For most people, getting a wart is a sure thing. Almost everyone experiences them at least once in their life. In fact, it is estimated that millions of people become infected with the virus that causes warts every year. If you’re able to escape them, you’re lucky. Because warts come in such a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and locations, you may be confused as to what you’re dealing with is a wart or not. Or even if you know for sure that it’s a wart, you still might wonder what that wart is, exactly. So what is it?
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The Medical Definition
A wart is a growth technically known as Verucca. It is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, which comes in over a hundred strains. You’ll find HPV in places moist and warm, such as a sauna, pool deck, or shower. The chances of catching it increase the more public the area is.
Warts are noncancerous and benign, and are more irritants than anything dangerous. The one exception is genital warts, which have a high chance of causing cancer. At least 70% of all cervical cancer is attributed to genital warts. If you suffer from these, have them monitored by a doctor and watch for any signs of cancer.
Sometimes people have no idea where in the world they caught their wart, or what to expect from it. More details about what causes warts can be found here. For information on warts symptoms, click here.
HPV get into your skin and settles into the epithelial cells, which lie in the upper layers of your skin. Once active, it causes skin cells to overgrow at a rapid rate, rising up out of your skin as a wart.
It might sound crazy, but can you get warts from frogs? Urban legends say you can, science says otherwise. Find out more here.
Warts come with many unknowns, including doubt about whether they’ll go away. So do warts go away? Find out by clicking here.
The anatomy of a wart includes the following:
- The top: This is the very top surface of the wart. It can be smooth, rough, uneven, or bumpy.
- Underneath the skin: The wart cells don’t just lie at the surface, they go underneath the skin as well.
- Blood supply: Because it’s living tissue, there must be a blood supply for the wart.
If you have a wart, don’t try and cut them out yourself. You won’t know exactly how to get out all the infectious particles, and may only cause more damage like scarring or excess bleeding. And infection can also occur which can damage the healthy skin around the wart area. If you want the wart cut out of the skin, always consult a medical professional.
A look inside
The inside of a wart is comprised of infected skin cells. They pack together and form a mass that sticks up out of the skin. The size will vary from person to person. Tiny blood vessels grow up through the wart as well, providing the cells with oxygen and nutrients needed for survival. You may notice black dots inside the wart, known by some as “wart seeds.” These are really just the coagulated blood vessels inside the wart.
Sometimes, a wart can be mistaken for other things, such as a mole or pimple. A callus can also be falsely attributed to a wart. To discover if you’ve got a wart or callus, go here.
Skin tags are another body growth that can be mistaken for a wart. More information about if you’re dealing with a skin tag or wart can be found by clicking here.
The HPV virus itself lives in the infected cells of the wart, as well as the cells underneath it. This is why it’s essential to kill not just the surface of the wart, but all the way down to the layers underneath your skin. If any of those HPV particles are left behind, the wart will grow back.
Plantar warts are different in that they occur specifically on the bottom of your feet. Pressure from walking flattens the wart into the skin, widening it into a larger-than-average wart flush with the skin. Because of the high friction of the area, it is commonly callused and tough. Plantar warts are harder to kill.
There’s a top to a wart, but what’s at the bottom? Is there a root? For more details on wart root, go here. Warts don’t stay forever. Eventually, they’ll die and fall off your body. More information on wart falling off can be found here. When your wart is gone, a mark may be left behind, like a scar. Details on wart scar can be read here.
Warts Are More Infectious And Common Than You Think
Warts are one of the most common skin ailments out there. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of the population is infected with some strain of HPV. Out of those infected, there will be many who never have problems with a wart, meaning that either their body killed the virus off itself before warts could form, or the virus has decided to stay dormant, or “asleep, ” for a long period of time.
What about basic symptoms of HPV? Do warts itch? Find out the answer here. Other symptoms can occur with warts as well. If you’re wondering do warts bleed, you can learn details here. Pain isn’t a common type of sensation you normally get with warts, but can happen in certain circumstances. If you’re wondering “Do warts hurt?”, go here to find out more.
Genital warts are the most common type of sexually transmitted infection, affecting millions more every year. Just like regular warts, the strain of HPV causing genital warts often stays dormant, so the person infected never realizes they have it.
Warts have been around pretty much since humans have existed. There are accounts of ancient Egyptians dealing with warts. In the Middle Ages, many suffered from warts and came up with a huge amount of home remedies for it including pig feces and rotting eel heads. Thankfully, modern medicine has produced much more sanitary solutions to our wart problems.
Razors can make tiny cuts in the surface of a wart and spread its viral particles to the surrounding areas. To learn more about shaving warts, go here. With so many different variations of warts, who’s to say which kind you’ve got? More information on types of warts can be found here.
HPV is a very contagious virus, meaning you can catch it from someone easily.
Ways that you could contract HPV from another person include:
- Using an infected person’s razor.
- Having sex with someone who has genital warts (including oral sex, which can cause warts of the mouth, tongue, and throat).
- Any kind of physical contact with another person’s wart can cause the virus to be transferred to you, although it would need to rub against an open break in your skin. Beware, some breaks in the skin are too small to see with your eyes.
You may be wondering “Are warts contagious?” They might seem like harmless growths that nobody should worry about, but in reality, they can be easily spread. More information about are warts contagious can be found by clicking here. But how do warts spread? Find out the answer here.
When it comes to wart removal, you’ll have many options to choose from. Go here to learn more about wart removal.
So now that you know exactly what a wart is, you can more accurately decide on a treatment plan to kill any you may deal with. Remember that there is no cure for HPV; there’s only your body’s immune system. If your body can’t clear it on its own, then the HPV will stay inside you. But the good news is that you don’t have to have problems with it forever! Through the many different types of treatment, those warts that plague you don’t need to for long.