Water warts are caused by a virus called molluscum contagiosum. It’s a common viral infection that affects the skin and causes fluid-filled blisters.
In general, water warts go away on their own.
How do you get water warts?
You can get water warts by direct skin-to-skin contact. Also, you can get it by sharing towels, baths, or clothing with an infected person.
How can you protect yourself against water warts?
1. Always use condoms.
Condoms only protect you from getting water warts if your partner has them on their genitals. They can’t protect you from getting them from regions not covered by a condom.
2. Cover areas affected by water warts.
If your partner is infected with water warts, cover affected skin with clothing or sterile dressing. This prevents you from getting them when you get into close contact with your partner.
3. Avoid touching blisters or bumps on your body.
Don’t touch, scratch or pick any blisters or bumps on your body. Get it checked out by your doctor, otherwise, you could unwittingly be spreading the virus to other areas of your body.
What are the signs of water warts?
Women and men begin to show signs of water warts within two to eight weeks after being infected with the virus.
The symptoms of water warts are the same in women and men. In general, you can get them on your genitals, anus, thighs, and torso area.
Symptoms of water warts:
- Fluid-filled blisters/warts
- Blisters/warts often appear in groups
How do you get tested for water warts?
Your doctor can tell whether you’ve got water warts by examining you. Sometimes this means also taking a tissue sample (biopsy) to make sure you’ve got water warts and not something else.
How do you get rid of water warts?
Once you’ve got these fluid-filled warts, you can spread the virus to other parts of your body and to other people.
Usually, your body is able to get rid of the skin infection on its own within six to 18 months. So before thinking about medically removing the warts, your doctor will recommend waiting to see if they go away on their own. In general, once the water warts are gone, so is your infection. However, if you come into contact with a person who has water warts, you can be re-infected with them again.
Water wart treatment options
To prevent water warts from spreading to other parts of your body and other people, you’ll be asked to keep your blisters covered with a watertight bandage or cloth.
You can also get your water warts removed by your doctor by:
- Freezing them off (Cryotherapy)
- Lasering them off
- Draining the fluid inside of the water warts by cutting or scrapping (Curettage)
Usually, your doctor will recommend waiting before removing warts, because the procedures can cause scarring.