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Warts Genital



(Not from frogs!!!!!)

Alternative names

Plane juvenile warts; Periungual warts; Subungual warts; Plantar warts; Verruca;
Verrucae planae juveniles; Filiform warts; Verruca vulgaris


Warts are small, usually painless growths on the skin caused by a virus. They
are generally harmless. However, warts can be disfiguring and embarrassing,
and occasionally they itch or hurt (particularly on the feet).

The different types of warts include:

      Common warts: usually appear on the hands, but can appear anywhere.
      Flat warts: generally found on the face and forehead. Common in
       children, less so in teens, and rare in adults.
      Genital warts: usually found on the genitals, in the pubic area, and the
       area between the thighs, but can appear inside the vagina and anal canal.
      Plantar warts: found on the soles of the feet.
      Subungual and periungual warts: appear under and around the
       fingernails or toenails

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The typical wart is a raised round or oval growth on the skin with a rough surface.
Compared with the surrounding normal skin, warts may appear light, dark, or
black (rare). Most adults are familiar with the look of a typical wart and have little
trouble recognizing them. Unusual warts with smooth surfaces or flat warts in
children may be more difficult for parents to recognize.

Common warts tend to cause no discomfort unless they are in areas of repeated
friction or pressure. Plantar warts, for example, can become extremely painful.
Large numbers of plantar warts on the foot may cause difficulty running and even

Warts around and under your nails are much more difficult to cure than warts

Some warts will disappear without treatment, although it can sometimes take a
couple years. Treated or not, warts that go away often reappear. Genital warts
are quite contagious, while common, flat, and plantar warts are much less likely
to spread from person to person. All warts can spread from one part of your own
body to another.

Because people generally consider warts unsightly and there is often a social
stigma, treatment is often sought.


      Small, hard, flat or raised skin lesion or lump
      Abnormally dark or light skin surrounding the lesion
      Numerous small, smooth, flat (pinhead sized) lesions on forehead,
       cheeks, arms, or legs
      Rough, round, or oval lesions on soles of feet -- flat to slightly raised --
        painful to pressure
      Rough growths around or under fingernails or toenails

Signs and tests

Warts can generally be diagnosed simply by their location and appearance. Your
doctor may want to cut into a wart (called a biopsy) to confirm that it is not a corn,
callus, or other similar-appearing growth.

Over-the-counter medications can remove warts. These are applied to the wart
every day for several weeks. DO NOT use these medications on your face or
genitals. It helps to file the wart down when damp (for example, after a bath or
shower) before applying these medications.

Special cushions are available at drugstores for plantar warts. These pads help
relieve any pressure and pain from the warts.

Stronger (prescription) medications may be required for removal of persistent
warts. Surgical removal or removal by freezing (cryotherapy ), burning
(electrocautery ), or laser treatment may be needed.

Immunotherapy, done by injecting a substance that causes an allergic reaction,
may also be considered by your doctor.

DO NOT attempt to remove a wart yourself by burning, cutting, tearing, picking,
or any other method.

Interestingly, placing duct tape over a wart may help it disappear. A small study
had people wear duct tape for six straight days, remove it, wet and scrape the
wart down using a file, and then reapply the tape the next morning. This was
done until the wart disappeared, for no longer than two months. The people
wearing the duct tape had as much luck getting rid of the warts as those who had
warts frozen off by a doctor. This method might be worth a try if you have a
painless, yet unsightly wart.

Expectations (prognosis)

Warts are generally harmless growths that often go away on their own within two
years. They can be contagious, but transmission from person to person is
uncommon. Warts may be unsightly or cause discomfort, especially on the feet.


      Spread of warts
      Return of warts that disappeared
      Minor scar formation if the wart is removed
      Formation of keloids after removal

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your doctor if:
      There are signs of infection (red streaking, pus, discharge, or fever) or
       bleeding. Warts can bleed a little, but if bleeding is significant or not easily
       stopped by light pressure, see a doctor.
      The wart does not respond to self-care and you want it removed.
      You have pain associated with the wart.
      You have anal or genital warts.
      You have diabetes or a weakened immune system (for example, HIV) and
       have developed warts.
      There is any change in the color or appearance of the wart.


      Avoid direct skin contact with a wart on someone else.
      After filing your wart, wash the file carefully since you can spread the virus
       to other parts of your body.
      After touching any of your warts, wash your hands carefully.


Lacey CJ. Therapy for genital human papillomavirus-related disease. J Clin Virol.
2005; Suppl 1: S82-90.

Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Wart. Available at:
zSzuszSzcommonzSzdorlandszSzdorlandzSzdmd_w_01zPzhtm. Accessed June
6, 2005.

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