Warts are caused by HPV (Human Papilloma Viruses). Well over 170 different subtypes of HPV exist and cause many problems including common warts.

Common warts

Common warts can occur anywhere on the body but are most often on hands, feet, arms and legs. The spread by contact with contaminated surfaces and person to person contact. Since HPV types is everywhere in our lives, it is impossible to completely avoid exposure , but it is reasonable to take certain precautions such as wearing  sandals in public showers.

Some warts resolve on their own over 1-2 years, others do not and may spread, multiply or enlarge. When on the soles of the feet, they can be uncomfortable to walk on.

Genital warts

HPV also causes genital and perianal warts. It is important to note that since the warts can be on areas not protected by condoms, the practice of “safe sex” (using condoms), will not protect you from exposure to HPV if your partner has it.

Not all HPV infection is visible.

Some HPV subtypes are harmful or high risk

Certain subtypes of HPV, most notably types 16 and 18, are high risk because they cause cervical cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer and some cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas.

Treatment of HPV

Treatment of HPV is usually aimed at destroying the cells infected with HPV, in general the visible warts. Examples of this type of treatment would be freezing them with liquid nitrogen applied directly on the wart.

Newer treatment modalities have been aimed at stimulating the body’s own immune system to fight the infected cells.

Preventive HPV immunization against high risk genital HPV subtypes  is now available.  The immunization has been tested and approved for children and young adults aged 9-26.

Dermatology STL treatments

Everyone’s warts are different and several treatments are more the rule than the exception, but there are many options for therapy available.   Choosing the treatment that’s the ideal one for you and modifying therapy when indicated is a skill and an art.