Warts: types, signs, dangers, treatment methods

wart examination under a microscope

Warts are skin growths in the form of nodules or papillae. This is the most common skin condition, affecting more than 90% of the world's population. Warts can appear on any person, at any age, in absolutely any area of skin, from the face to the feet. The disease is often contagious, it all depends on the human immune system.

What causes warts

There is a widespread belief that warts appear when you touch a frog. This is a delusion. The causative agent of the disease, which results in the formation of warts, is a human papillomavirus infection. According to statistics, this infection causes about 20% of all cancers.

The risk of developing HPV is significantly increased:

  • using other people's personal hygiene items and common items;
  • in public places (swimming pool, sauna, etc. ), especially if walking there barefoot;
  • in the presence of skin lesions;
  • with increased sweating of the hands and feet;
  • in contact with an infected person (handshake, sexual contact, etc. );
  • walking in tight uncomfortable shoes that cause friction on the skin of the foot;
  • using non-sterile instruments (in a beauty salon, etc. ).

The infection can be in the human body for 3 to 6 months, without any manifestation. Its "activator" and indirect culprit for the appearance of warts is a weakened immune system.

Are Warts Always Dangerous?

Most warts are completely harmless and could theoretically disappear after a few weeks or a maximum of a month. In this case, patients are more concerned about a serious cosmetic defect that causes psychological discomfort and interferes with the management of a full lifestyle.

Warts are often painless unless they are found on the soles of the feet or in another part of the body that has a tendency to shock and constant contact. But there is itching and discomfort in the affected area.

But, as mentioned above, warts are viral in nature, so you can't rely on the neoplasm passing on its own or interfering with you for life. Any wart should be presented to a dermatologist and, if he deems it necessary, remove any of the safe methods.

How to recognize warts: symptoms and signs

An inexperienced person may confuse warts with other skin growths such as birthmarks, calluses, melanomas.

The main differences between warts and birthmarks:

  • birthmarks are dark or black, while warts are light;
  • warts grow tightly with the skin, birthmarks are separate structures as if glued to the body;
  • the piers are soft and smooth to the touch; warts are hard, hard and rough.

It is also easy to distinguish warts from corn. Pressing the growth creates painful sensations, and in case of peeling, traces of bleeding will be visible under it. Under the corn is a new delicate skin.

You can distinguish a wart from a melanoma by color and shape. This dangerous disease is characterized by heterogeneous shades of red and black, overgrowth and uneven contour.

It is not difficult for a dermatologist to make a correct diagnosis with the help of a visual examination. But a good technician will not be satisfied with a simple test. He will definitely use a special magnifying device - a dermatoscope. If a pathogenic process is suspected, scraping of the surface layer will be required.

In the case of anogenital warts (located around the anus and on the genitals), a gynecologist or proctologist should be consulted.

Types of warts

Different types of warts can be found on the human body:

  • ordinary (simple, vulgar);
  • plantar (thorns);
  • flat (minor);
  • anogenital;
  • filiforms (acrohords);
  • senile (age-related keratomas).

Each type has its own specific characteristics and different characteristics.

Wart photo

anogenital wartsvulgar simple wartsmosaic plantar warts
thread warts on the bodyperiungal wartsflat baby warts
plantar beardsenile warts

Common (simple, vulgar) warts

Common warts are dense, dry growths with an uneven and rough surface to the touch, variable in size and rounded shape. They look like a hard keratinized blister up to 1 cm in diameter that rises significantly above the skin's surface.

The surface of common warts is often covered with grooves and protrusions, so the neoplasm vaguely resembles cauliflower or raspberry with black dots inside.

This is the most common type of wart, accounting for up to 70% of all such skin lesions. Simple warts on the skin can occur at any age, but most often they affect children and young people. This is due to the fact that they have weaker immunity than adults.

Ordinary warts, as a rule, appear on the hands (fingers and back of the hands), knees and elbows, sometimes on the face or feet, extremely rarely on the oral mucosa.

Sole (spine) warts

Sole warts are a kind of vulgar warts. The manifestation of the disease is most often observed in children and 20-30 years of age. Plantar occurs in 30% of all skin warts.

This type of neoplasm usually affects the feet (soles, sides and fingers), less commonly the wrists. On the skin, they appear as small whitish punctate skin lesions, sometimes itchy. Over time, their surface increases and changes color - from yellow to dark brown.

