Warts are skin growths. They may not have any affect on the individual that has them, but they are unsightly and usually very embarrassing. Genital warts are even a type of sexually transmitted disease.
Causes of Warts
Warts are caused by various strains of HPV, or the human papillomavirus. There can be additional risk factors if things are shared with those that have warts, especially wet items like towels. There are a few preventives, like keeping your shoes on around water and keeping your hands and body clean with warm water and soap.
Types of Warts
Warts are categorized by their characteristics and where they are generally found. There are six types.
- Flat warts – These are smooth and flat. These are usually very abundant and are several in one location, generally the face and hands.
- Common warts – These are raised and rough. These are also found on the hands and the knee area.
- Filiform warts – These are long and thread-like. These are found on the lips and the eyelids on the face.
- Plantar warts – These are hard and may have black spots on the center of the wart. They can be painful as they are generally found on pressure points in the feet area. This is where warts appear on the balls of the feet and other high pressure areas.
- Genital warts – These are sexually transmitted warts on the genitals of men and women.
- Mosaic warts – These are plantar like warts that are clustered together. These are found generally on the hands and feet.
There are a few ways that are the most common methods to remove warts. Depending on location and size of the wart, the doctor may find one or more of these the best removal treatment.
- Cantharidin – This is a chemical that can be put on the wart. It can get painful and may even blister, but it will also remove the wart.
- Cryotherapy – Another highly used method involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen products (for example: Freeze Away)
- Salicylic acid – This acid that is also used for acne can remove the dead skin of a wart and make it eventually come off completely. Do not use this if it is a plantar wart.
Doctors may also cut off the wart or burn the wart off, however these are more serious methods of treatment and they can leave a scar in the process.
Warts are common and embarrassing problems that can happen to anyone. Over the counter products can help remove any wart if the person is sure that it is indeed a wart and not something more serious. After there is confirmation that the skin rough spot is a wart, treatment can begin.
This article appeared July 23, 2009 on Suite 101.