There are numerous different types of warts, each afflicting a different part of the body. To the untrained eye, it is unclear why warts afflict certain parts of the body and not others. This is down to the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Although all are under the same name, there are many different strains of the virus, with over 120 known to currently be in existence.
The most common forms of HPV are types 1 and 3, closely followed by 2, 27 and 29. These strains are responsible for most types of wart and are generally harmless other than their physical manifestation. Other strains are equally contagious and can cause the more violent warts, such as those that lead to further illnesses.
Common warts are, as the name suggests, the most prevalent type of wart in humans. They are simple to identify, generally being round in shape and the same color as the skin with a hint of redness around the edges. They are usually found on the hands, specifically around the fingernail or further down the finger or on the feet and are mainly an inconvenience rather than an illness.
They are generally painless and are in no way a sign of any deep lying issue in the body. However, they should be treated, even if only for cosmetic reasons. Fortunately, they are simple to treat and may even disappear on their own. The body almost always adapts its immune system to rid itself of the virus, and most active treatments serve to give the immune system a boost, speeding up the natural process.
Plantar warts are almost exclusively found on the soles of the feet. They are much smaller than the common wart and can also be much more painful due to their location. The pressure exerted on the feet when walking serves to irritate the wart, and in some cases even pushes it deeper into the skin, making for significant discomfort.
This pain is also what usually leads to identifying the wart itself, as the person with the virus will first notice the presence of a lump when walking. As with most common types of warts, a plantar wart is a growth on the skin, nothing more, and is nothing to be overly concerned about. However, treatment should be sought in order to avoid the obvious pain when pressure is exerted.
Genital warts are one of the more serious manifestations of the HPV virus and are considered to be a sexually transmitted disease. Infection and contagion is in line with the spreading of warts rather than normal STDs, with skin contact enough to transfer the infection. Like most types of warts, the warts themselves are not inherently dangerous.
However, they can be more uncomfortable than other types due to their location and can lead to sores and bleeding, which can be particularly problematic when considering the potential transference of the HIV virus. As with most afflictions of the type, genital warts often disappear on their own, but can be treated in numerous ways.
Oral warts can appear anywhere in the mouth or around the lips and are often characterized by being smaller than what would be considered a common wart. Otherwise, their appearance is in line with other types of warts, being dome shaped and rough to the touch. They are generally painless, but can easily be irritated due to their location. As with other types, many oral warts disappear without treatment.
However, they are medically linked to strains of HPV that are thought to cause cancer, and may be cause for additional concern. It is therefore imperative that the afflicted person seeks professional assistance if they feel that they may have oral warts.
Flat warts are smaller than normal warts and are most common in teenagers. They are quite similar to common warts in that they are often skin colored. However, their small size means that identification and diagnosis can often be difficult, with such warts manifesting themselves for up to a year before they become visible. They also commonly occur in large groups as opposed to singularly, potentially making them difficult to treat.
However, they are also one of the most harmless types of warts, never being more than a potentially embarrassing aesthetic issue. They often disappear without treatment, but can be removed with medical assistance.
Filiform warts are one of the most well-known types of wart, although usually under their more common name of facial warts. They tend to manifest on the eyelids or around the lips and are often longer in shape than other types of warts. They are highly contagious, and can often be transferred through sharing face cloths or other items.
However, they are generally harmless and reasonably easy to treat, although such treatment should always be administered by a medical professional due to the sensitive nature of the skin in the most likely afflicted areas.
Periungual warts are most commonly found near nails both on the fingers and toes. They generally appear in clusters rather than alone, and are one of the smallest warts of their kind. Without irritation, they often remain so small that they cannot even be seen. The warts themselves are largely harmless, but can be annoying due to their location.
A growing wart takes no account of the nail itself and can cause the nail to be displaced, leading to additional discomfort. Therefore, treatment is often necessary as soon as a peringual wart is identified. Such treatment is carried out in the same way as other types of warts, often using laser treatment or cryotherapy.
Seed warts are one of the more easily identifiable types of warts, often being black in color as opposed to the more traditional flesh color. This black hue is caused by pressure on the blood vessels around the wart itself. They are most commonly found on the hands and feet and are known as one of the more painful types of warts due to the potential for inflammation.
However, in spite of the discomfort, they are rarely a sign of any other illness and can be treated in the same way as other common warts. They are also likely to disappear on their own after a certain length of time.
Warts on Hands
The hands are one of the most common areas to be afflicted by warts, particularly due to the regularity with which they come into contact with others. Each type is caused by the HPV virus and they are mostly a visual issue. The virus causes growths on the skin that may become itchy and irritated but do not disguise any underlying issue. Most hand warts are easily treated or may disappear on their own.
The main causes for concern are when the number of warts increases rapidly or when they grow particularly fast. Even then, most cases can be treated at home with no medical intervention apart from in serious cases. Such medical involvement usually comes in the form of freezing the wart, applying a special topical cream or surgical removal.