Warts are benign growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many different types of warts caused by more than a hundred types of HPV. These include common warts, plantar warts, at warts and genital warts.
Warts are common and anyone can develop them, particularly children. Risk factors for developing warts include direct contact with other people’s warts, swimming in public swimming pools and injuries to the skin. Most typical warts are easily recognised but it is advisable to consult your doctor if you have warts that look unusual.
It is important to note that a large proportion of common warts clear within 2 years without any treatment. However, there are multiple treatments available for warts. Topical chemicals can be bought over the counter, but for more stubborn warts cryotherapy (freezing) may be of benefit. For genital warts a “wait and see” approach is not recommended, consulting a doctor for treatment early is advisable.
Written by Dr Pilate Ntsuke