How to Get Rid of Warts at Home Fast & Safely?

What are Warts?

Few things strike fear into mortal hearts like the thought of getting warts.  Unfortunately, the odds are likely that you will develop a wart at some point in your life.  Nearly 30% of all children will experience a wart during their lives, and 1/10th of the entire worlds population has warts at any given time. With these kinds of statistics, it only makes sense to find out as much as possible about warts, such as how to get rid of warts, what causes warts, and how to remove warts.   But, first things first….what are warts?

Simply put, warts are tiny growths or tumors that can appear anywhere on the body. What each wart looks like depends on the type of wart and where it appears:  warts on hands present differently than warts on the face, which are different from warts on the feet, and so on, and so on. Typically, a wart has a thick outer layer that is rough in appearance and to the touch, with many bearing a rather unfortunate similarity to cauliflower.

  • How do you get warts? First off, you do not get warts by kissing frogs, this is just a myth propagated by multiple fairy tales. Secondly, having a wart does NOT make you a witch (although, technically, I don’t know anything about your personality, sooooo….). Warts are caused by a virus; specifically, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Are warts contagious? Yes, yes, a thousand times YES. Just like the common cold, HPV is spread through direct contact, or by sharing personal items like towels, or utensils.  The virus can also live on surfaces, and LOVES moisture, so any communal swimming areas or beauty parlours are a likely place to contract the virus that causes warts.

In this article we will unpack all we know about warts; types of warts, how to get rid of warts, home remedies for warts, over the counter treatments for warts and so much more. Knowledge is power, the more you know about these bothersome bumps, the better you can protect yourself from infection in the first place. One thing is guaranteed. You will NEVER look at a piece of cauliflower the same again.

What are the Different Types of Warts?

Not all warts are created equal.  While it’s true that nearly ALL warts are caused by a strain of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), there are many kinds of warts with vastly different characteristics. In no particular order, here is a description of the different types of warts and some pictures of warts for your viewing pleasure.

Common Warts

Pictures of warts on hands/common wart/courtesy of WebMD

These small round bumps are called common warts because they are, well, common. When you think of warts, the common wart (verucca vulgaris) is most often the type that pops into your mind. You usually find common warts on hands and fingers, occasionally on knees and elbows (and sometimes on your nose if you are a witch…KIDDING) the common wart can be flesh-colored, white or pink.  These warts are typically round or spherical, and usually elevated.  Rough in texture, common warts contain small black dots which are actually blood vessels. Because the HPV virus that causes warts can be transmitted by direct contact, you should always be careful and wash your hands after touching or handling any wart.

Plantar Warts

Photos of warts/plantar warts, courtesy of WebMD

Not to be confused with the delicious Planters Peanuts, plantar (not planter) warts are found on the plantar surface of the feet. What causes plantar warts? HPV strain 57, 27 and 1a. These warts appear on the foot where there is pressure or friction from weight bearing, such as the heels or balls.  The appearance of these warts can run the gamut from coarse or lumpy to crusty, thick and scaly.  Color-wise, you will see plantar warts present as grey, yellowish or brown. Due to the pressure of body weight continuously pressing down into the soles of the feet, plantar warts can be driven inward, are often rooted deeply in the foot and covered by a tough layer of skin, making them difficult to remove. Several plantar warts may fuse together to create a mosaic, in which you can see the small, pin-prick sized black dots of capillaries.

Flat Warts

Warts images/pictures of flat warts/warts on face courtesy of WebMD

Also known as plane warts, flat warts, (verruca plana), are deceiving, in that they present differently than other warts and can be difficult to identify as a wart.  Typically, flat warts are smoother and flatter than other warts, often appearing like a sun spot or large freckle on the skin however they can also manifest with tops that are ever-so-slightly curved.  Flat warts tend to be roundish in shape, and can be brown, skin colored or even different shades of yellow.  There seems to be a connection between UV rays and the presentation of these lesions, in that they tend to appear on areas that are most often exposed to sunlight, such as the face, forearms, wrists and hands, knees, chest and neck.  Flat warts can feel slightly coarse to touch, and they like company, sometimes occurring in groups of several hundred at a time. Finally, flat warts tend to be more common in children and teenagers than adults.

