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General Description

Several different varieties of warts exist:

Common Wart. The common wart is familiar to virtually everyone. This growth appears as a rough-surfaced skin projection (flesh-toned to brown in color) that slowly enlarges in size. The sites most often involved are the hands and fingers. The appearance of one wart may be followed in several months by one, two, or numerous other warts.

Plantar Wart. This wart grows on the bottom of the feet and resembles a callus. It occurs on the weight-bearing areas of the sole and may become quite tender.

Flat Wart. These flesh-colored warts are small, smooth, and slightly raised.

Genital Wart. The genital wart occurs as a moist, pinkish-red growth in the vaginal or anal region or as a firm projection on the shaft of the penis. As with other forms, these growths are spread by close personal contact, in this case by sexual relations. For this reason, genital warts should be considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Between five hundred thousand and one million new cases are diagnosed each year.

Medical Treatments

Warts are certainly a cosmetic bother. Fortunately, about two-thirds disappear without any therapy within two years. Warts are peculiar, as psychological coaxing (for example, hypnotic suggestion) may result in their rapid disappearance. This is probably the reason why folk remedies such as burying a potato under a stump or rubbing a copper penny over the wart did at times cure the condition. Topical, salicylic anti-wart solutions, gels, and patches can be purchased without prescription at any pharmacy. Warts may also be treated in the doctor’s office by cryosurgery, electric needle (electrodessication), or laser. Most dermatologists prefer to use liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery) because the procedure is quite effective, can be rapidly performed, and does not involve injection of a local anesthetic. Plantar warts often prove difficult to destroy. Care must be taken to avoid aggressive surgical treatment since painful scarring may result. Genital warts are treated in the medical office with liquid nitrogen cryosurgery, electrodessication, acid solution, or application of a substance called podophyllin. Both Condylox gel and Aldara cream are approved by the FDA as prescription at-home therapies for genital warts.   Genital warts have been linked to the development of cervical cancer, and for this reason women exposed to this virus are urged to have Pap smears performed on a regular basis. A vaccine that prevents the species of wart virus linked to cervical cancer was licensed for use in the United States in 2006. The vaccine (Gardasil) is approved for girls and women aged nine to twenty-six.

Causes & Prevention

Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus of which there are over 100 different strains. The strains related to genital warts have been linked to cervical, penile, and anal cancers

Warts are an infection of the skin that become those unsightly bumps on various parts of your body or the soles of your feet, and are caused by specific wart viruses. They come and go, sometimes with or without treatment, and sometimes won't go away no matter what treatment is given. Some individuals are more susceptible than others to having warts. As any virus, warts are contagious, but not in the normal sense of being contagious as in catching someone else's cold. The other person needs to be susceptible to the virus. Only genital warts and those around the anus are contagious in the normal sense, and care must be taken not to spread them to others.Wart

Plantar warts, those on the soles of your feet, are also contagious and are frequently picked up in moist areas, such as bathrooms, locker rooms and around swimming pools. Keeping your feet dry after being in one of these areas is the best method of prevention.

Tips

As with other viruses, one of the best remedies is to boost the immune system.  Not only will this help you get rid of the immediate problem, but it will help prevent future outbreaks

General Information About Warts

There are five types of warts:

  1. The common wart has an elevated, rough, dry surface, and may occur anywhere on the body;
  2. Flat warts are usually flat, multiple lesions that can occur anywhere: faces, arms, backs of hands and legs are the most common areas. This type is especially common in women who shave their legs and also in bare areas of men;
  3. Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet;
  4. Genital warts are found around the genital areas of men and women and around the anus. They can be large and fleshy or look like regular warts;
  5. Warts can also be found on the lips and in the mouth. These appear as small, moist, whitish bumps. This type is not common.

Do you have a wart? How do you tell? There are two diagnostic points to look for, and you must have them both. First, regular lines on your skin do not run through warts - they stop on one side and begin again on the other. Second, warts are granular and not smooth and clear as some other types of bumps are.

