OK, you just came back from Disneyworld and you rode Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride a few times. Now you have a genital warts on your hand. Are you seriously going to blame a ride named after a toad? Actually, there’s a better chance the ride did have something to do with your wart than a real toad!
Everyone’s heard the logic — the bumpy skin of a toad can spread warts to the hand of a person picking one up. Uh, no. You could pick up a toad every day and never get a wart. Their bumpy skin isn’t covered with genital warts.
But you could get a wart from the kid running Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride if he had a wart on his hand and you had a minor cut on your hand and you happened to touch the same spot immediately after he touched it. That’s because you could come across a trace of the human papilloma virus, which is what actually causes warts.
What causes a wart to form?
Warts are skin growths that are caused by a virus, the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus usually infects a person through an area of broken skin. HPV causes keratin, which is a hard protein on the top layer of the skin, to grow too fast. That’s why warts rise above the height of the rest of the normal skin.
Are warts and moles the same thing?
Warts are not the same as moles. Moles are dark and can become quite large. In contrast, warts are nearly always the same size and are the same color as the person’s skin.
Different types of warts
- Common warts — Often seen on the hands and arms, common warts are dome-shaped, rough, and grayish-brown in color.
- Plantar warts — These grow on the soles of the feet. They are thick, hard patches of skin that cause pain when walking, similar to stepping on a pebble.
- Flat warts — These are small warts with flat tops that are candy pink, brown, or yellowish in color. They grow on the face, arms, and legs.
- Filliform warts — These skin-colored warts appear to have threadlike growths sticking out of them. They grow around the mouth, nose, or in a beard.
- Periungular warts — These warts are uneven and look like rough bumps. They grow under the toenails and fingernails and affect nail growth.
How do warts spread?
You can kiss a toad all you want and you’ll never get a genital warts. But warts can spread from one person to another quite easily. Simply touching another person’s wart can spread the HPV. Also, sharing towels or razors and such can spread them. After infection, warts can take months to actually development.
Getting rid of warts
Most genital warts don’t require any treatment, as the virus simply runs it course eventually. But if they cause pain, are spreading to other parts of the body, or bother the person, they can be removed. Home treatments can use salicylic acid, but have mixed success because the concentration isn’t usually strong enough. Others swear that duct tape gets rid of warts.
At the Laser Center of Maryland, we have a variety of treatments: an injection to kill the virus, cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen freezing), electrosurgery, curettage (scalpel excision), and laser surgery. If the virus isn’t addressed, however, the warts can come back.
Schedule A Consultation
So, ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride as much as you want. But if you want to get rid of a genital warts that’s bugging you, call the Laser Center of Maryland, 410-544-4600.