Warts are growth caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Warts are contagious and are caught by either skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a wart or by touching an item that has touched a person’s wart. You can get warts from pool decks, locker rooms, infected towels, or even shopping carts.
Types of Warts
COMMON WARTS: These often form on the hands. A common wart often looks like a rough bump and may have black dot in the center. These are blood vessels coming to the surface.
PLANTAR WARTS: When common warts form on the soles of the feet they are called plantar warts. These warts can grow quickly and spread. These are often flatter than common warts and may go quite deep into the thickened skin of the sole. They may be painful to walk on and develop thick calluses.
FLAT WARTS: These can be found anywhere on the skin but are common on the face and on areas that are shaved such as the beard area in men and on the legs of women. They are smaller and smoother than common warts and are usually numerous.
GENITAL WARTS: These warts appear in or around the genital area. People get genital warts through sexual contact. Genital warts are skin-colored to darker brown and may feel rough or smooth. There are often clusters of these warts. Certain strains of genital warts can cause cancer in men and women so it is important to treat these warts. Women who have, or have been exposed to genital warts should see their gynecologist to get screened for cervical cancer. The screening test allows doctors to find early signs of disease which can be treated before the cancer has time to develop. The HPV vaccine can prevent males and females from getting some of the most common types of HPV that can cause genital warts and cancer. It should ideally be given before a person becomes sexually active.
General Wart Treatment
Treating warts reduces the risk of spreading the virus to other parts of your body and to others.
CRYOTHERAPY: Freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen causes the wart to blister and fall off. The warts often need multiple treatment.
CANTHARIDIN: This is a chemical that causes a blister to form under the wart. This will cause a blister. The blister will be trimmed and more treatment applied in 2 weeks. The warts often need multiple treatments.
SURGICAL REMOVAL: In certain non-pressure bearing areas, the warts may be surgically removed.
Preventing New Warts
Do not pick or scratch at warts. This can spread the virus to other parts of the body. Wear footwear in locker rooms, pool areas and showers. Do not touch someone’s wart. If someone at home has a wart, clean the shower or tub with disinfectant and do not share towels. Do not shave over a wart if possible as this can cause them to spread.