How To Remove Warts On Hands

how to remove warts on handsWelcome to How To Remove Warts From Hands, a site built specially to help you make informed decisions about how to remove warts with a particular emphasis on those unsightly and often painful warts on hands.

There are a surprising number of ways to remove warts on hands and understandably they vary greatly in terms of their success rate, discomfort during treatment and the costs involved.

Whilst wart removal surgery is often the most commonly thought-of solution for getting rid of warts on hands there are also a range of home remedies – some of which can be bought over the counter without a prescription and have proven to be surprisingly effective.

Problems With Warts On Hands

Whatever wart removal procedure you opt for one point is worth considering seriously – not only can warts on hands be uncomfortable and can cause embarrassment one must remember that warts are actually caused by a highly-contagious virus. As a result you may be surprised to read that warts can be passed on – either to other people whom you come into physical contact with or even to other parts of your body if not treated.

This is a major reason why warts on hands can be such a problem when compared with other types of warts; namely that if they are not removed swiftly there are risks of a growing problem as you touch other parts of your body – which can include the face and the genitals – thus passing on the virus and potentially leading to other warts elsewhere on your body.

It goes without saying  therefore that if you’re suffering from warts on hands – or even anywhere else on your body – it’s wise to learn how to remove warts as soon as possible so you can eliminate the problem and then get on with life as usual.

When there’s a big meeting, big speech, or a big date, you wouldn’t want to have a big skin growth right where it matters most. Some people find warts to be annoying, but those who can’t be bothered actually don’t mind and just want to leave them alone.

They can come in different sizes and may just pop up on any part of your body. They can also be even more irritating when they are in parts of the body that can cause pain. Whatever your decision is when it comes to this type of broken skin, it’s important to know just what warts are all about.

What Are Warts?

Caused by a certain type of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a wart is a growth infecting the skin’s top layer normally via a broken skin area. Once infected, the skin’s top layer quickly grows and forms a wart. Depending on the type of wart, it can grow anywhere on a person’s body, most commonly on the hands and feet.

Warts may be a touchy topic and can be a bit shameful to talk about, but knowledge on the matter can certainly come in handy when the need arises.

What Are The Causes Of Warts?

As HPV infects the skin’s outer layer, it results in the skin cells growing rapidly to produce a wart. It can easily spread to produce more warts on other parts of the body, especially since the virus thrives in damp areas that are also very common environments where humans like to hang out. This includes wet floors, showers, and pool areas.

When a person has a cut, a scrape, or any type of broken skin, a wart can easily develop. Another common wart can be seen in people who handle raw meat. Swimmers are also prone to a certain type of wart called plantar warts due to the fact that swimmers have damp, softened, and broken feet that are always exposed to swimming pool surfaces.

Are Warts Contagious?

Highly common and easily spread, a wart can appear in a person via direct contact with HPV. It becomes contagious when people share personal items like razors and towels. In fact, people with an already existing wart can infect themselves again when they touch a wart and touch another part of their bodies. The virus then grows slowly under the skin and it may take months before an actual wart comes forth.

While it may seem incredibly easy to get infected, not all people who are exposed to the human papillomavirus will get a wart every time. Factors for easy infection include chronic nail biters, having very sweaty feet due to tight footwear, having a weakened immune system, being barefoot on warm and moist areas, having a younger age, and sharing personal items with people who have warts.

What Are The Types And Symptoms?

There are many different types of warts. You may notice a growth that’s rough and bumpy, or you may see that a wart’s surface can be smooth and rather flat. There are also a variety of shapes and sizes. This is because your capillaries supply the wart’s core with blood. These very small blood vessels may even look like darkened dots at the center of some common warts.

Not to be confused with moles and other skin conditions, a wart completely covers the skin’s creases and skin lines, so it should be fairly easy to tell if you’ve got a wart or not.

While warts are usually painless, it can still cause a person a great deal of discomfort if it grows in a particularly difficult area, such as a finger or on one’s feet, where pressure is applied all the time during regular day to day activities. Particularly in warts that grow on feet, it can be very painful just to stand and walk.