Plantar warts do not in themselves pose a health risk, however, when walking, they cause significant discomfort to a person, cause painful feelings and often intensify and may even bleed. This is due to the location of the neoplasm and the specifics of its growth. As the bar grows inward, the body's weight wipes out the pain receptors as it walks.

Based on the characteristics of the lesion and their location, plantar warts are divided into 3 types:

  • simple;
  • periungual;
  • mosaic.

Periungal plantar warts

Periungal warts are small, rough formations with cracks on the surface of a person's arms and legs, namely at or deep below the nail plate. Externally, they resemble cauliflower heads.

They can be flat, pointed or hemispherical. Periungual warts are usually gray, but there are also flesh-colored warts. They are not too dense, like a simple plantar, but they have a fairly deep root.

Periungal plantar warts do not cause discomfort or pain when pressed. However, warts under the nail are not so safe - over time, the neoplasm provokes the exhaustion of the nail plate and its further destruction.

Neoplasm removal is necessary to stop the growth of growths that easily pass to healthy fingers. The localization of the wart under the nail plate makes treatment and removal very difficult. When it occurs in childhood or adolescence, it can be prevented alone.

Mosaic plantar warts

Mosaic warts are a special type of neoplasm. These are plaques, so-called clusters, formed by the merging of many tightly compressed small plantar warts. The location of the tiles resembles a mosaic (hence their name).

This formation is usually observed in a small and localized place. It can reach about 6-7 cm in diameter. In the early stages of development, mosaic warts look like black small punctures. As they develop, they produce white, yellowish or light brown cauliflower with dark spots in the middle. These spots are caused by vascular thrombosis.

Mosaic warts are highly contagious. They are difficult to treat due to the number of foci of viral infection. The success of the treatment is facilitated by its timely initiation. In general, mosaic growths tend to recur even after surgical removal.

Flat (minor) warts

Flat warts are a fairly common type of neoplasm and the least problematic. These are small lenticular lesions (several mm in diameter) or smooth papular lesions. They can grow both individually, which is quite rare, and in large numbers, close to each other.

There are several stages of the disease:

  • mild - one or more painless warts;
  • medium - from 10 to 100 painless growths;
  • severe - more than 100 neoplasms.

If they are localized in places where there is excessive pressure (rubbing against clothes, shoes, etc. ), then they cause painful sensations.

Growths usually occur on the face, knees, elbows, back, legs and arms (especially the fingers). People of all ages fall victim to this disease. But most often it applies to children and adolescents (20% of students it is), so the second name for warts - a minor.

In close contact with students, 80% of people show resistance to the virus. In adults, irritation and inflammation after shaving promote neoplasmic growth.

The peculiarity of this type of wart is that in most cases no treatment is needed: it can disappear as suddenly as it appeared, especially in children. Adults need to be treated for this disease and the virus is very resistant to drug treatment.

Anogenital warts (warts)

Anogenital warts are particularly common among sexually transmitted diseases. They are flat and elongated neoplasms or elastic, elastic growths in the form of cauliflower or rooster. Such warts reach 1-1, 5 cm and are gray, pink or flesh-colored.

There are several types of genital warts in terms of appearance and structure:

  • Specified- spilled pink, fleshy or red polyps on a stalk or broad base resembling cauliflower. They can occur individually or in multiple clusters. Genital warts tend to multiply rapidly;
  • Papillary- rounded smooth growths without legs, rising a few millimeters above the skin surface;
  • Keratotic- very dense, thickened formations, significantly protruding above the skin. A woman's labia are usually affected;
  • Huge(Buschke-Levenshtein warts) is a rare type of wart. They are subject to rapid growth, accompanied by the destruction of the surrounding tissues. In extremely rare cases, the giant warts degenerate into a malignant form;
  • Flat- are formed both individually and in the form of several sets. There are practically no symptoms, sometimes itching and discharge may occur. The affected flat growth area is the vaginal mucosa and cervix in women.

Anogenital warts are equally common in people of both sexes who are sexually active (usually between the ages of 20 and 25). The incubation period for this disease ranges from three weeks to nine months and averages about three months.

Genital warts are more common in immunocompromised patients.