Filiform Warts

Warts images/filiform warts, courtesy of WebMD

Filiform warts (verucca filiformis) can best be described as tiny tendrils that grow outward away from the point of origin in the skin. The filaments are slim, and finger-like, and can be quite long, sometimes up to 2 mm in length.  Filiform warts usually appear singularly instead of in groups, and, unfortunately for those afflicted, show up in areas that are visible to others, such as the eye-lids, lips, neck or armpits.  If you’ve ever had a pimple close to your lip or your eye, imagine how that would feel EVERY.DAY.  These warts can cause embarrassment to those who contract them, and it is recommended that they are removed by a dermatologist to prevent scarring. Filiform warts, much like other warts, appear as brown, yellow, pink or skin-toned.

Periungual Warts

Wart images/periungual warts courtesy of Health Jade

Periungual warts seem harmless enough at first as they start very tiny, (sometimes no more than the head of a pin), and can often present as clear or translucent in the beginning, making them easy to hide or disregard.  Do this at your own peril. Always manifesting on the edges of fingernails and toenails, periungual warts are anything but harmless. As they grow, these warts take on the appearance of small bunches of cauliflower; bumpy, coarse and raised from the surrounding tissue. The longer these warts are allowed to grow, the more painful they become, often working their way under the nail bed and splitting the skin.  If not taken care of immediately, periungual warts can cause permanent damage to the nail bed and affect future nail growth.  If you love the appearance of a nice mani-pedi, as soon as you suspect a periungual wart, see your doctor.

Molluscum Warts

Warts Images/water warts/molluscum warts courtesy of babycenter.ca

Molluscum warts (molluscum contagiosum) differ from other warts in that, much like a jelly donut, they are filled with a waxy material. These warts are NOT caused by HPV, instead they are caused by a poxvirus called MCV (Molluscum Contagiosum Virus). Described as little, reflective and even, these lumps are dense with curved surfaces and one of the defining features of molluscum warts is they often have an indentation or dimple in the middle of them.  Children tend to get molluscum warts on their faces, arms, legs, torso, and abdomens.  Adults, by contrast, typically develop molluscum warts on their inner thighs, abdomen and genitals, although, technically, molluscum warts can develop anywhere except the palms of the hands or the bottoms of the feet. White, pinkish, or camouflaged in flesh color tones, these warts are typically painless.

Where do Warts Appear?

Depending on the area of the body that has contracted the virus, and the strain of HPV you come into contact with, it is safe to say that warts can appear on any and every part of your body.  HPV doesn’t just live on the existing wart, it is also present in the skin and tissue surrounding the wart, making it easy to transmit the virus from one body part to another, or from person to person. In addition, certain body parts may be more susceptible to warts depending on lifestyle habits. Women tend to get more of certain types of warts on their legs, and men, warts on face. Why?  When skin is nicked or lacerated (as often happens in shaving) this creates an easy entrance point for the wart-causing Human Papillomavirus. Let’s review the most common places to get warts one body part at a time.

Hands & Fingers

Warts that develop on the hands and fingers are called palmar warts.  (no, they did not name a wart after golf legend Arnold Palmer). Common warts are the usual suspects that show up on the hands and fingers, and kids are also more likely to develop these little lumps than adults.  The reason for this is two-fold.  For one, kids have less effective immune systems, they haven’t had time to build up resistance to the virus (Human Papillomavirus) that causes warts. Secondly, kids touch everything, and they seldom wash their hands.  This makes for the perfect set of conditions for the spread of palmar warts from person to person.

Feet

Warts on feet are known as plantar warts, and turn up on the bottoms (soles) of the feet.  As plantar warts increase in size, they grow inward and upward into the foot, gradually becoming more painful to the afflicted person. Because the skin on the bottoms of our feet is thicker and denser, warts on feet are quite difficult to treat, particularly if they become imbedded into the foot or have clustered into a mosaic. Often a callus will form over warts on the feet, adding a further complication to treatment. These are things to keep in mind when considering. how to get rid of plantar warts

Face

Warts found on the face tend to be either flat or thread-like in appearance, marking them as either flat (plane) warts or filiform warts. Filiform warts can spread rapidly from one part of the face to another, or one part of the body to another, so care must be taken after handling these warts. Even though they may start off as painless, as they grow or multiply, filiform warts can cause major discomfort with itching and burning, especially if they are found in the folds of the skin like the eyelids. Flat warts tend to be found on the faces of children and men more so than women, mostly because both populations are more susceptible to cuts and scrapes (men from shaving, kids from being kids) which makes it easier for the virus to enter their systems.

