Warts are benign epithelial tumors caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV). They affect the skin and mucosal areas of the body. Oral warts may affect any part of the oral cavity and they also develop on the lips. The condition is not painful unless it is exposed to permanent irritation. Tongue warts form on the tongue. They are usually small and discrete, rough and lumpy. Tongue warts may be white or the same color as the oral mucosa.
What Causes Tongue Warts?
As it has already been mentioned tongue warts (and other oral warts) develop due to infection caused by Human papillomavirus. This particular virus is also a cause of genital warts. The infection belongs to sexually transmitted diseases and the virus is easily contracted during unprotected oral sex with an infected person. The chance of viral transmission increases if the infected person shows active symptoms and sings of the infection. The risk of infection also increases if there are cuts or open wounds in the mouth of a healthy individual.
Clinical Characteristics of Tongue Warts
Tongue warts develop alone or in clusters. They may affect the dorsal side of the tongue, its sides or the lower surface of the organ. Apart from tongue other parts of the oral cavity can be affected as well. In some cases patients complain about sore mouth as the warts develop. The uncomfortable feeling occurs due to irritation of the warts with food or accidental biting. And finally, the very presence of tongue warts may interfere with eating.
Treatment for Tongue Warts
Tongue warts can withdraw on their own without treatment. Spontaneous withdrawal, however, does not occur in many cases. These warts are considered much more dangerous comparing to other warts because they are precancerous lesion that may eventually transform into a cancer. This is why all warts (as well as other growths inside the oral cavity) must be reported to a doctor.
Tongue warts can be destroyed and completely removed in different ways. Some doctors prescribe antiviral medications while others recommend topical antiviral creams. These benign growths can also be surgically removed but surgery carries a risk of scarring. Majority of patients are treated symptomatically. Pain, discomfort and burning sensation caused by tongue warts can be alleviated with topical anesthetics and analgesics.
In order to prevent the infection people should use a condom during every sexual intercourse and oral sex especially if their partner shows symptoms and signs of active infection. Even though condom is not 100% safe it is still recommended as the safest means when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases.