If you?re in a hurry to battle against warts, head over to Natural Remedies section where we recommend a list of proven effective natural methods of treating warts.
( Do you sit long hours in front of a computer? Here?s the rescue. )
If you got warts, worry not. They are caused by a type of virus called Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. Most of the people are infected with some strains of HPV at some time in their life. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that almost every person who is sexually-active will get eventually get it if they don?t get the HPV vaccine.
But warts caused by some of the strains of HPV need to be treated seriously. Why? Read on.
Types of HPV?
First let?s look at what types of HPV exist in general. The Mayo Clinic reports that more than 100 HPV strains exist. Most common are those types spread through sexual contact, which includes about 30 strains. Although the names of all of the strains aren?t well known, HPV can be categorized into three types: non-genital, low-risk genital and high-risk genital strains.
Non-Genital Strains of HPV cause warts on the body excluding the genital area, inside the mouth or throat, in or around the anus. Stanford University lists HPV Types 2 and 7 as the causes of common warts, Types 1, 2 and 4 for plantar warts, and Types 3 and 10 for flat cutaneous warts. These types of warts are generally small, smooth or grainy, and can appear individually or in clusters.
A small number of HPV strains ? most commonly Types 5 and 8 ? cause epidermodysplasia verruciformis. Also known as Lewandowsky-Lutz dysplasia or Lutz-Lewandowsky epidermodysplasia verruciformis, this rare genetic skin disorder is characterized by susceptibility to HPVs of the skin. It?s associated with a high risk for developing squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, according to the Dermatology Online Journal. Epidermodysplasia verruciformis causes scaly macules and papules to grow, particularly on the hands and feet.
Low-Risk Genital Strains of HPV are those considered to cause low-risk problems, be asymptomatic, or to cause low-grade cervical changes such as mild dysplasia. The only visible symptom of low-risk genital HPV strains is genital warts. Rutgers University reports that genital warts are usually caused by strains 6 and 11, although HPV types 42, 43 and 44 are also known causes.
High-Risk Genital Strains are those known to cause cervical or genital cancers, and in some cases, oral and throat cancers. Rutgers University reports that the two most prevalent types are 16 and 18, which are seen in most cases of cervical cancer. Strains HPV 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 68 are also associated with intraepithelial neoplasia, a type of carcinoma and precursor to cancers of the anus, mouth, throat, penis, prostate, cervix, vagina and vulva.
Types of warts?
Knowing what HPVs are, let?s take a look at a range of ?masterpieces? they may deliver on our body. I?m going to show you a lot of pictures here. So be prepared?
- Common warts are small, grainy skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands. Rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots, which are small, clotted blood vessels. Common warts are transmitted by touch. They are caused by HPV strains 2 and 4 (most common); also types 1, 3, 26, 29, and 57.
- Filiform warts are long, thin, flesh-colored warts that can grow on the face, eyelids, neck or lips. Filiform warts form when a strain of HPV virus causes the top layer of the skin to grow too rapidly. While highly contagious and unattractive in appearance, this type of wart is benign, painless and often responds well to treatment. Since they tend to form around your eyelids and lips, they?re also known as facial warts. HPV Strains 1, 2, 4, 27, and 29 are known to cause filiform warts.
- Flat warts usually disappear on their own and require no treatment. You may want to receive treatment, however, to speed up your recovery time. Flat warts often occur on the face or hands, so the harsher treatments used for other types of warts are often ruled out because they may leave scars. Flat warts are caused by HPV types 3, 10, 28, and 49.
- Plantar warts are small growths that usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet. This pressure may also cause plantar warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus). The HPV strains that cause plantar warts are 1, 2, and 4. They are not highly contagious. So the virus isn?t easily transmitted by direct contact from one person to another. But it thrives in warm, moist environments. Consequently, you may contract the virus by walking barefoot around swimming pools or locker rooms.
- Periungual warts are warts that cluster around the fingernail or toenail. They appear as thickened, fissured cauliflower-like skin around the nail plate. Periungual warts often cause loss of the cuticle and paronychia. Nail biting increases susceptibility to these warts. Periungual warts most often are caused by HPV types 1, 2, and 4.