Typical symptoms of the disease:

  • severe itching at the site of growth;
  • painful and uncomfortable feelings;
  • burning;
  • pain during and after sexual intercourse;
  • feeling of a foreign body;
  • defecation problems when the wart is in the anus area;
  • bleeding if the warts are damaged.

In most cases, anogenital warts are benign, but they can degenerate into carcinoma. For this reason, to prevent cancer, warts, regardless of their condition, shape and size, are always removed.

Anogenital warts are usually diagnosed clinically. They are morphologically distinguished from typical secondary syphilis lateral warts, but in any case it is necessary to perform serological tests for syphilis in the initial phase and after 3 months. A biopsy is needed to rule out carcinoma and should be done if there is bleeding, ulcers or persistent warts.

Recurrence of anogenital warts is facilitated by:

  • lazy sex;
  • non-observance of personal hygiene;
  • installation of an intrauterine device, termination of pregnancy by surgical traumatic methods or other medical procedures.

This type of wart is dangerous with several complications:

  • Lack of careful intimate hygiene or irritation of growths due to constant friction in underwear leads to growth ulcers with purulent secretion with an unpleasant odor;
  • In the absence of timely treatment, genital warts are exposed to dusting;
  • Lack of therapy leads to the formation of a large number of warts. In particularly advanced cases, even a small area of healthy skin does not remain;
  • In the presence of anogenital warts, a strong decrease in immunity is observed, which is associated with human susceptibility to any infectious disease. If the patient already has a chronic inflammatory disease (especially of the pelvic organs), it is definitely exacerbated;
  • Threat of degeneration in malignant form.

Aciochrord warts

Filamentous warts, also known as facial warts, are the most common type of growth. These are thin, long growths of racemosis, usually found in the eyelids and adjacent areas, on the neck, lips and nose, less commonly on the legs, groin folds, under the mammary glands and armpits.

People of any age can become a "target", but elderly patients often suffer from the disease. According to statistics, about 50% of the world's population over the age of 50 has facial warts.

Infection with the virus often occurs through cracks and abrasions on the face, so people with dry skin are at high risk. Various hormonal changes also contribute to the appearance, growth and spread of facial warts.

When they appear in sensitive areas, such as skin folds or areas that are often subject to pressure and injury, some symptoms may occur:

  • itching;
  • bleeding;
  • soreness;
  • irritation.

Warts of this type almost never degenerate into a malignant form. However, if you injure the acrochord, there is a high risk of developing an inflammatory process. Unlike many other similar neoplasms, the filament type itself does not disappear. When the wart is torn off, it grows in its place again. Occasionally, keratinization of growth and its transformation into a skin horn occurs.

Localization and ugly appearance make facial growths a cause of emotional stress and embarrassment for many people, which sometimes affects their self-esteem and self-esteem.

Senile (age-related keratomas, seborrheic keratoses) warts

Senile warts are one of the most common skin lesions that appear with age as a common sign of skin aging. Despite their name, they are not caused by the human papilloma virus.

Seborrheic keratoses are extremely common. According to statistics, more than 90% of the population over the age of 60 have one or more of them. They are equally common in men and women. There are often cases of the disease affecting people between the ages of 30 and 40, as well as young people under the age of 20.

Keratomas and keratoses can occur anywhere on the body, including the scalp, face, and genitals. The exceptions are the hands, feet and mucous membranes. It is rare for a person to have only one growth. Over time, age-related keratomas become more common. Many people inherit the tendency to develop a very large number of these neoplasms. Some of them may have hundreds of wart growths scattered throughout the body.

In the early stages, senile warts appear as slightly raised light brown spots or papules. They may remain very flat and look like freckles, or gradually thicken, and they may develop a rough, warty surface, such as a tumor on the skin. In most cases, they slowly darken and may eventually turn black.

The cause of age-related keratomas is unknown. They are generally considered to be degenerative in nature, appearing in large numbers as the skin ages. Ultraviolet radiation is thought to increase the likelihood of their development.

