A wart is a growth caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus infects the top layer of the skin, usually by entering through a break in the skin. As there are many types of HPV, there are many types of warts. Depending on the type and location of a wart, it may or may not be a cause for concern.
What are the Different Types?
Common warts, also known as verruca vulgaris, are rough and bumpy. They usually grow on the hands. They can have black dots that look like seeds; these dots are blood vessels that are “feeding” the wart.
Plantar or foot warts usually grow on the soles of the feet. Since walking puts pressure on them, plantar warts are either flat or grow inward. They often appear in clusters.
Filiform warts look like long, protruding threads or fingers. They often grow quickly on the face and are especially common around the eyes, nose and mouth.
Flat warts are smaller and smoother than other warts and can grow anywhere. Women most commonly develop these growths on their legs, while men develop them in the beard area. Children tend to develop these growths on the face. They tend to appear in large clusters of between 20 and 100 growths.
Genital warts develop on the genitals. They can affect both men and women, and they are frequently the result of unprotected sex. The formation of these growths in the vaginal area can cause itching, bleeding, and vaginal discharge.
Are these Growths Dangerous?
While contagious, most warts are benign and painless. Some of these growths, however, do develop in places where they will be rubbed or otherwise irritated. Plantar warts, for example, often become painful because people walk on them. Some patients have compared the discomfort caused by plantar warts to that of having a pebble in their shoe.
If a wart is injured or damaged, it can become infected. An infected wart can leak pus or become red. A patient with an infected wart might develop a fever. Worse, the infection can spread and cause such diseases as paraproctitis (inflammation of the rectum) or balanoposthitis (inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis). The biggest danger of these skin growths is their potential to become cancerous. This is especially true of genital warts; because of this, many doctors advise having them removed as soon as they are found.
How are they Treated?
Many people that develop these growths don’t get them treated unless they begin to spread or cause pain. There are many ways to remove a wart, including surgery or cryotherapy (freezing). Some medications can also be used to remove these growths; the doctor will either give the patient an injection or apply the medication directly onto the wart. Treatment, unfortunately, does not always work. If a small amount of the virus remains after treatment, the wart can grow back.
Dr. Yeoman’s Dermatology Office can both diagnose and treat warts. If you’re interested in having a wart examined and you live near Poplar Bluff, Missouri, or Paragould, Arizona, contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.