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WARTS

What is it?

Warts are noncancerous (benign) rough bumps that form on the skin. They develop when the human papillomavirus, or HPV, enters a cut or break in the skin and causes an infection.

Who might get warts?

Children are more prone to warts because they get a lot of cuts. Still, anyone can get warts. People with autoimmune disease or weakened immune systems, including the elderly, are more susceptible to the virus that causes warts.

What are the types of warts?

Wart types vary depending on the affected body part. Types include:

  • Hands: These warts are called common warts because they are the most common type.

  • Face: Flat warts affect the face and forehead.

  • Feet: Plantar warts appear on the soles of the feet. These warts look like calluses with tiny black dots in the center. They are often painful and form in clusters.

  • Genitals: Warts that form on the penis, vagina or rectum are called genital warts. These warts are a type of sexually transmitted infection. You get genital warts through sexual contact with an infected person.

  • Periungual and subungual: These warts form under or around fingernails and toenails.

What are the complications of warts?

Most warts go away without any significant problems. Sometimes warts cause issues, such as:

  1. Cancer: HPV and genital warts are linked to several different cancers, including anal cancer, cervical cancer and throat (oropharyngeal) cancer. You can lower your risk of genital warts by getting the HPV vaccine and using condoms.

  2. Disfigurement: People with weakened immune systems may develop unappealing clusters of warts on the hands, face and body.

  3. Infection: Infections can occur if you pick or cut a wart. Breaks in the skin allow bacteria to enter.

  4. Pain: Most warts don’t hurt. But plantar warts can grow inward into the foot and be painful to walk on. You may feel as if there’s a pebble under the skin.

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