Warts are skin-colored growths, scaly and rough to the touch, but they can be also dark, flat, and smooth. They are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
There are several kinds of warts including ; Common warts,Foot (Plantar) warts, Flat warts and Genital warts.
They are most common on the hands, feet and face but they can grow almost anywhere in the body. They are infectious and some people are more susceptible to this infection than others.
(Photo : Plantar warts)
Usually grow on the fingers, around the nails, and on the backs of the hands. These are often called “seed” warts because the blood vessels to the wart produce black dots that look like seeds.
Are usually on the soles of the feet and are called plantar warts. Most plantar warts do not stick out above the surface like common warts because the pressure of walking flattens them and pushes them back into the skin. Plantar warts can be painful, feeling like a stone in the shoe.
Are smaller and smoother than other warts. They tend to grow in large numbers, 20 to 100 at any one time. They can occur anywhere, but in children, they are most common on the face. In adults, they are often found in the beard area in men and on the legs in women. Virus seeding from shaving probably accounts for this.
Usually sexually transmitted and they can be rough or smooth surfaced and are typically flesh colored. Genital warts may be large or small and can be found as a single growth or in a group. They can appear on the external genital skin, inside the vagina, or in the anus. Only a small percentage of people infected with HPV will develop genital warts. Many people are “carriers” of HPV and may never develop warts; but may still be able to pass HPV to their sexual partners. Although the incubation period from contracting HPV until the development of warts is usually several months, some people may not develop warts until 1-2 years later.
Warts are passed from person to person, sometimes indirectly. Patients with plantar warts are likely to have contracted the virus from walking bare-footed in swimming pools, common shower areas.
Some people are just more likely to catch the HPV than others are. Patients with a weakened immune system are also more prone to HPV infection. Warts also occur more easily if the skin has been damaged in some way e.g. the high incidence of warts in children who bite their fingernails.
In children, warts can disappear without treatment over a period of several months to years. However, warts that are bothersome, painful, or rapidly multiplying should be treated.
Warts in adults often do not disappear as easily or as quickly as they do in children. Hence, it is advisable for adults with warts to go for treatment.
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