You were surprised to see tiny, rough growths sprouting on your hands in between the fingers on the palms and around the fingernails. You allowed it time to go on its own, but it didn’t. You wondered what they were.
These unusual skin growths are called warts. This article explains the causes, types and treatments for warts.
Causes of Warts
Warts are caused by a virus belonging to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are more than 100 known varieties of the HPV virus. Once inside the body, the virus affects the top layer of skin causing it to grow rapidly. This results in the formation of thickened, grainy growths on the surface of the skin known as warts.
The wart causing virus is transmitted between persons. Thus, warts are contagious. The virus enters the body via skin injuries such as a graze, a cut, a scratch, a hangnail or any area of broken skin. One can also contract the virus through touch; by sharing towels or objects used by an affected person. Biting the nails may also aggravate the infection in the affected person.
In olden times, toads were believed to be the culprits of warts in humans. It was said that anyone who touched a toad would develop warts on their skin. This is a myth; an old wives tale. The presence of the HPV virus is the primary and only cause of warts.
Warts are prevalent in children and adults alike. The prevalence is higher in children and young adults as their immune system is not fully developed. They occur in different parts of the body. However, the most common places are the hands, face and feet. Their appearance differs based on where they occur. These skin growths are non-cancerous.
Classification of Warts
Different HPV viruses are said to cause different types of warts. Following is the classification of warts.
- Common Warts: Common warts can develop on any part of the body, but the most common place is the hands. Common warts are raised, dome-shaped structures with a rough texture. In many cases they look like small cauliflower heads marked with tiny black dots. These warts are grayish brown in color.
- Plantar Warts: Plantar warts rise mainly on the soles of the feets. They develop as thick patches of skin and have dark specs. Plantar warts cause pain and great difficulty when walking. It feels like one is walking on hard pebbles. The cause of plantar warts is cut on the foot or walking barefoot in public bathrooms and locker rooms.
- Flat Warts: Flat warts form commonly on the hands and face. They grow in clusters and have flat tops. Color-wise they are light brown, pink or yellow. Compared to other types of warts, flat warts are smaller in size and smoother in texture. They do not grow larger than an eraser fitted to the back of a pencil.
- Filiform Warts: This variety of warts rises around the mouth, the eyelids, nose and in the beard region. They are skin color and resemble miniature fingers in their structure.
- Periungual warts: Periungual warts develop around and under the fingernails and toenails. They are elevated and have an irregular border and uneven surface. Periungual warts are very painful when they become invasive. They hamper nail growth giving them an untidy deformed look.
- Genital Warts: As the name suggests, these warts grow on the genitals. They are transmitted when one has sexual intercourse with a person suffering genital warts. When they affect the anal passage they are called anal warts. Genital warts need medical attention because if left untreated it could possibly cause cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men.
How to treat Warts?
This skin condition resolves on its own within a few months or after a few years. Also, warts are relatively harmless. However, their unattractiveness becomes a major concern. The problem with warts is it cannot be treated completely as the virus continues to reside in the body. Hence, there is a possibility of recurrence. Nevertheless, there are home remedies and precautionary measures that can reduce their appearance, keep them at bay or prevent them from spreading.
- The first step is proper diagnosis. The doctor can tell a wart by looking at it. Sometimes he may recommend a skin biopsy to rule out the possibility of malignancy. Once you are sure you can start applying methods to cure warts.
- Salicylic acid is one of the most common home remedies. Apply salicylic acid to the wart. It will fall off after a few days.
- Cover the wart with a piece of duct tape. Keep it covered for a week. The wart will eventually disappear.
- Medical treatments to get rid of warts are cryotherapy (freezing the wart), Electrosurgery, laser therapy and curettage.
- To prevent contracting the virus, avoid sharing towels, clothes, utensils and razors with an affected person.
- Boost your immunity by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy food.
- Homeopathic treatment warts with Wartrol, one of the most popular warts treatment, available without prescription and can be purchased online here.
Now that we have a really good idea about what warts are, next up with the following posts will see the various methods that will help us fight these things.