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Warts

Warts

Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in the top layers of skin. The virus that causes warts is called the human papilloma virus, or HPV. There are several different kinds of warts including: Common Warts (verruca vulgaris), Plantar/Palmar Warts (verruca plantaris/palmaris), Flat Warts (verruca-plana), and Genital Warts (condylomata acuminata). Cryotherapy (freezing) and laser treatments are common therapies used to treat the various types of warts

Warts are a common and annoying infection of the skin. They are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). The strain of HPV depends in part on the body area affected and the subtype of wart.

Wart subtypes include:
• Verruca vulgaris (common warts): common between the ages of 5 and 20. Frequent contact of hands with water increases the risk of developing common warts. Butchers are also at higher risk.
• Flat warts: Most common on the face, neck, backs of hands, elbows, knees. Men who shave their beards can spread the wart virus, resulting in many flat warts in a beard distribution.
• Plantar warts: most often occur on pressure points of the feet.
• Genital warts: the most common sexually transmitted disease. This type of HPV infection is linked with cancer of the cervix, penis and anus.
• There are very large, rare, wart-like growths called giant condyloma acuminatum that are not warts at all. They are actually slow-growing but aggressive skin cancers.

Will my warts go away on their own?

Common warts and flat warts have high rates of spontaneous remission. In children, the rates of spontaneous clearance of common warts is approximately 50% at 1 year and 70% at 2 years.

What can I do to prevent the spread of my warts?
If you are a nail-biter and have warts on the fingers, you should try to stop this habit because you are spreading the wart from finger to finger. Warts also should not be picked at because the virus can transfer. For men with warts on the face who need to shave, an electric razor is preferred over a razor blade.

What treatments are available for warts?
Numerous treatments exist for warts because no individual treatment works for everyone. The goals of wart therapy are not only to remove the wart, but also to avoid scarring and prevent recurrences.

An important component of wart treatment is persistence. Any individual treatment should not be abandoned too quickly.