Source of Warts

Where do warts come from?

Warts are one of the more common skin diseases. Nevertheless, they are an embarrassment for those who have contracted them.  The source of warts is almost always direct contact with the HPV Virus.

Warts are generally small, light, and almost skin-tone colored growths that resemble tiny cauliflower stems. They may also be flat and smooth, depending on where they appear. Again, they are caused by a kind of viral infection called human papillomavirus (HPV as noted above). There are many different types of warts, and the most common ones are listed below.

Types of Warts

1. Common Warts (Verruca vulgaris): These are usually small rough bumps that look like little cauliflowers, and they appear on the fingers, hands, knees, and elbows. They mostly emerge from broken skin.

2. Flat Warts (Verruca plana). Light brown or skin-colored warts with a smooth surface that can multiply in large numbers. They are usually found on the face, neck, hands, knees, and legs.

3. Plantar Warts (Verruca, Verruca pedis). These are non-cancerous lumps that are sometimes mistaken as calluses, and they are mostly found at the soles of the feet. They can be painful and uncomfortable at times.

4. Genital Warts (Venereal wart, Condyloma acuminatum, Verruca acuminata). These are highly contagious warts that occur in the genitalia. They can appear as small and flat bumps or tiny cauliflower bumps. They vary in size, and sometimes, they are only barely visible. Those who have genital warts have a greater risk of contracting cancer.

Warts are a highly contagious skin disease that affects people of all ages, but they are most common among children. Broken skin, tiny cuts and scratches, and hangnails make a person more susceptible to the disease since viruses can easily penetrate the skin. Though touching or coming into direct contact with someone else’s warts does not always lead to contraction of the disease, contact with objects like towels and clothing that are used by an infected person can result in transmission of wart viruses. Picking at warts can also make the disease spread to other parts of the body. Warts can grow and develop very slowly, and they may take weeks or longer to emerge.

Generally, most warts do not cause major health problems. They may stay for six months to 2 years, but most of them will disappear on their own. However, because warts are considered unsightly, many people will want to get rid of them as soon as possible. There are many ways to treat warts, and these include using chemical agents like salicylic acid and blistering agents, laser treatment, freezing, and surgical removal. Those who have contracted genital warts should get treatment from a doctor because some HPV can cause abnormal cells to grow on the cervix, which may lead to cervical cancer.

Awareness and prevention are always better than a cure. You can prevent warts by making sure that things like towels, handkerchiefs, and intimate clothing be kept for personal use only, and they should be washed thoroughly after use. Also, cuts and scratches should be given immediate treatment, and protective footwear should be worn when you are in public places. If you have children, you should stop them from biting their nails. One of the main factors that make a person susceptible to warts is a weak immune system. Therefore, it is essential to have a healthy lifestyle.

Additional Wart Types

Additional types of warts can be found in our full page which lays out the 8 major wart types.

David Christian

David Christian studied Philosophy at Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis, MO and served in the US Army. He is the Head Writer, Subject Matter Expert and Dr. Coordinator at Find out more about David here.

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