Neck

You can find two warts on the neck, flat warts (often called plane warts) or filiform warts.  Just to recap, flat warts, like their name, are flat, usually round, and tend to cluster in larger numbers.  Filiform warts are tendril-like, and can project outward to a distance of 2 mm. Both types of warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus and are contagious through direct contact or sharing personal items like towels, scarves, or headbands.

Mouth, Tongue or Throat

Because warts are caused by a virus, it is possible to contract the virus and develop warts on the tongue, throat warts, and warts in the mouth, (oral warts). Although these warts are not common, the concern with these particular types of warts is that oral HPV can sometimes become oropharyngeal cancer, characterized by the materialization of cancer cells in the throat, as well as the tongue, tonsils, and even the walls of the pharynx.

Luckily, in most cases of HPV, the virus is defeated by our body’s immune system before any symptoms arise, however when the virus is victorious, it can manifest in warts on the mouth, tongue or throat.  Oral warts are usually tiny and dense, and resemble common warts.  They are usually painless, and can be red, white, flesh-colored or pink.  Thankfully, these warts are slow to grow, but they can also appear in a dense mass and resemble a cauliflower (I DID warn you about the cauliflower).

Oral warts tend to arise on the roof of the mouth, the tongue, and the lips.  Along with common warts (verucca vulgaris) there are other warts and tumors associated with HPV that can be found in the mouth, tongue or throat, such as Squamous Papilloma, Focal Epithelial Hyperplasia, (Heck’s Disease) and Condyloma Acuminatum. (Genital Warts)

Fingernails & Toenails

Called Periungual Warts, warts that appear on the fingers and toenails are caused by multiple HPV strains (1,2,4,5,7, 27 and 57) and tend to appear more often in people that bite their nails, work in professions or have hobbies that require them to have their hands or feet in wet environments, have weakened immunity, or struggle with skin rashes. Periungual warts are highly contagious, and because they can cause permanent disfigurement of the nail beds on hands or feet, these are not warts you want to mess with.  If you have periungual warts, or want to prevent yourself from being afflicted with them, make sure to wash your hands often, refrain from sharing towels, or other personal affects, and make sure to wear shoes in any public place, particularly pools.

Genital Warts

Upwards of 30 different strains of HPV affect the genital area, but luckily, only a handful of these strains actually result in genital warts, (condylomata acuminata).  These strains are equal opportunity viruses, affecting men and women similarly, but, here’s the kicker; when infected with genital warts, women are susceptible to more serious complications than men (sigh, what else is new.)

Genital warts (also known as venereal warts) can be difficult to see, as they can be diminutive, and can blend in with the color of the skin.  Appearing solo and in groups, the top surface of these warts can be smooth or rough, and can also resemble the dreaded cauliflower (there’s that darned comparison again.)

In men, genital warts may appear on the thighs, inside or around the anus, the groin area, and the scrotum or the penis, while in women, these lesions may show up on the inside, outside or around the anus and vagina, as well as on the cervix…ouch. Genital warts can also appear inside the mouth and throat, or on the lips and tongue, courtesy of oral sex, and it is important to note that even though someone may not have genital warts, they may still have the HPV virus that causes them.  The moral of the story here kids, is if you take the southern route, wear a raincoat.

Anal Warts

Also known as perianal warts or condyloma acuminata, these warts can be skin-colored or brown, and initially present as very tiny, sometimes as small as the head of a pin. Since there is generally no pain or discomfort in the beginning, many people are unaware they even have anal warts. Perianal warts manifest inside and outside of the anal area as well as on the skin surrounding the genitals. As they grow, perianal warts can cover the entire anal area, and can cause considerable discomfort through itching, burning, or even bleeding.  While anal intercourse is one way to transmit anal warts, any contact with your partner could be a precursor to you developing anal warts, and even more troubling, you could have contracted the virus years ago, and the warts may only be developing now.

How to Remove Warts with Over the Counter Products

There are many ways to remove viral warts when you visit your doctor, but not everyone is comfortable going to the doctor about their warts, and some people are intimidated by the thought of having a lesion burned or cut off.  Because of these concerns, more and more people are looking to over the counter products for relief from warts. While there is no BEST way to remove warts, there are some great choices out there for taking care of your wart problem safely, efficiently and in the privacy of your own home.

