What are warts?
Common warts are small, grainy skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands. Rough to the touch, common wart also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots which are small, clotted blood vessels. Common warts are caused by a virus and are transmitted by touching. It can take a wart as long as two to six months to develop after your skin has been exposed to the virus. Common warts are usually harmless and eventually disappear on their own. However many people choose to remove them because they find them bothersome or embarrassing.
What causes Warts?
Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is quite common and has more than 150 types, but only a few cause wart on your hands. Some strains of HPV are acquired through sexual contact. Most forms, however, are spread by casual skin contact or through shared objects, such as towels or washcloths. The virus usually spreads through breaks in your skin, such as a hangnail or a scrape. Biting your nails also can cause wart to spread on your fingertips and around your nails.
Each person’s immune system responds to the HPV virus differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops wart.
HPV causes the excessive and rapid growth of keratin, which is a hard protein on the top layer of the skin. This results in wart forming.
Different HPV strains cause different wart. These strains can transmit through close skin-to-skin contact and contact with items recently exposed to HPV.
The virus can spread to other parts of the body through:
- scratching or biting a wart
- sucking fingers
- biting fingernails, if there are warts around the nails
- shaving the face or legs
- Having wet or damaged skin, such as a cut or scrape, increases the risk of infection.
What are the types of warts?
The following are common types of warts.
- Common warts (verruca vulgaris) : Common warts have a firm, raised, rough surface and may appear cauliflower-like. They can occur anywhere, but they are most common on the fingers, near the nails, and on any area with broken skin. Clotted blood vessels are often visible in common warts as small, darkened spots.
- Plantar warts : Plantar warts, or verrucas, appear on the soles of the feet, heels, and toes. They usuallyTrusted Source grow into the skin because the person’s weight pushes onto the sole of the foot. They typically have a small central black dot surrounded by hard, white tissue. Plantar warts are often difficult to clear.
- Plane warts (verruca plana) : Plane warts are round, flat, and smooth. They can be yellowish, brownish, or the color of the person’s skin. Also known as flat warts, they grow most often in sun-exposed areas. They tend to grow in larger numbers, sometimes between 20–100 at once.
- Flat warts (verruca plana) : Flat warts these look like smooth, flattened lumps. Any body part can be affected, but the face, lower legs and hands are the most common sites.
- Filiform warts (verruca filiformis) : Filiform warts are long and thin in shape. They can grow rapidly on the face, neck, and eyelids.
- Mosaic warts : Mosaic warts are multiple plantar wart in a single cluster. They typically occurTrusted Source under the toes and on the balls of the feet, but can spread across the foot.
- Genital warts : Genital warts – these look like grey or off-white lumps with a grainy ‘cauliflower’ appearance. Since genital warts are sexually transmitted, the penis, vulva and anus are most commonly affected. Some common types of genital wart predispose women to cancer of the cervix.
Anyone can develop wart but factors that increase the risk include:
- Children and young adults, because their bodies may not have built up immunity to the virus
- People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or people who’ve had organ transplants
- Injuries to the skin.
- Skin infections that break the skin surface.
- Frequently getting the hands wet.
- Hands or feet that sweat heavily (hyperhidrosis).
- Swimming in public swimming pools.
- Nail biting.
- Direct contact with other people’s warts.
- Scratching or shaving your own warts, which can spread the infection to other areas of your body.
The characteristics of a wart depend on the type, but can include:
- Small, fleshy, grainy bumps,A small, raised bump may appear on the skin.
- Flesh-colored, white, pink or tan
- Rough to the touch
- Sprinkled with black pinpoints, which are small, clotted blood vessels
- The average size can range from one to 10 millimetres.
- The wart may have a rough or smooth surface.
- Wart can occur singly or in clusters.
- In some cases, the wart may itch.
- Face, feet, knees and hands are most commonly affected.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor for common warts if:
- The growths are painful or change in appearance or color
- You’ve tried treating the wart but they persist, spread or recur
- The growths are bothersome and interfere with activities
- You aren’t sure whether the growths are warts
- You are an adult and numerous wart begin to appear, which may indicate the immune system is malfunctioning
- You have wart on your face or another sensitive part of your body (e.g., genitals, mouth, nostrils).
- You notice bleeding or signs of infection, such as pus or scabbing, around a wart.
- The wart is painful.
- The color of the wart changes.
- You have wart and diabetes or an immune deficiency, such as HIV or AIDS.
How is Warts diagnosed?
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a common wart with one or more of these techniques:
- Examining the wart
- Scraping off the top layer of the wart to check for signs of dark, pinpoint dots — clotted blood vessels — which are common with wart
- Removing a small section of the wart (shave biopsy) and sending it to a laboratory for analysis to rule out other types of skin growths
How is treated?
Most common wart go away without treatment, though it may take a year or two and new ones may develop nearby. Some people choose to have their wart treated by a doctor because home treatment isn’t working and the warts are bothersome, spreading or a cosmetic concern.
If wart do not respond to standard treatments, a dermatologist, or skin specialist, may offer other options.
- Bleomycin or Blenoxane, an anticancer drug, can be injected into the wart.
- Chemical peels can help remove flat wart.
- Antibiotics are only effective in the case of infection.
- Common wart, especially around the fingernails and toenails, may be difficult to eliminate completely or permanently.
- Gardasil vaccination is now provided to teenage girls to protect them against HPV strains associated with genital wart and cervical cancer. In general, treatment of existing wart is not recommended.
How to prevent Warts
There’s really no way to prevent wart. However, you can lower your risk of picking up the virus or stop wart from spreading by taking these steps:
- Avoid direct contact with wart. This includes your own wart.
- Do not scratch wart or verrucae.
- Don’t pick at wart. Picking may spread the virus.
- Wash hands thoroughly after touching a wart.
- Don’t use the same emery board, pumice stone or nail clipper on your wart as you use on your healthy skin and nails. Use a disposable emery board.
- Don’t bite your fingernails. Warts are more common on damaged skin. Nibbling the skin around your fingernails opens the door for the virus.
- Avoid shaving over a wart.
- Don’t share towels, washcloths, clothing, nail clippers, razors or other personal items.
- Get the HPV vaccine and use condoms to prevent genital wart.
- Keep your feet dry to prevent the spread of plantar wart.
- Try not to scratch, cut or pick at a wart.
- Wear flip-flops or shoes when using a public locker room, pool area or showers.
Ways that HIV is not transmitted
Common wart https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-wart/symptoms-causes/syc-20371125
How to treat a wart https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/155039
Everything You Need to Know About Wart https://www.healthline.com/health/skin/wart
Wart and verrucas https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/skin-hair-and-nails/warts-and-verrucas