- Mosaic warts are tightly packed clusters of small plantar warts that resemble a mosaic. They look like a rough area on the bottom of your feet that has a number of small black dots in it. You might mistake mosaic warts for calluses, but they are actually clusters of plantar warts. While mosaic warts will eventually disappear without treatment, you will likely want to treat them because of their ugliness and the pain that they can cause when you walk. Mosaic warts are caused by HPV 1 when people contact the virus when walking barefoot on infected surfaces such as bathroom floors, locker room floors and swimming pool decks. The virus can live for months without finding a host. It accesses the body by entering through cuts, scrapes, cracks or other damaged areas of the skin. Not everyone who encounters HPV 1 will get warts, however. Some people, including children, people with immune system problems, people who have had plantar warts before and those who have damaged skin are likelier to get mosaic plantar warts than are others.
- Oral warts can appear anywhere within the oral cavity or on the lips, and are generally not painful unless they have been irritated or traumatized. Typically they are small and discrete, and there is usually only one or a small number of them present at any one time. Rough, and lumpy, they can appear in a number of different guises; as dome-shaped growths that may be white or the color of normal mucosa, flat-topped elevations that are the color of normal mucosa, or thickened frond-like growths. Oral warts are becoming more prevalent in our society with the increase of oral sex in the past decade. Oral warts may spontaneously disappear with time, though this is not always guaranteed. Oral warts are more dangerous than most other types of warts as they can lead to cancer. Therefore, if you notice any unusual growth in your mouth or on your lips a doctor must be consulted immediately. To prevent oral warts, condoms should be used when engaging in oral sex. Dental dams are also useful for prevention of oral warts. Keep in mind that a condom will not cover all areas that are infected so it is not a guarantee that you will be protected. In order to 100% prevent being infected with HPV you must refrain from having sexual relations with an infected person. HPV strains 2, 6, 11, 13, and 32 are identified as being responsible for oral warts.
- Genital warts are soft growths that appear on the genitals. They?re a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and can cause pain, discomfort, and itching. They?re especially dangerous for women because some types of HPV can also cause cancer of the cervix and vulva. Genital warts are transmitted through sexual activity, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. You may not start to develop warts for several weeks or months after infection. Genital warts are not always visible to the human eye. They may be very small and the color of the skin or slightly darker. The top of the growths may resemble a cauliflower and may feel smooth or slightly bumpy to the touch. They may occur as a cluster of warts, or just one wart. Genital warts on males may appear on penis, scrotum, groin, thighs, and inside or around the anus. Genital warts in females may appear inside of the vagina or anus, outside of the vagina or anus, and on cervix. High-risk HPV strains include HPV 16 and 18, which cause about 70% of cervical cancers. Other high-risk HPV viruses include 31, 33, 45, 52, 58, and a few others. Low-risk HPV strains, such as HPV 6 and 11, cause about 90% of genital warts, which rarely develop into cancer. These growths can look like bumps.
- Electrodesiccation ? The dermatologist will apply a topical anesthetic or use a needle to insert a local anesthetic to the area to be treated. It is important that during this procedure you inform the dermatologist if you feel any sensations of pain when the wart treatment is being conducted. If you experience pain during the procedure, it may be caused by not having enough anesthetic or the anesthetic needs more time to activate. The dermatologist will use a probe that will send electrical currents into the wart to cause the blood vessels feeding the core of the wart to die. You may experience some odd tingling sensations, but not real pain. The wart treatment process is short and done on an outpatient basis. The dermatologist will apply a bandage to the area to help avoid infection.
- Cryosurgery or Cryotherapy ? Most doctors use liquid nitrogen, which can reach temperatures as low as -321 F to freeze off the wart. Your doctor may shave off dead skin on the wart area with a blade before doing the cryosurgery. Your doctor will use either a cotton swab or a spray ?cryogun? to apply liquid nitrogen to the wart and some of the skin around it. This may feel like an ice cube touching your skin, but it only lasts a few seconds. Your skin may feel numb briefly and may also hurt, turn red, then form a blister. Eventually, a scab will form where the liquid nitrogen was applied. That will fall off about a week later.
Curettage ? It is a form of surgical wart treatment that involves incising the wart from the skin using a sharp knife or a small, spoon-shaped tool. It is often done together with electrosurgery, where warts are burned or cauterized using an electrical current. While surgical curettage can eliminate the entire wart in a single procedure, it carries risks of recurrences. Even after curettage, warts may return to the affected site because the surgery only removed the skin lesion, but failed to eradicate the HPV. Curettage is not recommended for warts that cover extensive areas of skin or involve areas where potential scarring will be cosmetically disfiguring (for instance, the face).