Freezing Treatments (Dr. Scholls Freeze Away Wart Remover)

When considering how to get rid of warts on fingers and feet, try Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Remover for a safe, easy and effective method to remove common and plantar warts.  Safe for use with children over the age of 5 as well as adults, the freezing method used by Dr. Scholls is very similar to the one used by doctors.

The Dr. Scholls Freeze Away Wart Remover Kit includes 7 treatments for your wart, but the treatments work fast, so you may be able to eliminate small warts with just one treatment. The active ingredient in each treatment is dimethyl ether and propane, which acts as a freezing agent to quickly freeze the wart, causing the tissues of the wart to degrade. As the tissues of the wart slowly die, new skin is grown to replace the wart.

Pros: You can use this treatment in the privacy of your own home, and the box contains 7 applications to make sure you can totally eliminate your pesky wart.  The other benefit is cost, for those that don’t have health benefits or insurance, using Dr. Scholls saves tons of money.

Cons: The mixture itself is highly flammable and must be stored at room temperature, never subjected to heat or open flame, and kept away from children. Also, it is only for use on two types of warts.

Check out Dr. Scholls Freeze Away Wart Remover on Amazon.

Wart Remover Salicylic Acid – Compound W

Compound W Wart Remover uses salicylic acid to remove plantar and common warts because the acid destroys the bonds that hold the layers of skin together on top of the wart, peels away the layers of dead skin surrounding the wart, and finally, the acid acts to calm down the healthy skin under and around the wart and aid in the healing process. Who doesn’t love a hat trick!

After using Compound W most people reported being fully wart free within 12 weeks of starting the treatment.

Pros: This is an easy and painless process for wart removal in your own home.  The directions are a no-brainer, and you can safely treat your warts privately and on your own schedule.

Cons: If you are in a rush to remove your wart, then you might want to try a freeze treatment instead, as it would work faster.

Check out Wart Remover Salicylic Acid – Compound W on Amazon.

Tea Tree Oil

Derived from the leaves of the native Australian plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, tea tree oil is an essential oil with an abundance of amazing properties, including being antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial properties. Due to all of these properties, tea tree oil has been proven to be a safe and effective way to treat warts when diluted and applied directly.

Pros:  It is difficult to think of another product that can give you all of the properties listed above in one package.  Because tea tree oil promotes the healing of lacerations and wounds, there is less likely to be a scar when you are done.

Cons: Remember to never, ever ingest tea tree oil, or use anywhere close to mucous membranes as it is poisonous.

For more detailed methods of how to use tee tree oil to get rid of warts, check them out here and here.

Check out Amazon for some great brands of tea tree oils at fantastic prices.

Wart Stick

It really is as easy as it sounds.  It’s a stick.  It removes warts. (specifically, common warts and plantar warts) How sweet is that? Wart Stick Max Strength Wart Remover works very much like a rub-on deodorant.  Just like deodorant (at least, the good ones) it goes on dry. Simply rub on the wart in a thin layer, wait, and reapply. Most people report it only a few applications for the wart to disappear.

Safe to use on adults and older children, the active ingredient found in the wart stick is salicylic acid, and the inactive ingredients are castor oil, and chlorobutanol that is mixed in a waxy base. The secret is the wart stick contains the highest percentage of salicylic acid allowed at 40% which makes the stick extremely fast acting and painless.

Pros: Ease of use.  It’s a STICK. You RUB IT ON.  ‘Nuff said.

Cons: Be careful not to get this product on skin that may be irritated, infected or inflamed, as well, people who are diabetic or who have poor blood circulation should not use the Wart Stick. Finally, this product is NOT for use near mucous membranes, on warts with hair growing from them, or genital warts.

To check out the Wart Stick Max Strength Wart Remover on Amazon click here.

Homeopathic Quick Dissolving Pellets (Boiron Thuja Occidentalis)

With the common name of cedar bark, these homeopathic quick dissolving pellets differ from the other over the counter products mentioned in this article (and no, NOT because the name is ridiculously hard to pronounce) but because this is the only over the counter wart remedy so far that requires the user to take a medication internally rather than using externally on the warts themselves.

Safe for children 2 years of age and older all the way up to adulthood, Thuja Occidentalis works on warts by kick-starting the immune system and increasing the T-cells that fight the virus, thus defeating the warts from the inside out.

Packaged into quick-dissolving caplets, simply place 5 under your tongue and let them absorb into your system while you carry on with your day.  Repeat this process 3 X daily until the symptoms disappear or until your doctor indicates otherwise. The active ingredient listed is Thuja Occidentalis and the inactive ingredients are lactose and sucrose.