The various types of warts include:

Common Warts

These rough-surfaced warts may grow on any body part and are normally shaped like domes. They can be gray-brown in color and commonly pop up in groups or alone in a person’s hands.

Filiform Warts

A filiform wart is a flat type of wart that has growths on its surface, often shaped like fingers with a fleshy color. It usually grows around the mouth area, including the beard and the nose.

Flat Warts

Very small with a flat top, a flat wart grows on areas that are shaved such as the face, the legs, and the arms. It appears in groups and can have a light brown or pinkish color.

Plantar Warts

A plantar wart is usually found on the foot, especially a foot with calluses. Because of the hardened and damaged skin and the constant pressure placed on the feet, a plantar wart can be very painful especially when one is walking.

Standing and walking over time may push the wart further beneath the surface of the skin and can even be buried under a hard callus. It can also appear to have dark spots and specks underneath the wart’s surface. This is most common with swimmers who are usually barefoot in moist areas and have damaged skin on their feet.

Periungual Warts

This irregular-shaped wart can be commonly found in the fingernail and toenail areas.

Should You Go To The Doctor?

If you’re unsure about whether or not your skin growth is a wart, a doctor can perform a skin biopsy by looking at your growth under a microscope.

Is the growth very irregular? Does it bleed? Is it growing rapidly at an enormous size? A doctor can also help ease your worries by ruling out skin cancer. You should also go to a doctor if you’ve been self-treating and yet the growth is still there after about three months.

If there is pus, abnormal discharge, red streaks, extreme pain and swelling, and even fever, you may be experiencing some sort of bacterial infection and should definitely get your growth checked.

You may be required by your physician to wait and observe any developments in your symptoms. This is usually done during a period without medical treatment, just to see what you are dealing with. Generally, the most common warts go away on their own, but it may take months or even years for them to completely go away.

During this period of time, your wart may spread to other areas of your body or it may infect other people, which is why most people like to consider having warts treated.

The appropriate people to approach for this treatment would be dermatologists, podiatrists, family medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and the like.

How To Remove Warts Yourself

As mentioned, most warts can go away on their own when left alone over time. This is due to your immune system developing its own way of fighting of the virus that infected you in the first place. Still, others can opt to have their warts treated especially if it is painful or if it can easily be spread to other body parts and other people.

To get rid of a wart without scarring the skin is crucial. If a wart is removed and yet the procedure leaves a scar tissue, this may result in an even more painful condition than the pain the removed wart used to cause.

Even so, not all treatments of warts are successful either. A wart may come back despite shrinking or disappearing, especially if the chosen treatment simply removes the wart without destroying the actual human papillomavirus.

But as a starting point of action, warts are normally treated at home because it is less painful and less expensive. When using home treatment, one can apply salicylic acid. Highly effective and completely safe, formulas like Compound W and Occlusal can be used for about 3 months, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.

This kind of treatment is the best option for children because it causes less pain and does not cause scars. There is also a method called tape occlusion, wherein a duct tape is used to completely cover a wart for about 2 months. As for freezing the warts, a home cryotherapy kit is usually available over the counter.

An example of this is Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away for warts on the hands and the feet.

When it comes to relieving pain caused by plantar warts, it’s important to wear footwear that does not increase the pressure exerted on the feet. Make sure you wear comfortable socks or even sole cushions as well. The wart can also be padded with a certain drugstore pad or patch that relieves pain and pressure. Generally, pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil can also help; just make sure that aspirin is never given to someone below the age of 20.

Remember: do not try to burn or cut your own wart if you don’t want to end up complicating your condition. A procedure like that requires professional skills to be accomplished properly.

How Are Warts Removed?

As stated above, salicylic acid is a nonprescription medicine used to treat warts. If you have a prescription from your physician, you will most likely get prescribed some retinoid cream which effectively disturbs the growth of the wart’s skin cells, or cantharidin which, when injected into the wart, blisters the skin underneath the wart and in turn removes the skin growth.

You may also be prescribed some form of immunotherapy in order to boost your body’s ability to fight off the virus that infected you. A less common treatment is bleomycin injection. It disrupts wart growth and destroys the skin with the wart, but causes pain. Whatever the medicine you are prescribed, ensure that you are not pregnant to prevent any birth complications.

