Oral warts – who knew they existed? When you think of what a wart is, you generally don’t associate them with the mouth. But in reality, they affect millions of people. Warts on the body are sometimes in areas that don’t affect you very much and are easy to ignore, while sometimes they’re so bothersome that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Oral warts are most likely a type that you can’t help but notice constantly. But what exactly are these things and how in the world can you get rid of them? Read on to find out.
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What Are Oral Warts?
Oral warts are a result of a sexually transmitted infection, caused by a virus known as HPV. They spread from the genitals to the mouth through oral sex and are extremely contagious. They will appear in the mouth anywhere from the tongue, to the lips, and even your throat. Their surface is bumpy and raised, and they may appear in clusters.
The type of HPV that causes warts in both the genitals and mouth are linked to cancer. Oral warts can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, and tongue just like tobacco can.
Oral warts can show up anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, although warts associated with the sexual infection usually occur on the inside of the lip as opposed to the outside. Click here for more information about warts on lips.
Are they the same as genital warts?
Oral warts are part of genital warts. You only catch them when you perform oral sex on someone else who has genital warts. It may also be spread through kissing another person with oral warts, though it is harder to transmit this way.
One of the more annoying places to get a wart in your mouth is on the tongue. It gets in the way of taste and sometimes speech. For more details about warts on tongue, go here.
HPV is behind it
HPV is caught by simple skin-on-skin contact, getting in through tiny breaks in the skin. Once inside, it settles into the skin’s upper layers and waits until replicating over and over again into a wart. Sometimes you’ll see warts appear right away after exposure, and sometimes it may take weeks. In the case of oral warts, avoid dirty places won’t matter, since it’s a sexually transmitted infection and the strain of HPV that causes it is only spread through sexual contact.
There is no known cure for HPV, although some researchers believe your body’s immune system can sometimes kill it. Normally, the human body recognizes a virus and creates antibodies to destroy it. But there are some viruses your body can’t seem to keep up with, HPV being one of them. However, in some cases, it seems that certain people’s bodies can fight it.
When it comes to warts in the mouth, there will be several symptoms including:
- Growth: You’ll see the warts growing into your mouth or lips. In the throat, you may feel irritation or like something is caught in there. These can be hard to see, considering how far back they are.
- Irritation: In general, warts don’t cause pain. But with oral warts, you’ll naturally have more discomfort than normal. Not only can you feel their presence more than other warts, they can break apart a little from chewing or hot drinks, causing irritation and sometimes pain if you’re not careful. In the throat, you may even have difficulty swallowing if they become big enough.
- Appearance: Oral warts are similar to genital warts, having a cauliflower-like appearance and usually coming in groupings.
As opposed to filiform warts that can show up around the mouth, oral warts usually end up inside of it. Go here for more information about warts in mouth.
How To Get Rid Of Oral Warts
Fortunately, there’s ways to rid yourself of these warts that grow in your mouth. Because of the sensitive area of your mouth, it’s essential that you see a doctor and don’t try and treat them on your own. Creams and gels won’t be appropriate for oral warts, considering the way things are absorbed in the mouth, but there are different procedures available.
Oral warts don’t grow on your gums as often as they do elsewhere in the mouth, but it can happen. Go here for more information on warts on gums.
- Cryotherapy: This kind of treatment uses extremely cold temperature to destroy the wart’s tissue. The cold will freeze liquid in the wart cells, making them burst apart and die.
- Injections: A doctor may suggest an injection of an immunomodifier, such as one using Alpha interferon. The idea is to stimulate your body’s own immune system to attack and kill the HPV virus itself, getting rid of the wart forever.
Laser Therapy: In this treatment, a focused laser is pointed directly at the wart, heating its cells to boiling, which then destroys them. Just like cryotherapy, it must be performed with care to avoid any of the healthy tissue that surrounds the wart.Warning
If you have oral warts, make sure to look for symptoms of abnormalities. If your warts are growing out of control, very abnormally shaped, bleeding, or ulcerated, it may be a sign of something wrong, like a tumor. Since oral warts can easily lead to oral cancer, see a physician if any of these symptoms appear.
- Surgical excision: There may be a time when your doctor suggests you get the wart cut out. This is a more tricky option, as tissue in the mouth is more delicate and easier to damage than other areas of the body.
How Can I Prevent Them?
Even though you can’t stop HPV once you’ve got genital and oral warts, there’s ways you can prevent yourself from ever getting them in the first place.
- Gardasil is a vaccine made specifically for the strains of HPV that cause genital and oral warts. It is given to boys and girls ages 9-26. It must be received before exposure to HPV to be effective.
- Safe sex is always a good idea. If you have oral warts, make sure to discuss this with any sexual partner, and take appropriate precautionary measures.
How annoying would it be to have warts growing in your throat. Sometimes it can even get in the way of normal swallowing. To learn more about warts in throat, click here.
So if you feel something growing in your mouth, make sure to see a doctor. If it does turn out to be warts, know that there’s ways to get rid of them as soon as they appear. Soon, you’ll be wart-free!