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Causes and Treatments for Warts

Warts are caused by a live virus, and, like any virus, they are contagious. Warts can involve any area of the body, but are particularly common on the bottom of the foot (plantar wart) and the hands and fingers. There are over 100 different viruses that can cause warts. Seventy percent of warts will spontaneously go away on their own within two years. The only thing that can cause a wart virus to go away is the body’s immune system, so when a dermatologist treats warts, he/she is trying to signal the immune system to “come and investigate” with the hope that the body will recognize the virus and eradicate it. That is why it often takes several treatments before warts resolve. Treatments may including freezing with liquid nitrogen, cautery (burning), topical treatments, and injection drug therapy.

Our providers are pleased to discuss which treatment option they feel will be most effective in your particular case. Often people state that they have a “seed wart” because they will see small black dots within the wart. These pinpoint dots are not seeds but are actually the ends of small blood vessels. So, although warts are contagious, they do not have “seeds.”

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