Warts are small benign growths on the skin, caused by a variety of related, slow-acting viruses HPV (human papilloma virus). There are at least sixty known types of HPV. Warts may appear singly or in clusters. We will talk about three types of warts: Common warts, Plantar warts, and genital warts.
Common warts can be found anywhere on the body, but are most common on the hands, fingers elbows, forearms, knees, face, and the skin around the nails. Most often, they occur on skin that is expose to constant friction, trauma, or abrasion. They can also occur on the larynx (the voice box) and cause hoarseness. Common warts may be flat or raised, dry or moist, and have a rough and pitted surface that is either the same color as or slightly darker than the surrounding skin.
They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as small bean. Highly contagious, the virus that causes common warts is acquired through breaks in the skin. Common warts can spread if they picked, trimmed, bitten or touched, Warts on the face can spread as a result of shaving.
Common warts typically do not cause pain or itching.
Plantar warts occur on the sales of the feet and the underside of the toes. They are bumpy white growths that may resemble calluses, except that they can be tender to the touch and often bleed if the surface is trimmed. They also often have an identifiable hard center. Plantar warts do not tend to spread to other parts of the body.
Genital warts soft, moist growths found in and around the vagina, anus, penis, groin, and/or scrotum. In men, they can grow in the urethra as well. They are usually pink or red in color and resemble tiny heads of cauliflower. Genital warts most often occur in clusters, but they can appear singly as well. They are transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse, and are highly contagious. Because the warts do not usually appear until three months or more after an individual becomes infected with the HPV that causes them, the virus can be spread before the carrier is even aware that he or she has it. Although genital warts are not cancerous, they appear to cause changes in the cervix that may be a precursor of cervical cancer. An infant born to a mother with genital warts may contract the virus. If you have genital warts, you are not alone. Between the start of the “sexual revolution” in the sixties and the late eighties, reported occurrences of these warts increased tenfold. By 1990, one million cases a year were being reported in the United States alone.