The ABCs of HPV: How Warts are Created

The ABCs of HPV: How Warts are Created

Human Papillomavirus – otherwise known as HPV – is one of the world’s most common person-to-person transmitted infections. It’s often sexually transmitted but there are other ways it may enter the body. Today, let’s explore more about this infection and how it creates warts.

A Variety of Strains

There are several different variations of HPV, known as strains or genotypes. In fact, there are over 100, plus many more that haven’t been fully characterized yet! For instance, HPV1, 2, 3, and 4 can all cause common skin warts such as those of the plantar and flat variety. Otherwise, HPV5 and 8 are known to cause breakouts of multiple warts, while HPV6 and 11 are often linked to benign genital warts. Some forms of HPV can even cause various forms of cancer, so it’s always best to get tested with regular checkups, avoid unhygienic environments when possible, and keep on top of your immune system health.

How it Happens

Most common warts are the direct result of an infection in the top layer of the dermis – in other words, the surface of our skin. This could be on a foot, finger, or practically any other part of the body. The infection penetrates through a small opening such as a scratch or cut, and it causes cells in the outer layer of the skin to form at an accelerated rate. And voila, there’s the wart! We come into contact with HPV all the time throughout every day of our lives, even when performing mundane tasks such as typing, pressing elevator buttons or opening the car door, so there’s always a chance that a wart can form.

Who Spreads HPV?

Well, not a frog or toad, that’s for sure! As it turns out, most people carry a specific strain of HPV. Even if you don’t carry the same strain and come into contact with someone who does – touching a door handle after them, shaking their hand or otherwise – there’s a chance of developing a wart. Inanimate objects often serve as “Trojan horses” of sorts, secretly carrying the infectious bacteria. Hotel towels that have been washed can still carry a strain of HPV, for instance – that’s not to gross you out, it’s just the truth! 

In the end, don’t be scared if you develop a wart resulting from HPV. Today, with innovative treatment solutions such as the Swift system, it’s easier than ever to get rid of unwanted warts of multiple varieties! To learn more, find a clinic that offers the service or talk to your healthcare practitioner.