What Are Warts?

Thursday, 09 Jun 2011 05:09 PM

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Often considered unsightly and embarrassing, warts are small tumor-like growths usually, but not always, found on the hands and feet. Warts generally resemble solid blisters and are caused by a type of viral infection called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Individuals of all age groups are vulnerable to warts, and the growths can be passed from person to person as warts shed HPV. The location of a wart dictates its size and shape, and different types of warts are found on different body parts.

Vaginal warts and genital warts affect the genital region. These warts appear when the Human Papilloma Virus is spread through oral, vaginal, or anal sex. These growths are typically flesh-colored or gray and may cluster together to form a cauliflower shape. Individuals may carry HPV yet not experience genital warts, and genital warts may appear weeks or months after the virus is transmitted.

Common warts are rough horn-like projections that typically occur on the hands and the knees. They may feel fleshy, grainy, or rough to the touch and are most often white, pink, or flesh-colored.

Plantar warts occur on the underside of the foot when the Human Papilloma Virus enters the body through breaks or cracks in the skin. Plantar warts are hard to the touch and at times develop into painful lumps with multiple dark-colored specks in the center. A plantar wart located on a pressure point on the foot may be forced to grow inward beneath a hard layer of skin.

Generally, warts do not cause serious pain, but in some cases individuals may experience enough pain to have the growth medically removed. At-home wart removal kits are also available at many drugstores. It is important to note that some skin cancers may appear similarly to warts, and a doctor should be seen to distinguish the two.

For more information on warts, see below:

Genital Warts: Top 5 Symptoms

Genital Warts: The Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Genital Warts: How Diet Plays a Role


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