and pregnant women.
cutting away warts (with suturing) is usually not a good option. The surgery is often drastic and takes place in a difficult area (hands, feet) and very often the warts return to the scar.
when the more common treatments have insufficient effect, it is to consider treating the warts with duct tape that can be bought in any do-it-yourself store. A step-by-step guide for the use of duct tape.
It should be noted that even after treatment the chance of warts coming back is great. It is estimated that after every well-executed treatment the chance of the wart coming back is more than 50%.