Warts : Causes, symptoms and treatments

Warts are small tumors caused due to the Human papillomavirus. Although they are most common in the hands and feet, they can also affect other parts of the body. There can be different types of warts including common warts, flat warts, plantar warts, genital warts, filiform warts and periungual warts. Upon correct and timely treatment, warts can go away spontaneously and if not, they can even stay for years.

What causes warts?

Warts are caused due to Human papillomavirus, or the HPV. There are 100 different types of HPV that can thrive in the human body and cause these local growths on the skin surface. They can also produce larger masses, especially upon taking root in the oral or genital areas. In some rare cases, warts can even develop into cancer, especially if they are left untreated for a long amount of time. Warts are not highly contagious. However, constantly picking on them can spread the condition to other parts of the body. Genetic type of the virus and its anatomical location also play a huge role in the spreading of the condition.


Warts do not come with any additional symptoms except for the development of a bump or a rough surface on the skin. Some of them may also have a black dot in the center, which is actually the multiple thrombosed capillaries. They do not cause pain. However, if they develop in areas that are constantly under pressure, such as the sole or palms and fingers, they do cause some amount of discomfort.

Warts can show up in varying sizes and shapes. Upon maturation, they form a dome shaped eruption and if not treated, they can gradually grow into a cluster known as mosaic clusters. The affected person may also get flat warts, long filiform warts and nail warts, which are also known as periungual warts. Periungual warts usually develop around or under the toenail. Sometimes, they can also cause bleeding and hence the name blood warts.


Although warts are not life threatening, they do look bad, especially if they develop in the visible areas such as face and hands. Sometimes they stay for about 18 months and go away on their own accord. However, if you want to accelerate the process, there are a number of clinical treatments and medications to treat the condition. Salicylic acid is one of the most common ingredients used to destroy common skin warts. Duct tape is also equally popularly although many people claim their effectiveness to the simple placebo effect. A newer form of treatment includes carbon dioxide aerosols, which are used to freeze the wart and limit their growth before having them removed. If all else fails, they are burned with the help of electrical needles.


The major problem with warts is that they can keep on recurring despite the treatments and surgical removal. Even the vaccination against HPV is rendered ineffective. Although these can be treated and removed any number of times, they often leave a bad scarring, especially if they get removed through surgical procedures.

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