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What Are Warts? - How to Get Rid of Warts

Updated on April 23, 2019
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As a teen, the author suffered from verrucas and common warts and has trialed many treatments. She now battles with flat warts on her feet.

Picture of Warts
Picture of Warts

What Are Warts?

Warts are caused by the HPV virus and can materialise on any part of your body. As well as growing externally, on your skin, warts can also grow on the inside of your mouth and on the inside of the vagina.

The wart virus is typically transmitted by skin to skin contact although it is also possible to become infected from hand towels or wet surfaces such as showers and swimming pools. This is because the virus can survive for many months without a "host" and hence, is extremely contagious.

The virus normally enters the body through small cuts or abrasions.

Flat Warts

These warts are smooth, relatively smal and flat. They tend to spread easily on areas that are shaved such as a mans' face or a womans' legs. Flat warts can appear in large numbers, and the repeated shaving of the area can cause the virus to spread even further.

Common Warts

Common warts can typically be found on the hands or fingers and are caused by localised thickening of the skin. The warts are usually raised and rough textured, sometimes appearing "cauliflower" like. The "cauliflower" is actually condyloma tissue.

People with cracked skin are particularly at risk from the wart virus on their hand and fingers, as are those who chew their finger nails and surrounding skin area.

Genital Warts

As the name suggests, this type of wart only appears in the genital area, although can take various forms, varying in shape, size and colour. It is also important to note that the wart virus may not necessarily present any obvious symptoms so that the individual may not be aware that they have been infected.

For females, contracting the HPV "wart" virus is of particular concern as it can increase the likelihood of contracting cervical cancer, which is the world's second most common cancer among women. Therefore, it is vital that women attend for regular cervical screening checks, as recommended by their medical practitioner.

Plantar Warts on Foot
Plantar Warts on Foot

Plantar Warts or Verruca

The plantar wart, also known as a verruca, appears on the soles of the feet or or on the toes. It is not always easy to distinguish between a plantar wart and corns or calluses. They are thickened. They can be confused with corns or calluses. They may have tiny specks which look black but they are actually blood vessels, which is what causes you discomfort. They can be quite contagious involving large surfaces. They tend to grow into the skin rather than being raised as most other warts.


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