Another option for wart treatment is to get surgery. It is usually a last resort in case medications do not work. Quick and effective, the best surgery is one that does not leave a scar. With laser surgery, the wart is burned with a laser beam to remove it.

In electrosurgery, on the other hand, an electric current is used to burn the wart instead of a beam of light. Afterwards, curettage is performed to cut off the wart. Depending on the type of wart, its size, and its location, your doctor will decide which type of surgery suits your wart best.

Finally, you can also opt for cryotherapy. This is a method of freezing the wart and has a lesser chance of scarring compared to surgery. Be wary of the pain it might cause, though.

How Can Warts Be Prevented?

After all that, there’s a good reason you might get paranoid. But while warts are very common, there are ways to prevent them from ever occurring. If you know someone has warts or if you yourself have one, keep from touching them as the human papillomavirus can be easily transferred. Do not share personal items with others, items such as socks, shoes, razors, or towels.

If you can avoid it, try not to walk barefoot on damp surfaces especially in public showers and pool areas. A good pair of slippers can save you from the risk of catching the virus that lurks in warm and moist places. Hence, it’s also a good idea to keep your feet nice and dry. Socks that are sweat absorbent are a good bet.

Bear in mind that the human papillomavirus can enter your body through broken skin, so take care of those cuts and scrapes. Avoid biting your nails and your cuticles, and in case you do have a wart, keep it covered with some bandages to make sure the virus doesn’t spread.

Being extra careful might make you look like a neat freak, but you’ll be glad you took precautions instead of running the risk of getting painful and irritating warts.

Bonus: What Are Genital Warts?

We’ve talked a great deal about the ins and outs of the common warts, but what about genital warts? Also caused by the human papillomavirus but by a different strand, genital warts are highly contagious and among the most common sexually transmitted infections. Some of them go away on their own, but some of the high-risk infections can actually cause cervical cancer. Pap tests are extremely important to determine the appropriate action and to monitor whether or not the virus will cause cervical cancer.

Genital warts often appear as growths on the thighs, vagina, anus, or around the male scrotum and penis. They can be gray or flesh in color and may look similar to a cauliflower. These warts can be very itchy and annoying.

Have your doctor check with a biopsy to see if you indeed have genital warts. A pelvic exam and a pap smear will also determine if you are at risk of cervical cancer. An abnormal pap test result will show lesions in the vaginal walls caused by the human papillomavirus that may be cancerous.

As with non-genital warts, they can go away on their own over time, but they may also grow larger. Even if the warts that are visible are removed, there is no assurance that the virus will not cause any future infections. It may still recur and may still be contagious.

It is especially imperative to discuss treatments with your doctor if you are pregnant and expecting. HPV may still be passed on to the child, even though this case is very rare.

Unlike common warts, it is not recommended to treat genital warts with medications that can be bought over the counter. Because the genital area is very sensitive and is prone to further infections, it is not advisable to use medicines that are not prescribed properly by a doctor.

You might end up causing more damage to your skin if you attempt to treat the warts yourself. Liquid nitrogen freezing, laser cauterization, and surgery are also treatment options for genital warts.

As usual, prevention is better than any cure. Since genital warts are sexually transmitted, the best way to prevent them is via abstinence. Condoms may only protect against HPV and other viruses up to a certain point. But infected areas may or may not be visible, so a person may be unaware that they have genital warts and are contagious.

It may be a bit of an embarrassing topic to discuss with your partner, but knowing whether or not one of you has genital warts as early as possible can be crucial to preventing further spreading of the infection. Do not be ashamed to approach your doctor regarding this topic as it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Health is wealth, and even a small and seemingly harmless bump can lead to a complication should you be unprepared. Luckily, this guide has now equipped you with the ability for a preemptive strike. With this in-depth analysis on all kinds of warts, you can rest assured that you will know how to properly handle a wart situation should you or any of your loved ones and friends ever need any knowledge on the matter.

 

photo by: loco's photos

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