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Types Of Warts

Warts are benign thickenings in the skin or mucous membranes caused by the human papilloma virus. Warts are also known as verrucae or condylomata. Warts are very common - most warts on the hands, verruca vulgaris, plantar warts and plane warts resolve without treatment. Warts can be found in individuals of any age and in any location. They are particularly common in children and teenagers. Generally warts occur in those who are sexually active. There is a balance between the virus and the individualís immune system. Situations that reduce immunity will make it easier for the warts to spread and become more susceptible.

There are more than 50 different types of human papilloma viruses. These are DNA viruses. The different types are given numbers. It appears that each number either gives a specific type of wart or a specific location. There is an uncommon type of human papilloma virus that can have a potential to develop cancers especially in the cervix. These are known as Type 16 and 18.

Warts are transmitted by skin to skin contact, although plantar warts may well be transferred from moist floors. The transmission of warts depends in part on the immunity and susceptibility of the individual involved. Anogenital warts in adults are usually transmitted by sexual contact. Anogenital warts in children, while possibly indicating sexual abuse, may also be from other sites on the same patient.

Warts have an incubation period of many weeks to many months.

Types of Warts:

Verruca Vulgaris (the common wart)
    These are thickened bumps called papules or plaques. They have a rough surface and frequently will have small tiny spots which are from blood vessels that have clotted. They are most commonly seen on the hands, elbows and knees.
Flat Warts

    se are flat-topped, smoother looking warts. They are brown or skin coloured. They are most commonly seen on the face of women. They are spread easily by shaving.
Plantar Warts

    se are seen on the under-surface of the feet. They are thickened. They can be confused with corns or calluses. They will frequently have thrombosed blood vessels causing black dots. They can sometimes be uncomfortable if they are in weight-bearing areas. Occasionally they can be quite widespread involving large surfaces. They tend to grow into the skin rather than coming outwards as most other warts.
Genital Warts

    se appear in the genital peri-anal skin. They have a variety of appearances. They can look like common warts or sometimes they are skin coloured, small papules. They vary in size from tiny papules to much larger typically warty growths. Occasionally they are pigmented. There is a subgroup of these warts caused by HPV 16 and 18 which have been named bowenoid papulosis. They have a small chance of becoming cancerous. Some of the genital warts have been associated with carcinoma of the cervix, Bowenoid papulosis and Bowen's disease.

Warts are usually obvious to the experienced doctor. A biopsy can confirm the diagnosis although it is not commonly required. There are specific tests to type the human papilloma virus although these are not done routinely.

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