Warts can be quite scary to notice for those not expecting them. Most people are genuinely aware that warts can strike the hands, feet, genital areas and face but are not aware they can literally crop up anywhere. Breast warts are typically terrifying, particularly for pregnant women and those who plan to breastfeed. These concerns are warranted, but a little education can go a long way towards being prepared when or if this situation arises. Being such a sensitive area of the skin as well as being a common cancer target, it is good to know when a doctor’s care is warranted.
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What exactly are breast warts?
Warts in general are raised bumps on the skin, made up of skin cells essentially gone haywire from an HPV infection. Their appearance may vary between the different types and may be flattened or raised and may take on a cauliflower-like appearance. The best way to confirm a possible wart on your breast is to visit your primary care physician or a dermatologist. Any part of your body can be afflicted with warts and while breast warts or back warts are more rare, they are not an exception to the rule. Click this link for information on back warts.
Warts on almost any other part of the body are easily discernible from other conditions by someone educated on the differences between them. The problem with this designation is many other skin conditions have similar traits that affect the breast area. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, commonly abbreviated with HPV. These result in viral and contagious warts on the body. The confusion continues as multiple skin conditions are also classified as papillomas despite having no relation at all to HPV. Understanding the differences between these types of warts can ease some concern.
Breast cancer is a very real threat that can be deadly. Therefore the appearance of any wart or breast change should be reported to your doctor. An attempt to self-diagnose based on information found online can be a real risk to your health and safety. This information is meant as a helpful guide and not a replacement for visiting your doctor.
Types of warts on breast
The usual culprit of warts or conditions resembling warts on the breast can generally be split into three different types that include:
- Warts caused by HPV.
- Breast intraductal papillomas.
- Senile warts called seborrheic keratosis.
Warts caused by HPV are your standard wart and they can appear anywhere though most strains are area specific. This viral infection can be beaten into dormancy within your body and have never caused warts before, but suddenly crop up during situations like pregnancy. Or you could have simply been newly infected around your breast due to the virus infecting broken skin or wounded skin. Warts caused by HPV are always contagious. If pregnant or breastfeeding seeking a doctor’s care regarding your warts should be your first step as any direct wart contact and some strains of HPV can affect your baby during delivery.
Breast intraductal papillomas are noncancerous tumors that can grow in the milk ducts of your breast. These lumps are sometimes mistaken for warts caused by HPV but are not related and not caused by an infection. These may have a wart like growth on skin or they may be felt merely as a lump on the skin. Intraductal papillomas will need treatment but they are not contagious. Seek a doctor’s care if suspected.
I have black warts on my breast
Warts caused by HPV are usually flesh colored, pink or gray so black warts can be quite alarming. Black warts are usually what are called senile warts, named for the typical age range they show up in. They can appear in young adults and teens as well but more rarely. HPV warts can turn black when the wart is dying and especially after some treatments such as lasers or freezing but they are rarely if ever in a natural black state.
Senile warts are a common noncancerous skin growth that normally shows up in people middle aged or older. The correct name for these are seborrheic ketatosis. They are in no way related to HPV, are completely harmless and need no treatment. They can show up alone or in multiples and are common on the chest. Senile warts can be easy to recognize when they show up in various places, while HPV common warts often stick to the back and neck when they are not on the hands and fingers. To discover more about identifying neck warts, see this page. Easily removed by doctors, senile warts at their worst may cause irritation or be unsightly.
What if they are under breast?
Warts beneath the breast are not particularly common but can occur. These can cause some irritation due to the friction of being beneath the breast or the pressure of a bra. As there are several types of warty growths that can occur on the breast as mentioned previously, it is important for your doctor to confirm your exact condition before attempting any treatment.
Some warts and wart resembling conditions will need to be removed, but HPV warts can be treated simply and easily at home in most cases. Keep in mind that the skin on the breast is more sensitive than other parts of the body, so in the case of treating an HPV related wart, use gentle treatments as opposed to harsh ones. A good and all natural option is Terrasil. The fight may be long or the warts may reoccur as pregnancy is one of a few factors that increase HPV activity.
HPV warts have been shown to suddenly appear or grow larger and faster during periods of:
- Immune system suppression.
Warts on areola during pregnancy
Warts on the areola are practically unheard of, but glands called montgomery tubercles are frequently mistaken for warts. Montgomery glands are responsible for keeping the nipple moisturized during pregnancy and breastfeeding and are normally small bumps on your areola if they are visible at all. During pregnancy they can grow much larger in size and may resemble a wart when they are not. Enlarged montgomery glands are completely harmless and natural during pregnancy.
If on the very rare chance you actually have a normal wart caused by HPV during pregnancy, you should see your doctor for treatment immediately. As warts are contagious and spread easily, breastfeeding your baby while an HPV wart is present is a bad idea so the faster the treatment the better. Additionally many common wart treatments found over-the-counter are unsafe to be used on pregnant or breastfeeding women. This is a clear time when a doctor is always necessary.
Can I have genital warts on my breast?
Warts are opportunistic even though each strain of HPV generally has a specific area or skin type preferred. This is never strict, as even genital warts are known to show up in extragenital areas such as the mouth, nose and eyes. Thus while this would be incredibly uncommon, it is impossible to rule out the possibility of genital warts on breasts. The breasts do not represent an area of preference for genital warts.
For the large majority of genital wart locations, all 3 of these traits are present:
- Moist areas of skin.
- Mucous membranes.
- Anus, vagina, labia, penis or surrounding skin.
In general though, if HPV related warts occur on the breast they are often common warts, such as those you may get on your hands or feet. This is even more likely if you have warts located other areas such as your stomach. To learn more about stomach warts and the wide variety of treatments, see this article. Regardless of the type or strain of HPV wart you may have on your breast, the treatment will be very similar so overly worrying about a specific type is foolish.
Warts on your breast are very alarming to notice and can create mental panic if you currently breastfeed or plan to in the future. However, most warts and wart-like conditions on the breast are harmless and don’t often become problematic. Due to the nature of the location and cancer risks, potential warts should always be examined by a physician as it could actually not be a wart at all and instead be a cancerous growth. Distinguishing warts from common pregnancy-related conditions can help you keep calm when breast changes occur.