Diseases

Wart

Skin disease, Viral infection

A wart is a small, hard, benign tumor on the skin, often caused by a virus. This unrestrained cell growth of the skin can occur anywhere on the body, but is usually found on the hands and feet. Especially children often suffer from it, as well as people with weakened immune systems. There are different types of warts.


Cause

Warts are caused by an infection of the skin by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This ensures that the cells of the skin are growing unusually rapidly. The virus is very contagious and can spread from person to person by direct skin contact, but also by touching contaminated surfaces. The swimming pool, where many people walk barefoot, for example, is a place where a person can easily get warts on the foot (plantar warts). If someone has come into contact with the virus, it will take quite a while before one actually gets warts; about three to six months and sometimes even years.

Often, it is limited to warts once. The body acquires immunity to the virus when someone has had warts. Thus, a person who gets a new infection with the virus, normally gets no warts anymore. Except if he or she has a weakened immune system. Then the warts can return. The immune systems of young children are not as strong yet, allowing them to suffer more frequently from warts than adults with strong immune systems.


Symptoms

Warts are harmless and have few symptoms. They don’t itch and hurt. The disadvantage is that they can look ugly and dirty. This can be nasty if they are in sight, such as on the hands. The size ranges from less than one millimeter to more than a centimeter.

The different types of warts can be recognized by their own characteristics:


Diagnosis

The diagnosis of wart is made on the basis of the characteristic appearance. The diagnosis of genital warts is made by cervical screening. Optionally, investigation into nucleic acids and serological tests can be done.


Treatment

Warts don’t need to be treated when the patient is not bothered by it. They often disappear on their own. If warts nevertheless need to be dealt with, the following agents and methods may be applied:


Prognosis

The prognosis for warts is usually good. Most warts disappear without treatment within six months to three years. Home remedies are often effective. When self-treatment fails, there are several medical options to let the wart be removed. However, warts tend to come back.


Considerations


Facts


Synonyms

Verruca, Papilloma


See also

Genital Wart

Pap Test

Serological Test

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