You have probably had one in your life. Warts don’t pick and choose who they infect; pretty much anyone is susceptible to them. And not just on your hand or feet – every part of your body can fall victim to a wart. You can have more than one area affected at the same time, making it even more irritating. But where do they come from? How do you catch them? And more importantly, how do you get rid of them?
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A wart can be anywhere on the human body.
Places you might find them include:
Warts are usually in areas that you can see and touch, but what if they’re in a hard-to-reach area like your back? Click here for more information about warts on back.
Not all warts are the same. You might notice that warts appear differently around the body.
Here are some of the types you might see:
- Filiform Wart: These warts are characterized by their long fingerlike projections coming out from them. They are most often found on the face and are flesh-colored. Further details can be found here.
- Common Wart: Rounded with defined edges, common warts usually have a more smooth surface. These are normally located on fingers, hands, legs, and the face. Please see detailed descriptions here.
It seems like every wart has a name, but what do we call warts that show up on the breasts? For more details about warts on breast, go here. There can also be warts that grow on the general chest area. Find more information about warts on chest by going here.
Flat Warts: These warts are more oval-shaped and flesh colored. You can find them mostly on your legs, face, and arms. For more information click here.Warning
When you shave, if you graze any warts you may have, pieces of the wart and its viral particles are taken into the razor and then spread across the skin. If there’s any kind of tiny breaks in the skin in those areas, the viral particles can get in and start brand new warts there. Always avoid razors in the areas you have warts.
- Genital Warts: Genital warts are unique in that they don’t grow anywhere but the genitals, with the one exception being the mouth, where they can be transmitted via oral sex. These warts are only spread through sexual contact and have a bumpy, cauliflower-type surface and usually appear in clusters. They are harder to treat due to their sensitive area and should always be consulted by a physician. Click here for more information about genital warts.
You don’t hear about warts growing on people’s torso, but it does happen. To learn more about warts on stomach, go here.
- Plantar Warts: These are unique in that they are flat and wide. Plantar warts start out as a regular wart, but the pressure of your foot as you walk pushes it inside your foot where it spreads out wide, flush with your skin’s surface. You may see black dots, or “seeds, ” which are actually coagulated blood vessels. Read more here.
What Causes Them?
The culprit behind all warts on the human body is HPV. This DNA based virus likes to hang out in moist, warm places such as showers, saunas, locker rooms, and pool decks. The more public the area, the higher chance of finding HPV there.
There are over a hundred different strains of HPV out there, all causing different types of warts. For example, a different strain is responsible for plantar warts than the strain that causes the common wart.
Warts from the face can sometimes spread to surrounding areas like the neck or scalp. Details about warts on neck can be found here.
Getting Rid Of Body Warts
There’s good news when it comes to warts on the body – you don’t have to live with them! Although most warts will go away over time – anywhere from months to years – most people choose to treat them. But what options are available?
- Surgical excision: This is the most extreme out of all procedures, but also the most immediate result. A physician will take a sharp cutting instrument and cut the wart directly out of the skin, then covering it with a bandage to prevent infection. This method can be used for almost every kind of wart, including genital warts.
Imagine if you’ve got a wart on your scalp and the trouble that would cause. You’d want help, no doubt. For more information about warts on scalp, click here.
- Cryotherapy: This procedure uses extreme cold to destroy the wart tissue. If you’re in a doctor’s office, they will use liquid nitrogen and spray it in a continuous stream onto the wart. The liquid will boil off immediately after touching the tissue, leaving damage behind. After enough damage has been inflicted, the wart will not be able to recover and will die. There are at-home cryotherapy kits that use a freezing agent in a small canister that you spray or touch onto your wart. For more information click here.
- Salicylic acid: The most common of all methods, this acid is corrosive to living tissue and slowly burns a wart. You apply it straight to the wart where it will be dissolved by the salicylic acid layer by layer. It comes in a variety of products from liquid, to bandages infused with it. To learn more about removing warts with salicylic acid, see this page.
- Prescription creams: These topical treatments are usually prescribed for genital warts and include Podophyllin Resin and Imiquimod. There are some creams or gels that you can apply yourself, and some that are so corrosive to living tissue that a doctor must apply it for you.
When you’re pregnant, you can still get treatment for warts, even genital warts. Always tell a doctor if you’re pregnant before starting any kind of medication or treatment. Some topical creams, like Imiquimod, can’t be used while pregnant, as well as a few others. Always discuss with your physician what’s safe to use while pregnant and what’s not.
Warts that start in the ear area are usually not a problem, unless they grow into the ear canal, which can obstruct hearing. For more information about warts on ear, go here.
Which one is right for me?
The way in which you’ll treat your wart totally depends on certain things:
- How fast you want the wart gone.
- The location of your wart.
- Your health insurance and ability to pay.
If you’re looking for an immediate result, then surgical excision or electrocautery might be a good fit. If you want very lost cost, then salicylic acid might be the way to go.
Whichever you choose, even if it’s just to wait it out and let the wart go away on its own, you don’t have to let body warts rule your life. Don’t sweat it – get the facts, do what you can, and be glad that these warts aren’t forever!