Why Do I Have Warts?

Warts are skin growths caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Anyone can get warts, but they are most common in young adults and children. In fact, warts affect an estimated 20 percent of all school-aged children.

There are many strains of HPV that cause warts. The specific strain you contract will determine which type of wart develops.

Common warts are typically found on or near the fingers and the back of the hand. These warts are rough to the touch may contain black dots or “seeds” which are actually small blood vessels within the wart.

Flat warts appear small and smooth bumps. They can grow anywhere, but often develop on the face in children and men, and the legs of women. It’s not unusual for individuals to have large numbers of flat warts, even up to 100.

Filiform warts are fast-growing warts with small finger-like projections. They’re often found on the face near the eyes and mouth.

Warts on the soles of the feet are called plantar warts. These thick warts are depressed in the center and may have a black dot. They sometimes grow into clusters and may cause pain with walking.

Sexually transmitted genital warts look like pebbly bumps and appear on and around the genitals. These warts are highly contagious.

All warts are easily passed from person to person through direct contact or touching contaminated objects. Picking or scratching warts can cause them to spread to other areas of the body.

The majority of warts disappear on their own in one to two years, although they often recur. If a wart is bothersome, or you have several, your dermatologist can treat them using topical or injectable medications, cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), chemical applications or excision.

Talk to your dermatologist about the treatment option that’s best for you.

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