Warts are benign tumors of the skin, caused by viruses in the human papaloma virus family. They may take weeks or months to grow before they can become visible, and are contagious. In many cases, warts can be treated through home remedies and over the counter medications. However, in some cases warts must be treated by a professional.
There are four main types of warts: common warts, flat warts (also known as juvenile warts), plantar warts (warts on the feet), and genital warts. The first three types of warts are treated similarly. Genital warts typically require professional medical treatment, and can cause serious health problems if not treated quickly.
Most types of warts are not typically threatening to the overall health of the patient. When warts are bothersome or embarrassing they can be treated at home through over the counter medications. However, recurrences may happen later. If the warts continue to be bothersome, professional medical treatments may be sought.
Common warts appear as thickened bumps, sometimes called papules. They can appear somewhat like a mole, but are rougher on the surface. Small black dots also may appear due to clotted blood vessels.
Common warts often appear on the hands, knees, and elbows. Like all warts they are contagious, and can be spread to others with low immunity to the human papaloma virus family. Warts can also be spread to other areas of the body through touching or shaving.
Flat Warts (Juvenile Warts)
Flat warts are similar to common warts in that they appear on the hands, knees, arms, and face. They are also contagious, and can be spread to other areas of the body or other people. Flat warts are also called juvenile warts because they are most commonly found in children and young adults.
Flat warts appear as small bumps, about the size of a pin head, with a smooth flat top. They can be the color of the skin or may appear yellow or brown. They are not very large, but can form in clusters of as many as one hundred warts in one small area of the body.
Plantar warts occur on the bottoms of the feet. They are especially common in people with diabetes. Plantar warts can be very painful if left untreated, especially if they appear in a weight bearing area of the foot.
Plantar warts can sometimes be mistaken as corns or rough spots on the feet. They are typically rough and spongy in texture. Plantar warts are usually yellow, gray, or brown, causing the confusion with corns or other rough spots on the feet.
Genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted disease. They appear as the color of the skin in most cases. They can be found anywhere in the genital area. In women they can actually spread to the walls of the vagina and the cervix itself.
Unlike other types of warts, genital warts can cause serious health conditions if left untreated. Treatment for genital warts must come from a professional. This type of warts cannot be treated at home.
The human papaloma virus has been found to actually cause cancer of the cervix. This is due to the rapid cell growth induced by the virus. There are over sixty strands of the virus, but only about four of them have been found to cause cervical cancer. However, the threat is very real, and should be addressed with professional medical attention as soon as they are noticed.