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- Diagnosis & Therapy
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- How are the costs going to be covered?
Warts are contagious, usually benign, small growths on the skin. They can occur at any age, in a wide variety of shapes and on various parts of the body. About 50 percent of people will get warts on their hands or feet at some point in their life. In around ten percent of adults, warts develop in the genital area…
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Warts can be caused by around 100 subtypes of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Exceptions are pelvic warts, which are caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus, and pedunculate warts, the cause of which is unknown. The transmission usually takes place through direct contact with virus carriers or a smear infection.
The immune system plays an important role in the development of viral warts. If the immune system is intact, there is less infection or less warts. To strengthen the immune system, we recommend a healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise and a balanced diet. To prevent genital warts, a vaccination is recommended before the first sexual intercourse, especially for girls and boys. This also protects against cervical cancer.
Depending on their appearance and localization, different types of warts are distinguished:
- Barbed warts (vulgar warts): At 70 percent, they are the most common type of warts. These are initially pinhead to pea-sized, hard and protruding nodules that later become horny and can multiply on the skin like beds.
- Genital warts (Condylomata acuminata): are also called genital or wet warts and are the most dangerous of all warts. They often form small, white-gray growths, often next to or on top of another wart. Genital warts occur exclusively in the genital area and on the anus and are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.
- Age warts (senile warts, verrucae seborrhoicae): can appear on the entire surface of the body. Their appearance ranges from a brown spot to a raised, usually about the size of a pea. Age warts are benign and not infectious, so they do not need to be removed from a health point of view. Their frequency increases with age. The cause of their development is still unclear.
- Warts (pool warts, molluscum contagiosum, mollusks): often occur in groups and can affect the whole body, but do not cause any symptoms. They are caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus and are actually not warts, although they look like them. They have a smooth, shiny surface, are skin-colored, white or transparent and usually reach the size of the head of a pin. Typical is a dent in the middle with a small opening from which a thick, white, infectious liquid emerges. Children, people with a weakened immune system or neurodermatitis are particularly affected.
- Plantar warts (verrucae plantares, plantar warts, plantar warts): can appear on the sole of the foot, on the heel and between the toes and are recognizable by their soft and smooth surface and brownish-gray color. On the outside, plantar warts form a cornea and do not look particularly large. However, they can penetrate deeply into the subcutaneous tissue and squeeze painfully when walking. Usually they can only be removed through surgery. The most common places of infection are swimming pools.
- Flat warts (Verrucae planae): are also called juvenile warts because they mainly occur in children and adolescents. They occur all over the body, especially the face, hands, and forearms. It is quite possible that up to 100 pieces will form on one skin area. They are mostly flat, soft, round growths from gray-yellow to brown in color with a diameter of up to five millimeters. Their surface is usually dull and finely dotted. Flat warts are harmless and are usually removed for purely cosmetic reasons.
- Brush warts (Verrucae filiformes): occur mainly in older people on the eyelids, lips, nose or neck. They are white to dark pink and grow into prickly or stylized formations of the skin, which are irritated or injured by washing, drying and especially when shaving. They can multiply rapidly, are persistent, sometimes itchy, and are also a cosmetic problem.
- Pedunculate warts (fibroids): are cauliflower- or stem -like skin lumps that often appear on the face, armpit, buttocks and groin area. They are usually only a few millimeters in size and occur more frequently with age. Pedunculate warts develop due to the growth of certain skin cells (fibrocytes). Their exact cause is unclear, but they are certainly not caused by viruses. Therefore, a typical wart treatment with virus-fighting agents is not effective. This type of wart is harmless and at most poses a cosmetic problem. It can be removed with laser, electrocoagulation or surgically.
Diagnosis & Therapy
The diagnosis of whether and what type of warts it is is made by the dermatologist based on the shape, structure and location of the respective skin changes. Warts can regress on their own after a few months if the body's immune system manages to successfully fight the virus that is causing them. After healing, however, the rate of recurrence (recurrence) of warts is high. On the other hand, they can persist for years or continue to multiply through self-infection. Some types of warts should be removed for medical reasons, while others require treatment for purely cosmetic reasons. There are several methods available for treating or removing warts:
- Cold: Icing (cryotherapy) is used less often than before. It is somewhat uncomfortable and painful, but does not require a local anesthetic. The icing destroys the connective tissue structure of the wart. About an hour after application, a blister appears that is either removed or disappears on its own. The pain can last for a while.
- Laser: This method is increasingly used by dermatologists to remove warts. The pain is usually short-lived and rarely requires local anesthesia, for example when treating the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. In many cases the wart will go away after a single session, sometimes multiple applications are required.
- Dissolving the horny layer:The thickened horny layer that covers the wart and houses the virus is softened or dissolved. There are also plasters, tinctures, creams, etc. that are prescribed by the doctor and used by the patient at home. The appearance of the wart changes about one to three days after starting treatment. The keratinized skin layers appear whitish and softened and can be carefully removed by the doctor with a scalpel. It is not advisable to remove these layers of skin yourself, as there is a risk of injury and thus a further increase in the number of warts. Depending on the size of the wart, the treatment may have to be repeated several times. Most of the time, the wart will be completely gone after three to four weeks.In some cases, however, it is not successful.
- Surgical removal: Surgical removal is mostly used when other methods have failed. It is done with a sharp spoon under local anesthesia. The wound can burn a little and needs proper treatment. This method is used less and less because it is unpleasant and sustainable success is not guaranteed.
- Alternative healing methods: In addition to medication, there are countless home remedies for warts, but there is no scientific evidence of their effectiveness.
Whom can I ask?
Warts or suspicious skin changes (sometimes malignant skin changes can look like a wart) should be examined by a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis. He / she will discuss the next steps with you and, if necessary, initiate treatment. However, it may also be that therapy is not medically necessary or only desired for cosmetic reasons.
How are the costs going to be covered?
All necessary and appropriate therapies are covered by the health insurance carriers. Your doctor or the outpatient clinic will generally settle accounts directly with your health insurance provider. With certain health insurance providers, however, you may have to pay a deductible (BVAEB, SVS, SVS, BVAEB). However, you can also use a doctor of your choice (ie doctor without a health insurance contract) or a private outpatient clinic. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles.