Warts are a common skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is contagious, so it is quite easy to contract this virus. Many people obtain warts through skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has a wart, or simply by touching something that touched a person’s wart before, such as a towel or the floor of a locker room.
Warts are a type of skin growth, and while they are non-cancerous, they are infectious and can cause discomfort or embarrassment. Warts can occur in any region of the body, but the hands, feet, and face are the most commonly affected areas. And while they can be unsightly and bothersome, warts are usually harmless and can be effectively treated by a healthcare professional.
Call us at: (978) 759-4032
Type of Warts
There are several types of warts that one can develop on different parts of the body, each with its own unique characteristics and treatment options, and the type of wart that you contract very much depends on the type of HPV that infects you and where it is located.
The most common sort of wart is the common wart, which often appears on the hands and fingers. They have a flesh-colored or grayish appearance and are tiny, rough, and bumpy. Common warts can be uncomfortable or irritating, and if picked or scratched, they may bleed. Through skin-to-skin contact, they can potentially spread to other regions of the body or other persons.
HPV types 2, 4, and 7 cause common warts. They usually disappear on their own after a few months to two years, but treatment may be required if they cause pain or spread. Over-the-counter wart treatments such as salicylic acid are available, as is cryotherapy, which involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen.
Seed warts, also known as mosaic warts, are warts that commonly appear on the hands and feet. They are named “seed warts” because their clusters of tiny, black dots resemble seeds. And while both common warts and seed warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), there are noticeable differences between the two types of warts.
Common warts have a rough, raised surface and are typically found on the fingers and hands. They can also feature black spots or seeds, which are actually tiny blood vessels, but they are not the same as seed warts which are a form of plantar wart that typically appears on the soles of the feet. The main differences between common warts and seed warts are their location, appearance, and treatment options.
Seed warts are more likely to be spread in moist, warm environments, and they can be more difficult to treat than common warts, often requiring more aggressive treatments such as cryotherapy or laser therapy. It is also important to seek medical attention for seed warts as they can be difficult to treat on your own and can easily spread to other parts of your body or other people. It is thus important to take precautions to prevent the spread.
Plantar warts are warts that form on the soles of the feet. They are often flat with a rough, gritty feel, but they can take the form of tiny, black patches or bigger, cauliflower-like growths over time. Plantar warts can be excruciatingly painful, especially while walking or standing, and they can also create a burning or tingling feeling.
HPV types 1, 2, 4, and 63 cause plantar warts. Because they are located on the feet, which are continually subjected to pressure and friction, they can be difficult to treat. Over-the-counter medications such as salicylic acid or duct tape, as well as cryotherapy, are available as wart treatment alternatives. However, in certain circumstances, surgical wart removal is required.
Flat warts, also known as plane warts, are a type of wart that often occurs on the face, neck, hands, and other body parts. Flat warts are tiny, smooth, and flat-topped, as the name suggests. They can be pink, brown, or yellow, and they can be found in large numbers. Flat warts are usually harmless, however, they can be itchy at times and unsightly.
HPV types 3, 10, and 28 cause flat warts. Flat warts are oftentimes difficult to treat since they are numerous and readily spread. Individual warts can respond well to over-the-counter wart treatments such as salicylic acid or freezing agents, however, large clusters of warts might not respond well to these treatments. To remove flat warts, a medical professional may offer prescription-strength drugs or methods such as cryotherapy or laser therapy.
Genital warts, also known as condyloma acuminatum, are warts that appear in the genital and anal regions. They can affect both men and women, and they can be painful or itchy. Genital warts can bleed or produce discharge sometimes, and they might appear as small, flesh-colored or gray lumps or crowded together in a cauliflower-like appearance.
HPV types 6 and 11 cause genital warts. They are most commonly transferred through sexual intercourse, although they can also be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. Topical wart treatments such as imiquimod or podophyllin, as well as surgical removal, are options. However, it is essential to prevent the spread of genital warts because in some cases, genital warts can cause cancer, such as cervical cancer in women.
When to Look for Medical Help?
Warts can usually be managed at home with topical wart treatments, however, there are some instances where it is important to seek medical help.
Here are some cases where you should consider seeing a healthcare professional for your warts:
- If you have a large or painful wart that is affecting your daily activities.
- If you have a wart that is bleeding or has become infected.
- If you have warts on your face or genital area, these may require special treatment.
- If you have a weakened immune system or a chronic medical condition.
- If you have tried multiple over-the-counter treatments without success.
- If you are unsure whether the growth is a wart or another type of skin condition.
A healthcare professional can examine your warts and provide a diagnosis, and they can also recommend the best treatment options for your specific situation. In some cases, they might recommend monitoring the wart and waiting for it to resolve on its own, especially in children as warts can often disappear on their own without treatment.
However, keep in mind that warts are infectious, therefore it is essential to take steps to avoid transmitting the infection to others. This includes routinely washing your hands, not picking at or scratching your warts, and ensuring that your warts are covered with a bandage or tape to avoid contact with others.