According to the directions, you simply turn the small dispenser tube upside down, give the cap a twist and voila, capsules in hand, soon to be in mouth.  It takes longer to say the name of this treatment than it does to actually do it. Boiron Thuja Occidentalis is recommended for genital warts as these warts tend to be softer and respond better to the treatment than do plantar or common warts.

Pros: Safe, natural, and works for genital warts.

Cons:  Homeopathic, so may not be widely known or trusted yet in mainstream markets. Also, may not be a good idea for those people with lactose intolerance.

Check out Boiron Thuja Occidentalis on Amazon.

Home Remedies for Warts

There is a reason that home remedies to get rid of warts stand the test of time.  Often passed down from one generation to the next, it is easy to dismiss home remedies as un-scientific, but the truth is, if there weren’t a kernel of truth to home remedies, they would have been long forgotten. Too often, we get so caught up in our drive-through culture of instant gratification that we forget about the natural remedies found in our homes and environments.

Now consider the fact that warts are an affliction that can cause not only physical discomfort, but emotional distress, particularly when they occur in places that are readily seen, like the face or hands, and also when they appear in our most private of places, like our genitals.  The shame, embarrassment, and damage done to our self-esteem make it difficult for people to seek outside help for warts.  Doctors offices are not only intimidating, they can also be expensive for those people without health insurance to cover the procedures necessary to remove certain types of warts.

When you combine all of these factors together, you can understand why there is a large movement of people trying use natural remedies for warts at home.

Green Tea

The first thing the British do when they are distressed is have a nice, hot, cup of tea.  It’s not a bad idea.  For years we’ve been hearing about the health properties of green tea, and how rich it is in anti-oxidants – chemicals that prevent or even reverse the cell damage caused by oxidation.  One of the very cool things about the anti-oxidants in green tea is that they may have the ability to combat tumors.

For the purposes of at home treatments, it is possible to slow down the progress of the Human Papillomavirus on the skin by drinking 2-3 cups of green tea a day. You can also place the tea bag directly on the skin and the wart after it cools down.  It is recommended to hold the tea bag against the wart for approximately 10-15 minutes to allow the anti-oxidants to work by stopping the cell cycle in the virus and causing the infected cells to die.  If you’d like to give HPV the old one-two punch, then drink the tea AND apply the bag to the wart three times daily and eventually the wart should dry up and fall off.

Duct Tape

Who DOESN’T have duct tape? According to preliminary research and anecdotal reports, using duct tape on warts is at least as effective as cryotherapy, and when you are a five-year-old child with a wart, which would you prefer, playing with duct tape, or watching a doctor freeze off your wart?  While the exact process of how and why duct tape and warts work, the procedure is often called “duct tape occlusion” and works by gently removing the wart layer by layer.  Some researchers also suggest the hypothesis that the tape may somehow stimulate the immune system and throw it into overdrive, thus aiding in removing the wart by tackling the underlying virus.

Either way, the process for treating a wart with duct tape is simple. Put the tape on the wart.  Leave it there for an extended period of time, remove tape, let area breathe, then repeat.

With this procedure, most people find their wart is gone within a two-month time period. The advantage of the duct tape method, particularly for children, is that when the area is covered by duct tape, the virus is contained and won’t be spread. For obvious reasons, there are certain types of warts that are NOT good candidates for the duct tape method, such as genital or anal warts (unless maybe you need a good wax?).

It is important to note that the duct tape method may not work on plantar warts due to the thickness of the skin on the soles of the feet and the fact that these warts tend to become quite embedded. Also, people with sensitive skin may need to be careful using this type of treatment.

Garlic

Garlic isn’t just for fighting vampires anymore.  Garlic has many health benefits, from anti-viral properties, to its ability to fight fungal infections, to its use as an anti-inflammatory, to its ability to destroy a wide range of cancer cells. Garlic is the superman of all the root vegetables. This at-home treatment for warts reads more like a recipe than a treatment:

  • Take 1-2 cloves of garlic, peel them and cut them into small pieces, (I recommend mincing).
  • Rub, position, place or otherwise hold garlic over the wart with some sort of dressing.
  • Change the dressing each day.
  • Keep an eye on the area, the allicin in garlic may cause some heat or blistering if not monitored.
  • Continue until wart falls off.

