Warts are skin growths caused by infection with the virus, Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are spread by direct contact with someone who has HPV, which is contagious. There are several types of warts, often caused by different strains of the virus.
Molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by a pox virus (molluscum contagiosum virus). The results of the infection is a usually benign, mild skin disease characterized by growths that may appear anywhere on the body. Lesions may resolve on their own within 6-12 months, though it may take as long as 4 years. As these growths heal, a mild rash may form in the area. They may leave a dark mark or even a scar after they resolve.
Treatment for molluscum and warts overlap, though in general treatment for molluscum is quicker and more straight forward. These growths are generally harmless, although genital warts should be taken seriously. There are many treatment options. Warts can be frustrating - they often require multiple treatment sessions, and sometimes several types of treatments. Molluscum most often resolve after 2-3 treatment sessions, though there can be stubborn cases. Some options include:
- Freezing: In this treatment, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the wart. A blister forms around the wart, and the dead tissue falls off within about a week.
- Medications: Some medications can be applied to the wart to help it form a blister and fall off, such as Cantharidin. DNCB is applied to create an immume reaction to help fight the virus. Other drugs, such as Bleomycin, are injected into a wart to kill the virus. Aldara is a prescription cream used to treat genital warts.
- Minor Surgery: Minor surgery may be considered. The wart will be cut away, and then the base of the wart will be destroyed using an electric needle or by deep freezing (cryosurgery).
- Laser Surgery: This procedure uses an intense beam of light (the laser) to burn and destroy wart tissue.