Overview - Warts
Warts (verruca) are small, non-cancerous growths on the skin which are usually painless. They are caused by a virus called the human papilloma virus (HPV). Though largely harmless in nature, warts can be quite disfiguring at times and thereby a source of embarrassment. Certain types of warts can be itchy or even painful.
In some cases, warts may disappear spontaneously without any treatment but in most cases they require proper treatment. The response to treatment also varies significantly wherein some warts recover readily while others require prolonged treatment. The trouble with warts is that they spread easily on account of being contagious and hence must be treated promptly without any delay.
The issue with conventional treatment is that it does not target the root cause of warts and hence recurrence is common. However, with constitutional homeopathic treatment, warts are treated effectively from the roots thereby preventing any further recurrence of the same. At Dr. Batra's, we have treated a large number of cases of warts with good results in most cases. Go ahead and experience the benefits of homeopathy at Dr. Batra's.
What are Warts?
As described earlier, warts are small, non-cancerous growths on the skin that may vary in size, shape and color. Some warts present as small, flat and smooth lesions whereas some may appear as rough and hard growths on the skin. Warts are caused by a virus called human pappiloma virus (HPV). The human pappiloma virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, thereby giving rise to the formation of a wart.
Warts are generally skin colored though they can be darker or lighter than the skin color. The surface may be smooth or rough. The shapes may also vary significantly, some of the warts being flat, others being larger and fleshy and yet others being thin, long and cylindrical.
Although warts can occur on any part of the body, commonly affected areas include:
- Feet (especially soles)
- Face and neck
Warts may occur one at a time or in clusters. They are usually painless though in case of affection of soles (plantar warts), pain may be an evident feature.
Children and young people are more prone to develop warts and being contagious in nature, they spread easily from one person to another. Warts also tend to spread easily from one part of the body to another in the same individual.
One of the common reasons why warts spread so easily is that people try to get rid of them by shaving them off or trying other means by which only part of the wart is removed. A half-removed wart of this kind is more prone to spread the virus to other parts of the body and to other people.
Warts often disappear by themselves within a few months or years but this may not be the case always. Some warts tend to be very stubborn and in spite of rigorous treatment, take long time to go.
Types of Warts
Several types of warts are seen in clinical practice and some of the common variants have been described here:
Common warts (verrucae vulgaris)
Common warts are typically grey to flesh colored, raised lesions varying in size from pinhead to about 10 mm in diameter. They are generally covered with rough, horn-like projections and are commonly seen on hands and feet, especially around the nails. As the names suggests, these are the most common variety of warts and can affect people belonging to all age groups.
As compared to common warts, these warts are small and only slightly raised above the skin. They can be flesh colored or whitish and appear smooth (unlike common warts that appear rough). Flat warts are generally the size of a pinhead and may appear in clusters. Common locations of flat warts are face and legs. When they occur on the face, they tend to spread rapidly especially with activities like shaving. Teenagers and adults are more prone to develop flat warts.
Filiform warts, as the name suggests, are long, narrow and filamentous warts. These flesh colored growths tend to affect the face and neck more often. They generally appear in clusters and have a tendency to grow rapidly. Filiform warts also spread easily especially by sharing face towels or facial products. If accidentally rubbed or scratched, they may get irritated and may bleed.
One of the painful varieties of warts, plantar warts occur on the soles of the feet. They are often called as mosaic warts due to their mosaic-like appearance. They tend to grow into the skin of the soles and hence are difficult to treat. Plantar warts often have a tiny dot at the centre which is due to clogged blood vessels. Having a plantar wart makes walking around painful since it is constantly subjected to pressure thus rendering it tender.
Genital warts / Condyloma
Warts that affect the genital region are called genital warts and they are amongst the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Typical locations in male patients include the penis and in case of women, the vulva, vagina and cervix may be affected. Occasionally the warts may even spread to the anal region or the pubic region in both the sexes.
Appearance-wise, genital warts are seen as flat raised lesions or cauliflower-like bumps that are generally flesh colored. They may be small in size making them difficult to spot at times; in other cases they may be larger and itchy. There may be tenderness or a burning sensation in the affected region. In case of genital warts on the cervix, the woman may experience bleeding after sexual intercourse.
