Warts are a common skin growth that often appear on the hands or fingers. Different from skin tags and skin cancer, the small, grainy growths often resemble cauliflower and may feature a pattern of black seeds in the center. Anyone can get warts, but they most frequently occur in children, teenagers and those with a compromised immune system.
What Causes Warts?
Warts are caused by a virus known as human papillomavirus or HPV. HPV is transmitted by touch which means warts can spread from person to person relatively easily. The virus can also be passed through shared towels or shoes. It can also spread to other parts of the body.
Types of Warts
There are several different types of warts, which may form on different areas of the body. Types of warts include:
- Common warts – warts frequently appear on the hands and are grey and rough to the touch
- Plantar warts – appear on the soles of the feet and may be quite painful
- Flat warts – grow on the hands, arms or legs and are typically small and flat
- Filiform warts – grow around the mouth or nose and are usually flesh colored with threads extending from them
- Periungual warts – growths that appear under or around toenails and fingernails
What are Wart Treatment Options?
In some cases, warts go away on their own, although warts that appear on the face or genitals should always be addressed by a medical professional. Patients who have persistent or recurring warts, or experience uncomfortable symptoms with their warts, may want to seek treatment to eliminate the growth faster. Common treatment options for warts include:
- Topical agents
- Laser procedures
Topical agents may be applied at the physician’s office or the patient’s home. Cryotherapy is a freezing method, while electrosurgery burns the wart. Curettage may then be used to scrape the wart off the skin completely. Excision is a minor surgical procedure that actually cuts the wart out of the skin, using as small of an incision as possible. Laser procedures may be utilized for wart treatment. Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to eliminate the wart, and may be recommended when warts do not respond to other treatments.