Common warts are small, rough bumps that can grow anywhere on the skin. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus and are contagious. Warts are usually not painful, but visible warts are unsightly and embarrassing to most people.
There are five types of warts:
- Flat warts develop primarily on the face and forehead
- Genital warts arise in the pubic area and directly on the genitals
- Plantar warts develop on the soles of the feet
- Subungual and periungual warts develop under or around the fingernails and toenails
- Genital warts are highly contagious and can be transmitted during oral, vaginal or anal sex. In women, warts can be undetected on the cervix and transmitted to a sexual partner.
What are the symptoms?
- Are small, bumpy mounds
- Are usually flesh-colored, pink or tan but some may be white
- Feel rough to the touch
- Will bleed if picked
Who gets it?
- Children and young adults are more likely to develop common warts
- People who have weakened immune systems
- People who share towels or other personal objects with someone who has warts
- People who engage in oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has warts in those areas
Many common warts disappear within two years; however, due to their unsightly appearance, many people opt to have them removed through:
- Cryotherapy (freezing) – Uses liquid nitrogen to remove warts. Advantages of this option include minimal pain and minimal time investment.
- Minor surgery – Wart tissue is cut away surgically and the area is cauterized (burned). Since surgery may leave a scar, it is often the last option exercised.