Genital warts may occur singly or in clusters. They are highly contagious and they spread easily through sexual contact (vaginal or anal) or oro-genital contact (oral sex). Genital warts do not spread through bodily fluids and a direct physical contact is essential for transmission. After an initial exposure to the partner's genital warts, a person may develop the same weeks, months or even years later. They tend to be recurrent in nature and frequent outbreaks are seen in the affected person.
Causes of Warts
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the primary culprit in the development of warts. There are more than hundred types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and most of them cause warts to develop on the skin. Some of the types of HPV cause genital warts and these have been implicated in the causation of cervical cancer in women.
The Human Papilloma Virus spreads though direct contact and that is the reason why warts spread from person to person as well as from one body part to another in the same individual. The virus finds way into the body through skin that is moist, cracked or is peeling. A site of recent injury is another common entry-point for the virus. Once the virus enters the body, the incubation period begins (during which the virus remains dormant) and this varies from one to eight months. After this period, the outbreak of the wart is seen.
Virus that has been shed recently remains alive in a warm, moist environment such as cellars, locker rooms, etc. There are numerous ways in which the virus can spread and these include:
- From one part of the body to another (in the same individual)
- Direct contact with someone else's wart
- Contact with towel or any other object used by someone who has a wart
- Genital contact as in vaginal/anal/oral sex (for genital warts)
Genital warts are much more contagious as compared to other varieties of warts.
Homeopathic practitioners have time and again demonstrated the success of homeopathy in the treatment of warts for more than 200 years now. Whether it is getting rid of the existing warts, preventing the formation of new ones or healing the tendency to wart formation, Homeopathy has an answer to all of these.
At Dr. Batra's, we have been treating patients with warts for 35 years now, and have had good results in most cases. Homeopathic treatment helps patients to get rid of warts safely and effectively without the use of any conventional methods. In any case, conventional methods like freezing (cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen therapy), cantharidin application, surgery, electrodesiccation, curettage, laser surgery, retinoid creams, etc. provide only temporary relief from warts and do not prevent new ones from cropping up.
Prognosis of homeopathy treatment varies from case to case - some warts disappear readily with medication whereas others require long-term treatment and are slow to disappear. The important thing about Homeopathic treatment is that besides healing them, it prevents the warts from spreading to other parts of the body. Proper constitutional treatment removes the tendency for wart formation from the roots thereby giving lasting results.
Overall, the treatment of warts with Homeopathy gives good results in most cases and the best part is that the treatment is safe and without any side-effects. Homeopathy is strongly suggested for all cases of warts.
Self care for Warts
Warts can spread easily from one person to another as well from one location to another in the same individual. It is important to take good care so as to avoid the spreading of warts in the aforementioned manner.
At Dr. Batra's, we have been treating patients with warts for last 35 years and have had good results in most cases. Based on our vast clinical experience and the expertise of qualified and skilled dermatologists belonging to our team, we have observed that the following tips go a long way in helping patients to deal with their warts:
- Avoid picking at warts since they spread faster like this
- Avoid shaving areas that have warts to keep the virus from spreading
- In case of children, cover the warts with an adhesive bandage - this will keep them from picking the warts
- Children must be encouraged to wash hands properly after they finish playing
- Keep the affected area dry since warts tend to thrive better in moist environment
- If you have accidentally touched someone else's warts (or even your own) , wash your hands properly after that
- If you or your partner has genital warts, abstain from sexual activity since genital warts are highly contagious. Some physicians recommend using condoms but these do not provide complete protection from genital warts (since warts may be in areas not completely covered by the condom).
- Don’t share personal care objects (such as towel, comb, nail clipper, etc.) with someone who has warts (or if you have warts, do not allow others to use your stuff). This helps to avoid the spreading of the virus.
Our qualified and experienced nutritionist recommends the following to deal with warts:
- Include adequate amount of garlic, onions, eggs in your diet
- To improve your immunity against development of warts, have amla, guava, citrus fruits (rich sources of Vitamin C)
- Eat foods rich in vitamin B and calcium such as almonds, beans, whole grains (if no allergy is present), dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and sea vegetables
- Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods and margarine.
- Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, other stimulants, refined foods, sugar and tobacco