There are five traditional forms of age-related warts:

  • Spotted or popular "freckles-death". . . Formed in the form of many clusters on the hands and face. Such growths are rounded with an uneven contour and a smooth or slightly rough surface. There are several color options: light brown, brownish brown or pinkish yellow;
  • Popular or nodular. . . The growths are larger and tend to grow. Gray or yellow are considered typical. The surface of the warts is covered with horny layers;
  • Classical keratoma. . . It is a collection of posters that are closely related to each other. It is characterized by a jagged outline, copper or pink color. As the wart grows, the middle part of the wart sinks;
  • Leather horn.It is a modification of the keratoma. It is expressed in the form of accumulation of dense keratinized dark brown plates up to 1, 5 cm.

Adverse reactions to some drugs and many chemotherapy drugs can contribute to the development of irritated seborrheic keratoses - inflamed, red and cortical lesions. This leads to the development of eczematous dermatitis around growth. Dermatitis can also cause new onset of seborrheic keratosis.

Age-related keratomas are always benign. This means that they do not spread or form malignantly. The main problem is a cosmetic defect, especially if they develop on the face.

Diagnosis of the disease is usually performed by clinical examination. Without histological examination, it is difficult to distinguish this type of wart from skin cancer. Therefore, very dark lesions that have somehow changed or are growing rapidly require a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis and rule out the possibility of cancer. Darker lesions should also be checked by a doctor to make sure they are not melanoma.

Wart treatment

It takes a lot of patience to cure warts. Warts can appear and disappear for no apparent reason or cause that is difficult to identify. The high infectivity of warts and autoaculation are arguments in favor of removal.

Many different procedures are available. The therapeutic choice varies depending on the type of wart, its condition, depth, amount and the size of the affected skin area.

Wart treatment can have very different results. Some warts respond to treatment, but others do not, even if they are given to the same person.

Treatment often needs to be repeated for weeks, months and, in extreme cases, even years, before it is successful. But in any case, wart removal at the clinic should be performed by a dermatologist. Self-medication is highly undesirable because the consequences can be irreversible.

The mildest and most versatile ways to get rid of all types of wart growths are laser and radio wave therapy.

Laser wart removal

Nowadays, laser surgery is one of the best ways to get rid of warts. It is a painless and safe procedure that can be used in areas of maximum sensitivity. Neoplasm laser removal is very effective: the likelihood of recurrence is minimal. It is significantly affected by the severity of the disease.

Wart removal is performed by cauterizing the layer in the affected area, which allows the doctor to control the depth of exposure. At the same time, the laser beam cauterizes the blood vessels, thus preventing bleeding at the site of exposure.

Three laser coagulation methods are common:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Procedures using such a laser are more painful. Although the CO2 laser clogs blood vessels, it also destroys wart tissue. In this process, there is a possibility of damaging healthy tissues. Wound healing usually takes longer and scarring is possible. The efficiency is about 70%.
  • Erbium laser. It is characterized by a shorter wavelength. The likelihood of scarring after healing is greatly reduced.
  • Pulse color laser. This laser more effectively closes the blood vessels that feed the wart. It does not damage most healthy tissues, as a CO2 laser does. It is also the only type of laser approved for use in children. The effectiveness of this treatment method is about 95%.
Benefits flaws
Minimum probability of scarring (depending on the degree of negligence of the pathology) High price
Rapid tissue healing
High efficiency of the method
Minimal damage to healthy tissues
Speed of the procedure

Wart removal is performed under local anesthesia. Cauterization remains in place of the crust, which disappears within 14 days. After the procedure, the patient quickly returns to normal life, if all the doctor's recommendations are followed.

Removal with a radio knife

The most effective modern method of getting rid of warts is with radio waves. First, it is due to the fact that in this procedure, the instruments do not come into contact with the patient's body: they are produced on a radio frequency.

Under the influence of radio waves, the skin does not overheat, blood vessels do not bleed, and all kinds of viruses die immediately. This makes it easy to remove the buildup and completely eliminates the possibility of further virus development.

Other benefits of removing radio warts should be noted:

  • complete painlessness;
  • speed of the procedure;
  • exclusion of edema and infiltration;
  • no postoperative complications;
  • lack of scars at the wart removal site;
  • rapid rehabilitation period.

The procedure is also performed under local anesthesia. After exposure to the affected skin area, a crust forms, which itself disappears within 7-10 days.

As mentioned above, warts often involve the genital area. Removal of anogenital growths (warts) is usually frightening for patients. However, the radio wave method is the most effective in this case and causes minimal pain.