Information on Warts

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 19, 2011

Hair on faceWarts are non-cancerous, harmless skin growths caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters the body from an area with broken skin and causes the top layer of skin to grow externally into a small lump. Warts, in most of the cases vanish on their own within a period of months or years. They may surface out anywhere in the body but are commonly found on the hands, feet and face. Warts although are harmless but might be bothersome and a source of embarrassment depending on the location.


  • Warts can be of various sizes, shapes and colours. It can be a bump with a grainy surface or might be flat and smooth. It might be skin-coloured, brown, pink or white in colour.
  • Warts generally do not cause pain but if it is located in an area where frequent pressure or movement is seen such as in the tips of fingers or sole of the foot, it can be painful.
  • Warts might cause itching and bleeding if picked upon or cut.
  • Blood and nutrients are supplied into the wart by blood vessels which look like dark dots.


Other types of warts are

  • Common warts: Raised warts with a roughened texture commonly found on hands but may occur anywhere on the body.
  • Flat warts: These are smaller and smoother than other warts. Have flat tops and usually occur on the face, arms and legs.
  • Filiform warts: A wart with growths that look like threads. Mostly found on the face.
  • Filiform warts: Usually found on the soles of the feet and when they appear in clusters are known as mosaic warts. They are hard and thick patches with tiny black dots in them which actually are blood vessels. Theses warts can be painful during movements such as while walking or running.
  • Periungual warts: They develop under and around fingernails and toenails. They seem to have a roughened surface and can affect nail growth.
  • Genital warts: They are the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Warts occur in the genital areas such as vagina, penis, anus and scrotum. They may appear raised or flat, single or in clusters and are spread from skin contact during sexual intercourse.



Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is highly contagious and are spread by direct contact. You might infect yourself again by merely touching your wart and then another part of your body. It can be passed from one infected person to another by sharing towels or any other personal belongings. Every individual reacts to HPV differently based on the strength of his/her immune system. Some people are prone to warts while others are immune to the virus. Genital warts are very contagious.


Risk factors 

  • A weak immune system due to any reason may make you prone to warts. Any medication which subdues your immune system for example, medicines given after a transplant for the body to help in accepting the donor organ.
  • Any direct person-to-person contact or indirect contact through public toilets or door knobs may put you at risk.
  • It can spread from one part of the body to other through breaks in the skin’s surface. Genital warts spread due to sexual contact.



Every individual’s immune system reacts to warts in a different fashion. Generally, warts disappear over a period of time. Such people might acquire immunity against the HPV. While some people suffer from rapidly multiplying and painful warts and treatment in such cases, becomes necessary. Some people due to cosmetic reasons look for removal of warts.  


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