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Warts are small growths of skin caused by the human papilloma viruses (HPV). Warts are commonly found on the hands, fingers, elbows, forearms, knees, face and around the nails. They tend to occur on skin that is exposed to friction and trauma. Warts are highly contagious and they can spread if they are broken, picked, shaved or touch. Plantar warts occur on the soles of feet and they differ from calluses in that they are tender and they can bleed if trimmed. Plantar warts usually do not spread to other parts of the body. Genital warts are found around the vagina, anus, penis, groin and scrotum. They are red, grow in clusters and highly contagious such that they can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Genital warts can be a precursor to cervical cancer.

Symptoms: flat or raised skin growths that have a rough and pitted surface. There is usually no pain associated with warts.

Who to consult: Dermatologist, dietician, GP, gynaecologist, herbalist, homoeopath, naturopath, pharmacist.