Oh my gosh, I have a wart! If you have experienced having warts in the past you know how obnoxious and difficult it can be to get rid of them. Although a wart infestation can be hideous and embarrassing, most people tend to overreact when they get one. In this class we will take a look at the causes and how to get rid of warts fast.
Warts are caused by the human papillomaviruses or more commonly know as HPV. It is one of the most common viruses in the world with several different strains that effect almost half the world’s population. There are four types of warts: common, plantars, flat and genital. They usually will show their ugly heads on your hands feet, and genitals. The following are some wart facts.
- Warts can take several months to grow before they are visible to the naked eye.
- Periungual warts can effect nail growth.
- Warts will go away on their own but it can take months or years before this happens. Generally they will turn black when they are about to go away.
- Warts, especially new ones, can be highly contagious and passed from human to human or on yourself.
Different Types of Warts
Warts come in all different shapes and sizes. Some form on their own and others will cluster in groups. The following is a brief description of different wart types to help you identify them.
Planters warts are a common wart that form on the sides and bottom of your feet. Typically they will be flat and painful as a result of your body’s weight constantly pushing down on them. This virus likes warm environments, so the shower floor at the gym is the perfect place for spreading them. Thus why a lot of athletes will experience problems with planter warts. They tend to spread fast due to your foot constantly being in a warm environment inside your shoe where dead skin falls off from the friction of your shoe, spreading the warts faster.
Flat warts tend to be much smaller and generally form in larger groups, sometimes as much as 10-50 warts. They can form anywhere on your body. They are commonly found on your face and can be spread quickly in males from cuts while shaving. Women may also experience flat warts on their legs that spread quickly as result of cuts from shaving.
Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. They are spread through sexual contact of the genitals, anus and mouth. They are tiny oval shaped warts that are a flesh color. They may form in clumps and develop a cauliflower appearance.
Studies have show that genital warts can be associated with cervical cancer, as well as cancer of the vulva, anus and penis. Women should have regular pap tests to check for genital warts as they may lead to complications down the road.
When trying to remove genital warts you should always consult with a physician first.
How to Get Rid of Warts
Natural Home Remedies
- Cut a small piece of duct tape and place it over your wart and leave it for a week. After the week has passed remove the duct tape and soak the wart in warm water to help soften it. Use an emery board or pumice to rub the wart and remove the dead skin. Allow the infected area to dry and repeat this process until the wart is gone.
- Soak a cotton ball in vinegar and apply it to the wart with tape. Allow your wart to soak in the vinegar for at least an hour or two a day until the wart is gone.
- Apply castor oil to the wart every day. Castor oil helps to break down the tough surface of the wart. You can use a pumice stone every other day to help remove parts of the dead wart.
- Keep the wart clean and dry as possible. This will help further infection and spreading of warts keeping your problem to a minimum.
- Hot water can be used to treat warts. Use as hot of water as you can without burning yourself and soak the wart for ten minutes. Then use an emery board or pumice stone to file down the wart. This also helps to keep the infected area clean and prevent spreading but make sure to not file so hard that you cause bleeding as this will cause further spreading.
- Crush up some aspirin and mix it with warm water and apply to wart. Make sure to only apply it to the infected area. The salicylic acid in the aspirin can help eat away at the wart. Apply daily until the wart is gone.
Over The Counter Remedies
Most otc wart treatments contain salicylic acid similar to the aspirin but much stronger. Make sure to read the instructions before using these types of products. Higher dosages of salicylic acid shouldn’t be used on children. Another great product that has worked for me in the past has been using an over the counter freezing applicator. They use liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill the wart. Dr. Scholls makes a great product called Freeze Away.
Medical Prodcedures to Remove Warts
- Laser treatment is effective but may leave scars and doesn’t actually kill the virus so the wart may return.
- Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen similar to the Dr. Scholls product discussed above. It freezes the wart and kills the infected tissue. Some people feel it is painful but I don’t think it’s that bad at all.
- Miquimod is a drug generally administered to patients with genital warts but it can be effective for other types. It’s usually applied every other day and triggers the immunes system to fight off the wart.
- Surgical removal is also a very common procedure. Lidocaine is applied to the infected area and the wart and infected tissue is cut out.
Warts and the Immune System
Mitigating some of the risk factors associated with getting warts can be common sense. Avoid physical contact with infected people. Don’t use personal items from infected individuals, and take precautions in public places. If you’re heading to the gym wear some sandals in the shower. Although these things help, one thing most people don’t realize is that warts are more likely to show up in someone with a weaker immune system. Follow a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep to help strengthen your immune system.
How to Prevent Warts
- Wear sandals in public showers, around pools and in locker rooms.
- Don’t share towels, razors, underwear or shoes with other people. Even if a wart isn’t visible doesn’t mean it can’t be spread.
- Don’t touch warts as they can be contagious and spread.
- Keep your feet dry by wearing socks.
- Have an STD test done before having sex with a partner. Having protected sex doesn’t assure you won’t spread and contract genital warts.