Laser ? often with a pulse dye laser or carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Pulse dye lasers (wavelength 582 nm) work by selective absorption by blood cells (specifically hemoglobin). CO2 lasers work by selective absorption by water molecules. Pulse dye lasers are less destructive and more likely to heal without scarring. CO2 laser works by vaporizing and destroying tissue and skin. Laser treatments can be painful, expensive (though covered by many insurance plans), and not extensively scarring when used appropriately. CO2 lasers will require local anaesthetic. Pulse dye laser treatment does not need conscious sedation or local anesthetic. It takes 2 to 4 treatments but can be many more for extreme cases. Typically, 10?14 days are required between treatments. Preventative measures are important.
Natural Remedies (Non-Invasive Treatment Methods)
The advantage of surgery wart removal methods mentioned above is that they remove the wart instantly. The downside however, is that they don?t wipe out HPV residing deeper in your body. That pretty much guarantees recurrence of those annoying skin lesions. They also almost always leave scars where the warts are removed. If you?re like me who don?t really care for these invasive but ineffective wart removal methods? Here are some proven natural remedies you can try at home that will hopefully help you from the root level.
Thuja is a genus of coniferous trees in the Cupressaceae (cypress family). There are five species in the genus, two native to North America and three native to eastern Asia. The genus is monophyletic and sister to Thujopsis. Members are commonly known as arborvitaes, (from Latin for tree of life) thujas or cedars. In the 19th century Thuja was commonly used as an externally applied tincture or ointment for the treatment of warts, ringworm and thrush, and a local injection of the tincture was used for treating venereal warts. The natives of Canada used the needles of Thuja occidentalis (Eastern White Cedar) to make a tea that has been shown to contain 50 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams; this helped prevent and treat scurvy.
Thuja is also the name of ready-to-use solution produced by Herb Pharm that you can conveniently purchase from iHerb or similar sites. The Thuja Extract that the product uses is prepared from the fresh (undried) branchlet of Thuja occidentals trees which are sustainably wildcrafted in their natural habitat. To assure optimal extraction of Thuja?s compounds, only the young tender branchlet are harvested, which are then promptly extracted while still fresh and succulent.
Castor oil is a versatile topical remedy, often used to treat warts, scars, and bruises. The Castor bean (Ricinus communis) has been used for thousands of years for an amazing number of maladies. The seeds are also a source of ricin, one of the most toxic chemicals known to man. Fortunately, the oil does not contain ricin so it can be used safely. You will be amazed at the versatility of castor oil. Castor oil works very well to treat warts on the feet or hands. Most treatments only take 2 or 3 weeks to fully cure the infection. The treatment can be accelerated by rubbing the warts with ACV before applying the castor oil.
Baking soda is an effective home remedy for warts that works surprisingly fast. Due to the antiseptic and strong anti-inflammatory properties present in baking soda, it can help combat the HPV that cause warts.
- Mix one teaspoon of white vinegar with baking soda to make a thick paste. Dab the paste on your warts twice a day (once in the morning and once at night).
- You can also mix baking soda and castor oil together to form a paste. Apply it to the wart and cover the area with a bandage. Leave it on overnight and remove the bandage the next morning. Repeat this remedy for several days, until the wart is gone.
Aloe vera is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that can be very effective in treating warts.
- Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf.
- Apply the fresh aloe vera gel on your wart using a clean cotton ball. Then use a bandage or tape to hold the cotton ball over the wart.
- Repeat the process twice daily for two weeks.
If you do not have an aloe vera plant at home, you can buy aloe vera gel and rub it on the wart several times a day.
Aloe Vera Gel
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used to treat warts. This method has withstood the test of time. In general, apple cider vinegar is believed to work for warts in the following ways:
- Vinegar is an acid (acetic acid), so it can kill some types of bacteria and viruses on contact.
- The vinegar burns and slowly destroys the infected skin, causing the wart to fall off, similar to how salicylic acid works.
- The irritation from the acids stimulates your immune system?s ability to fight the wart.
The main method recommended for treating a wart with apple cidar vinegar is fairly simple. You just need a cotton ball, water, apple cider vinegar, and duct tape or a bandage.
- Mix two parts apple cidar vinegar in one part water.
- Soak a cotton ball in the vinegar/water solution.
- Apply the cotton ball directly on top of the wart.
- Cover with tape or a bandage, keeping the cotton ball on the wart overnight as you sleep (or for longer if possible).
- Remove the cotton ball and bandage or tape and discard.
- Repeat every night until the wart falls off.
Another method is to create a solution for submerging your hands or feet:
- Mix apple cidar vinegar and water in equal portion in a bucket or large container.
- Submerge the area affected with warts for about 15 minutes each day.
- Rinse the skin with water when you?re done.
Apple Cider Vinegar
With these powerful natural ?weapons?, we wish you every success in your battle against warts and HPV!