What is a wart? What is HPV?
A wart is a virus classified within the Human Papilloma Viruses (HPVs), which represent a group of more than 100 types of wart viruses. Warts are called papillomaviruses because certain types cause warts, or papilloma, which are benign (noncancerous) tumors. Warts can grow on all parts of your body. A wart can grow on your skin, mouth, genitals, and rectal area. Some types of HPV tend to cause warts on the skin, while other HPV types tend to cause warts on the genitals and rectal area.
Warts appear as single bumps or in clusters, most warts have a cauliflower structure. Of the more than 100 types of warts, there are more than 30 types of warts that have the ability to infect the genital tract. These genital warts can be passed from one person to another through sexual intercourse.
In the past, and even in the present, warts have been treated locally with acid or a chemical solution. In some cases, warts are even treated by cauterization (burning the warts) by dermatologists. All such measures to treat warts, it has been observed, are often temporary; and the warts reappear. Warts are passed from person to person, often indirectly. Warts on the skin may be passed to another person when that person touches the wart. It usually takes several months for a wart to appear if transmission occurs. It is also possible to get warts from using towels or other objects that were used by a person who has warts. However, the risk of transmitting foot, hand, or flat warts to another person is small. To treat warts that are already visible we suggest using our Wart Control Extra Strength treatment.
Types of Warts
These warts usually grow on the backs of the hands and on the fingers. Common warts often occur where skin has been broken; where fingernails are bitten. Common warts are also called "seed" warts due to the blood vessels around the wart producing black dots that look like seeds.
These warts occur on the soles (plantar area) of the feet and are also called plantar warts. Plantar warts, or foot warts, can be very painful, often creating a sensation of a pebble being in your shoe. When these plantar warts are seen in clusters, they are known as mosaic warts. Due to the pressure of walking, most plantar warts are not found above the surface of the skin, but rather under the skin. Similar to common warts, these plantar warts may have black dots.
Flat warts differ from other warts in that they tend to grow in large quantities, up to 100 at any one time. Flat warts are smoother and flatter than other warts. Flat warts can occur anywhere on the body. Flat warts are usually found on the face on children. In female adults, flat warts are often found on the legs. It is believed that these flat warts on the legs occur as a result from an irritation to shaving.
Genital warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Genital warts are amongst a group of viruses that now includes more than 100 different types of warts, and the number of strains continues to grow. An estimated 40 million Americans are infected with genital warts, with 1 million new cases of genital warts diagnosed each year.
There are over 100 identified stains of warts, genital warts represent a certain type of this strain of warts. Of the 100 identified strains of HPV, more than 30 types can infect the genital tract, and therefore termed genital warts. Genital warts are often transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse. Genital warts are highly contagious.
More information about genital warts
Anyone can get infected with genital warts. The most common way of transmittal of a genital wart is through intercourse with someone who has genital warts or touching the genitals of someone who already has a genital wart infection. In rare situations, a person is born with a genital wart infection, or a child becomes infected with hpv or genital warts while being bathed or changed. Sometimes people become infected with genital warts and the genital warts will not develop for many years.
Genital warts appear on or around the genitals and anus of both men and women. A genital wart often occurs in groups and can be very tiny or can accumulate into large masses on genital tissues. Left untreated, a genital wart may eventually develop a fleshy, cauliflower-like appearance. Genital warts can be serious for females as they can occasionally cause cervical cancer if left untreated.
It is believed that there are more cases of genital warts than any other STD in the United States. According to the American Social Health Association, there are over 5 million new cases of genital wart infections reported every year. There are approximately 40 million people in the USA currently infected with genital warts.
Like other STDs, it is not uncommon for genital warts to be devoid of visible signs and as a result, a person with genital warts often may not have visible signs or symptoms. One study sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reported that almost half of the women infected with genital warts had no obvious symptoms. People who are infected with genital warts, but who have no symptoms, may not know they can transmit genital warts to others or be aware that they may be at risk from developing complications from the genital wart virus.
Genital warts (also called venereal warts) are the most easily recognized sign of genital HPV infection. Many people, however, have a genital HPV infection without any visible sign or symptom of genital warts.
Genital warts transmission statistics
Genital warts are very contagious and are spread during oral, genital, or anal sex with a person who is infected with genital warts. About two-thirds of people who have unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who has genital warts will develop genital warts, usually within three months of contact. (WebMD.com)
In women, genital warts occur on the outside and inside of the vagina, on the opening (cervix) to the womb (uterus), or around the anus. In men, genital warts are less common. If present, genital warts usually occur on the tip of the penis. Genital warts may also be found on the shaft of the penis, on the scrotum, or around the anus. Rarely, genital warts also can develop in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with a person infected with genital warts.
Genital warts often occur in clusters and can be very tiny or can spread into large masses in the genital or anal area. Can genital warts or HPV be prevented?
The only way to prevent an HPV or genital wart infection is to avoid direct contact with the virus, which is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. If you or your sexual partner has genital warts which are visible, you should avoid any sexual contact until the genital warts are treated. Studies have not confirmed that male latex condoms prevent transmission of HPV or genital warts, but results do suggest that condom use may reduce the risk of developing diseases linked to HPV, such as genital warts and cervical cancer.
Other resources to learn more about warts, genital warts (HPV), and wart treatments:
- Forces of Nature