Should you treat your wart? That really is left to personal preference. Plantar warts are painful, so treatment for these is usually necessary. Genital warts or those around the anus also need to be treated by a physician so they don't spread. Don't try to treat this type yourself. Other warts may go away on their own, or you may want to treat them. Vanity and personal comfort, as in having warts in areas that need shaving or where clothes rub them, may be the determining factor. If you do decide to treat them, start with the simplest method and if that hasn't worked in three weeks progress to more aggressive methods.

You must treat all the warts in a given area so they don't continue to spread. If they are in an area you shave, stop shaving if you scrape them or use a hair removal cream, as the scraping will spread the wart virus. For plantar warts, start with the tape or tape and castor oil methods, then, if they aren't effective, progress to a more aggressive method. Use a pumice stone or some other type of scraper to get off the dead skin before applying more medicine. Plantar warts are difficult to get rid of and may take three to six weeks before any progress is noted.

Remedies

 Folk

Aloe Soak a small piece of cotton in aloe gel and tape over the wart. Add more gel every three hours with an eye dropper. Change cotton daily. The wart should begin to dry up in a few days and in a few weeks may disappear.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) Soak your wart in warm water for twenty minutes; dry thoroughly; apply full strength apple cider vinegar with a cotton ball and leave on for ten minutes; wash off with tepid water; dry.

  • Another way to use ACV is to keep a plastic container with a lid in the bathroom with enough ACV to cover your foot. After each shower (or daily, if you can), dip your foot with the plantar wart in the container. Place a towel on the floor to dry your foot off after the vinegar bath. Don't rinse the vinegar off. Our reader said the pain from the wart disappeared after one bath, and, over a period of several weeks the warts got smaller, turned dark, and disappeared. As a side benefit she said the skin on her feet turned pink and smooth, like a baby's. She had tried everything over a period of 15 years, including surgery, nitrogen, creams and ultrasound, but no luck. For her this remedy worked wonders. Courtesy Rebecca Leighton Katers.

Ashes Apply wood ashes to the wart.

Aspirin Dissolve a regular aspirin with a small drop of water and apply to the wart; cover with a Band-Aid ; repeat twice daily. If this method irritates the skin around the wart, apply some Vaseline around the area with a Q-tip®.

Baking soda Rub the wart three times daily with a solution of baking soda and water.

Banana Take a ripe banana peel and cut a piece and apply the pulp side to the affected area and tape securely. Leave the peel on except when bathing, changing daily. This remedy may take several months, but has been effective in getting rid of stubborn plantar warts. Other sources suggest using an unripe banana, as certain healing compounds are more concentrated in the peels before they ripen.

Cashews Rub a cashew on the wart several times a day. Another remedy is to chew the cashew and take a small amount of the mixture and place it on the wart. One reader stated that he had used this remedy to get rid of a wart he had had for 25 years. It took 2-3 weeks for the wart to disappear.

Castor oil Apply castor oil to the wart and rub twenty times or so with your finger. Do this at night and in the morning. The wart should disappear in three to four weeks.

  • Another castor oil remedy is to apply a half drop of oil to the wart twice daily and cover the wart with some form of first aid tape or bandage. Keep the bandage on 24 hours a day for three weeks, removing only to put on a new one.
  • Another variation is to touch the wart with a toothpick soaked in castor oil. (See vitamin A remedy below.)

Chalk Rub the wart daily with a piece of white chalk.

Dandelion Break open the stem of a dandelion and rub the milky sap on the warts in a circular motion. Do this two or three times a day until the wart disappears. This was the favorite remedy of Will Greer, Grandpa Walton on the TV show "The Waltons."

Glue Apply Elmer's® glue to the affected area. Leave on as long as it stays; scrape off and reapply.

Garlic Dice some garlic and rub on the wart.

Grapefruit seed extract This extract is a powerful all-around antimicrobial product and is an excellent disinfectant. Apply a drop directly to the wart and cover with a Band-Aid®; repeat twice daily. The wart will turn white and fall off in about a week.

