What’s the deal about warts? Many people freak out when they notice a bump developing on their skin. But the truth is that these bumps––called warts––are a common bodily occurrence. While they can be painless, they can be hard on the eyes. Some disappear on their own after a few months, while others need further treatment. Others are caused by a simple touch, while some warts are sexually transmitted.
If you’re uncomfortable seeing those bumps, here’s what you should know about warts:
What Are Warts?
Warts are growths on the skin that cause a bumpy surface. You could get them through touch. A known cause of warts is the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is not transmitted solely through sexual contact. But it can be contagious, especially for sexually transmitted strains. Touching a surface (usually a skin surface) that has the virus can cause it to transfer to your body.
Warts do not form immediately after exposure to the infection. Many people do not remember coming into contact with this virus. For some, it can take months before the growth in the skin appears.
Not all warts are the same. Others may be ordinary growths, while some may indicate an immunity issue. Anyone can find warts on their skin. But these are more common among children than adults. There is no particular reason kids get warts, but, contrary to popular belief, they’re not caused by touching toads.
Different Kinds of Warts
Warts do not have a uniform form or look, and they do not appear on the same spot. They may look different from one other. They have four kinds:
- Flat warts are often seen on younger kids and teenagers. These warts are flat, smooth, and lighter in color. They usually appear on the face, but they can also show on other parts of the body.
- Plantar wartsappear on the feet. They may look like tiny black dots, which are small blood vessels that have clotted over time.
- Common wartsare rough to the touch. They usually appear on the hands or fingers and can feel like calluses. They can be grainy growths with patterns that look like plantar warts.
- Genital wartsare often found in the pubic area. They are flesh, pink, or red growths that form in clusters. They are not that painful, but they can feel uncomfortable and cause itching.
There are approximately 40 strains of HPV. Some of these may be sexually transmitted. While HPV can cause genital warts, these can also be a warning sign for other diseases. What starts as a genital wart might be a high-risk strain that could lead to cervical cancer in women. Other high-risk disorders include oral or penile cancer. This is usually prevalent among men who have sex with men with HIV.
Safe sexual practices can prevent genital warts that are connected to other disorders. Vaccines are recommended to lower the risk of HPV-related disorders. Local treatments are also available. Genital warts are hard to notice, especially for people who do not groom their private areas often. It is best to always check for growths on the skin to avoid their spread. If you are not sure whether a bump is a wart, do not be afraid to ask your doctor about it.
When to Visit a Specialist
Most warts should not be a cause for panic. They’re likely benign. But if you feel bothered about your bumps, consult your dermatologist for a quick fix. When should you see a specialist for your warts? It is true that most warts disappear in time. But here are warning signs that your warts could be something else:
- Your warts have changed in appearance.
- The growths can interfere with your daily activities.
- The growths are scattered.
Wart Regrowth and Treatment
Wart regrowth is normal. It can also spread when scratched or picked. It is important not to touch others’ warts as they can be contagious. Common treatments for warts include cryotherapy (freezing), topical medicine, laser surgery, and injections. Other wart treatments can cause scarring. This can be much worse than treating the warts.
There are warts that need several treatments before they disappear. So it is best to consult a medical professional first before undergoing any treatment. Some treatments may not be as effective as others.
Meta title: What Causes Warts?
meta desc: Warts are not always harmful, but they can mean other medical issues. Here’s what you need to know about warts.