Warts are a common skin ailment that are non-cancerous and caused by viral infections in the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin. Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Warts are generally raised, rough feeling and flesh-colored, however, they may be smooth, dark, or flat.
There are several types of warts including:
- Common Warts (verruca vulgaris) -These are usually found on the hands. These are common in areas where there is broken skin such as around the nail bed where there may have been hangnails or cracked skin. The risk of contracting common warts from contact with an infected person is small. These can also be called “seed warts” because the blood vessels can produce little black dots that look like seeds.
- Flat Warts (verruca plana) –These warts tend to be smaller and smoother than other warts. They also can grow in large clusters of 20-100 at one time. They are most common in the beard area on men and legs on women where it is thought that tiny nicks in the skins surface allow the virus to get in.
- Plantar/Palmar Warts (verruca plantaris/palmaris) – These warts are commonly located on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. These warts can be painful and may feel like there is a rock in your shoe. These warts can grow in groups and are called “mosaic warts” due to the fact they fit together like mosaic tiles. They can be stubborn to treat and may not stick up like other warts due to the pressure of walking on them daily. These warts may also have black dots in them.
- Genital Warts (condylomata acuminata) –These warts are generally transmitted through sexual intercourse, but may also be transmitted by close physical contact and repeated exposure. These warts are skin-colored and can be either rough or smooth. They can be found in groups or as a single wart. These warts appear in the genital area, inside the vagina, on the cervix, or around the anus.
There are several treatments available for the treatment of warts. Some are available over the counter and may relieve symptoms. Warts that are painful, bothersome or rapidly multiplying should be checked by the doctor. Successful wart removal can at times be exceedingly difficult, and may require weeks of patient participation.
Some treatments that the doctors may employ include:
- Salicylic acid solutions
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen
- Surgical excision
- Other topical solutions
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