For some other great ideas for how to use garlic to treat your warts, click here.

Apple Cider Vinegar

All vinegar contains acid, and apple cider vinegar is no exception.  The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar sterilizes areas and surfaces by killing bacteria and even some viruses when it comes into contact with them. When using apple cider vinegar for warts, the apple cider vinegar will destroy the infected skin when applied directly to the wart, and the wart will fall off.  Another benefit of using apple cider vinegar for warts is that as it is working, the body will receive a signal that there is an irritant on the skin, and this will trigger a greater immune system response, ergo, helping to fight the virus that causes the wart.

The application of the apple cider vinegar treatment for a wart is straight forward, simply apply a solution of apple cider vinegar directly to the wart for an extended period of time, then repeat. For those that want a more submersible solution you can try an apple cider vinegar bath, just fill a large container with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water and fully submerge the wart for approximately 15 minutes.

Always remember that apple cider vinegar, while it may smell wonderful, contains acetic acid and care should be taken to prevent burns or skin irritation.

For detailed instructions for how to remove warts at home with apple cider vinegar, check out healthline.com.

Should I Get Surgery to Get Rid of Warts?

While surgery is an option when considering how to get rid of warts, many doctors are hesitant to recommend it until all of the more traditional and less invasive methods have been tried.  If you have tried everything and your stubborn stowaway is still hanging on, or worse, bringing some of his friends back with him then your doctor will likely recommend surgery as the next step.

There are three types of surgeries that can be performed to remove warts:

  • They may cut out (excise) the wart.
  • They may use types of electricity to kill the wart (electrosurgery or electrocautery) and then they excise it.
  • They may use lasers to burn the wart off.

The doctor will recommend which surgery is the best option for you based on the type of wart you have AND its location on your body.  Typically, excision is the procedure of choice for hard, clustered warts on the smaller side, electrosurgery or electrocautery tends to work better for larger lesions on tender areas like the anus and vaginal area, and laser surgery seems to be the most recommended when warts cover greater areas or areas that are difficult to reach, such as the soles of the feet.

While the procedures themselves shouldn’t be painful as you will more than likely be put under a general anaesthetic, just like any surgery, there are risks. First, there is always a risk when you go under a general anaesthetic, particularly for those with conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems. Secondly, once out of surgery, you will experience pain at the site of the procedure, along with the possibility of bleeding.

Thirdly prepare yourself, you will, more than likely, have a scar from the procedure.  While you can use lotions to decrease the appearance of the scar, it will still be there. The wound itself needs to be watched for any possibility of infection, so keep an eye out for symptoms like redness or streaks of redness, fever, smell, or pus leaking from the wound and call your doctor right away if you do see any of these signs.  Finally, there is NO GUARANTEE that the wart will not come back.  This can be the biggest disappointment of all.  After going through everything that surgery entails, even though the wart may be gone, there is simply no way of knowing if the Human Papillomavirus is still in your system.  If it is, you could have a recurrence of your wart, or warts.  This would then start the cycle over again.

The long and short of it is that sometimes surgery is absolutely necessary for certain warts that could develop serious complications like cancer, disfigurement, or have simply become too painful to function. When you factor in the stress, time and cost of the procedures, it is not an easy decision to make and should be done only with the help and advice of your doctor.

What Causes Warts?  How do You Get Rid of Warts?

Warts are caused by a virus, called HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus, but where do warts come from? You can contract viral warts by direct contact with an infected person, or by contact with an infected surface. Once a person acquires the virus, it may be weeks, months or even years before they develop a wart, if they develop one at all.  Most incidences of HPV infection actually resolve themselves, with no one the wiser, however some aren’t so lucky and their immune system can’t defeat the virus.  The fact that someone may be affected with HPV but be asymptomatic makes it very difficult to stop the spread of HPV because you simply can not tell who is infected and who is not.

Once HPV invades the skin, it starts to metastasise, causing a sudden and rapid growth of cells in the top layers of the skin.  This is a wart, and it is very contagious.  The Human Papilloma virus lives on the wart, and in the skin surrounding it, so it is very easy to transmit the wart through touch, either to other parts of your body OR other people.

So, how to get rid of warts? Once infected, most warts resolve themselves after months or even years, but, seriously, who wants to walk around with a wart THAT long. If you have tried all of the at home and over the counter remedies we have mentioned and still have your wart(s) there are procedures the doctor can perform in his office to give you relief.

