Warts are skin growths that can appear on different parts of the body. These benign tumors are contagious and can be spread in a number of different ways. If we get warts they will tend to appear on just one part of the body; although they can appear almost anywhere. The good news is that warts are not cancerous, but some of them will be the cause of more concern than others.
Common warts aren’t dangerous to your health, but if they appear on somewhere like our face they can make you feel very self-conscious and embarrassed. These warts can begin to interfere with our lives and if this happens then we will want to do what we can to get them removed.
Common warts will usually disappear eventually, but there are treatment options for those who don’t want to wait. On average a wart will remain on the body for about two years, but a lot will depend on the type of wart.
Understanding wart causes is helpful because it will mean that we have a better perceptive of how to avoid them. Sometimes though, we may still end up picking up these skin growths even if we have done our best to avoid them.
What Causes Warts?
We will now look at the most common causes of warts. Sometimes the reason why we have developed these warts won’t be clear to us, but it will be due to the following. Visit the wart types and causes category to see all causes of warts.
All warts are caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). This type of virus can be passed in a number of different ways and we will look more closely at this later on. This virus can incubate for months before the warts appear and this makes it very difficult to identify the original source. The different versions of HPV are attracted to certain types of body tissue. Most of the warts that we tend to get appear on skin, but it is also possible for them to appear on mucous membranes as well.
Skin on Skin Contact
A common way that we catch warts is by skin on skin contact; although just because we have touched somebody with a wart does not mean that we are going to get them ourselves. If there is a break in our skin or the skin is wet then this makes it more likely that we could pick up the virus.
It is also possible that we can spread the wart from one part of our own body to another if we bite the wart, or cut it while shaving. One of the most common ways that we catch a wart type like verruca is that we cut or scratch the soles of our foot while visiting a public swimming pool.
Sexual contact is another cause of warts; especially genital or anal warts. This type of wart is actually the most contagious and can be easily picked up during unprotected sex.
It was once believed that the virus that causes genital warts may stay inside the body for life, but new studies are putting doubt on this claim. Not everyone who picks up this type of HPV will actually develop the genital or anal warts. There also does not need to be penetrative sex for these warts to appear.
If we have a compromised immune system then this will increase the chances of developing warts. This is easy to understand because when the body’s defenses are not functioning properly we are less able to fight off any virus.
If we currently suffer from warts and we have a weakened immune system it might mean that any treatment is not going to be successful as the warts could just return.
Contact with Other Materials Carrying the Virus
As well as skin on skin contact and sexual contact we can also pick up HPV for other items. One of the most common materials for passing this virus is cloth such as towels and face flannels.
It can also be possible to pick up the virus from the contact with water if it has been contaminated and we have a cut; the most common example of this is the area around a swimming pool.
How to Avoid the Causes of Warts
As we have already mentioned it can be difficult to determine where our warts have come from a lot of the time. If we have unprotected sex with a stranger then this is the most likely reason for genital warts, or if we have a verruca appear on our foot after a visit to our local swimming pool then this is the most likely cause in this situation.
Here are just a few suggestions for things we can do to avoid picking up warts.
- Don’t share towels or face flannels with anybody else; even members of your own family. This is particularly person if the other person already has warts.
- Never touch anyone else’s wart as this could mean that you pick up the virus.
- Never bite a wart as this could cause it to spread to elsewhere on your body.
- If you are going to be visiting a public swimming pool it is a good idea to wear sandals until we get into the water. If we have any type of cut on our foot we will want this covered.
- If you touch your wart make sure that you wash your hands right away and don’t touch any part of your body in the mean time.
- Never be tempted to scratch a wart.
- If you are shaving in an area where there is a wart you will need to take special care not to cut it.
- If you are going to be using a communal shower then you will be best advised to wear some type of footwear such as sandals.
- It may not be possible to completely avoid coming into contact with the virus that causes warts, but there is a lot we can do to reduce our risk of this.