Hydrogen peroxide Dab 35% (food grade) hydrogen peroxide on the warts with a cotton ball or Q-tip®. Hydrogen peroxide can burn your skin, so be very careful when applying it.

Iodine Apply iodine daily.

Lemon juice Apply lemon juice to the wart and rub in gently. Repeat two or three times daily.

Liver, desiccated Take three tablets three times daily. This supplement is rich in B-vitamins and sulfur.

Milkweed Apply milkweed juice to the wart.

Onion Cut an onion in half, scoop out the middle and put in about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. After several hours the salt will draw the onion's juices which can be applied to the wart several times a day.

Oregano, oil Place one drop of oil of oregano on the wart nightly. The wart should disappear in a few days.

Papaya Lightly apply the milky latex juice from a green papaya to the wart; repeat several times a day. Within a week or less the wart should be gone.

Pineapple Rub a slice of fresh pineapple on the wart. Keep applying frequently, as needed.

Potato Rub the wart with raw potato peelings.

Radishes Rub the wart daily with a radish.

Salicylic acid (15%) Salicylic acid is a more aggressive treatment method and should be used with care as products containing salicylic acid can burn your skin. Products with this ingredient work by destroying wart tissue. Check with your doctor or pharmacist for suggested products, and be sure to read the label and follow the directions carefully. To use these products, apply them only to the wart, not on the surrounding skin; allow to dry thoroughly. Do this twice daily and soak and rub the dead wart tissue away before reapplying. If you get pain or irritation, stop for a few days, then start again. For small flat warts, apply the salicylic acid with a toothpick or other small applicator, and follow the above directions. The British Medical Journal surveyed 50 trials and reported that this remedy cured nongenital warts in 75% of the cases as opposed to 48% using a placebo.

Salicylic acid plaster This remedy is good for warts on the soles of your feet or the palms of your hands. This product destroys wart tissue, and, as the remedy mentioned above, must be used carefully.

Tape Cover the wart with any kind of medical or first aid tape or a bandaid and leave on around the clock for three weeks, removing only to change the tape. This may cure the wart.

  • A recent study (2002) done at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, WA found that placing a piece of duct tape the exact size of the wart over it was successful in removing the wart 85% of the time and was better than the standard method of freezing the wart (60% successful). So give it a try: place the tape on the wart for six days, then remove it; soak the wart in water; gently scrape the wart with an emery board or pumice stone; leave the tape off for a night; repeat for up to a month.

Tea A tea made from purple coneflower (echinacea), burdock root or red clover may build up your immunity to warts.

Thuja Apply a drop of thuja tincture (an herbal remedy) directly on the wart from a dropper.

Vitamins

  • Vitamin E Put the contents of one 100 I.U. of natural vitamin E capsule on a Band-Aid® and cover the wart. Warts will soon disappear.
  • Vitamin A (palmitate) in doses of 25,000 I.U., taken daily for a week to six months, had very good results in several tests.
  • Vitamin A Another remedy: crush a vitamin A capsule and mix it with just enough water to make a paste; apply directly to the wart; in the afternoon apply a drop of castor oil; in the evening apply a drop of lemon juice.

Walnuts, black Take some green (not fully ripe) black walnuts and make a few incisions in the outer shell; rub the juice on the warts. There may be a slight stinging sensation or the area may turn brown, but this is only temporary. Very effective.

Washing soda Dissolve as much soda as the water will take up and wash the affected area for a minute or two; allow to dry without being wiped. Doing this for several days will destroy most warts.

Homeopathic (gr. = granules)

Thuja 9: 5 gr.(or 1 dose) on waking, every three weeks.

Causticum 7 and Nitric acid 7: 2gr. on waking, each remedy on alternate days.

Antimonium crudum 7: and Berberis 4: 2 gr. at about 6 PM. each remedy on alternate days.

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