The doctor may use different types of acid to kill the wart, including salicylic acid or the chemical cantharidin. Cryotherapy, sometimes called cryosurgery, is the act of freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen.  Finally, if all of these do not work, then the doctor may recommend surgery, with these options:

  • excision (cutting away the wart),
  • electrosurgery will use radio frequencies to heat, kill and coagulate the wart tissue,
  • electrocautery, which uses electricity to burn the wart tissue via an electrode,
  • laser surgery, where an intense beam of light is used to burn and cut the wart.

What Happens if You Cut Off a Wart?

Who wants to have a wart for any longer than they possibly have to? Maybe you are tough guy, maybe you don’t mind the sight of blood.  Maybe you are a closet masochist. Or maybe you just want to know how to get rid of warts FAST.  Whatever your reasons, we will only say this once.  NEVER. CUT. OFF. A. WART. Why?

  1. Pain!
  2. Blood!
  3. Scars!
  4. Smelly infections!
  5. It will get angry, and it will come back with an army!

There are simply too many things that can go wrong when you try to perform wart removal surgery on yourself.  For one, how many of us have sterile scalpels and dressings just hanging around the house?  What happens if you can’t control the bleeding?  What happens if you develop an infection and it spreads?  And the biggest drawback to taking matters into your own hands:  it will likely grow back, and it will likely multiply when it does, leaving you with the possibility of more scars.

Don’t be a hero.  Ask for help to remove your wart.

Do Removed Warts Grow Back?

Removing a wart treats the symptoms of the Human Papillomavirus, but it does NOT cure the virus itself.  If the virus is still in your system, there is always a possibility that the wart may grow back, either in the same place or perhaps another. There is no cure for warts, unfortunately. The only way to really protect yourself is by prevention.

  • Always cover your wart, and wash your hands after handling it so you can’t transmit the virus to other body parts, to surfaces of your house, to objects, or to other people.
  • Be especially careful if your hands or feet are often in water, this is one way the virus enters the body, particularly if you have cuts or abrasions.
  • Always wear shoes in public places like swimming pools or saunas.
  • Always practice safe sex.
  • Try not to bite your nails, this will create tiny wounds that make it easier for the virus to enter the body.
  • Make sure to get enough sleep, eat properly and maintain a healthy lifestyle to support a healthy immune system.
  • Do your research, and if you consider it right for you, get the HPV vaccine.

Warts on Children (Water Warts)

One of the most common warts seen on children are molluscum contagiosum, or more commonly called water warts. Unlike most other warts, these lesions are caused by the Molluscum Contagiosum Virus (MCV) instead of HPV.  Small, pink or skin colored, filled with a waxy substance and usually possessing a small dip in the middle of each, these warts normally show up on children on the face, arms, legs, torso and abdomen.  These warts tend to resolve on their own, often becoming inflamed, and breaking apart before they do.  The good news is, once they resolve, children are immune for life from contracting them.

Children who suffer from sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema are at a higher risk of contracting these warts. Whenever the bumps are visible on the skin, water warts are contagious.  Children should be reminded to not participate in any close contact activities until they resolve.  Children should also be convinced to NOT share personal belongings, and the hardest one of all, children should be careful to not play with the bumps themselves, and if they do so, they should wash their hands afterwards so they do not spread the virus further on their bodies.

Wart Removed?  Aftercare Help & Advice

After wart removal there are certain things you can expect, symptoms you need to watch for, and things you should refrain from doing until you are feeling better.

  • Find someone to drive you home from the hospital. You don’t know how you will be feeling, or how you may react if you have undergone general anaesthesia.
  • Be prepared for soreness and tenderness around the surgery site. Make sure you have some over the counter pain meds such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to take the edge off.
  • Take a day or two off of work. If you push yourself too hard you may prolong healing or risk infection.
  • Avoid any intense activity for a couple of days.
  • Keep a watchful eye for excessive bleeding. If it feels like it isn’t clotting, or the bleeding continues for too long, see your doctor.
  • Be prepared for a scar and research ways to fade their appearance.
  • Keep the dressing clean and watch for infection. If the area becomes hot, inflamed, red, shows streaks of red, smells or is leaking any type of discharge, get yourself to the hospital right away.
  • Prepare yourself for the possibility the wart may grow back.
Sultan

Related Posts

leave your comment

Copyright © 2018 Academic Association of Medicine. All Right Reserved.