Warts - Treatment

Many over-the-counter wart treatments are available that remove hand and foot warts. These products are usually in the form of lotions, ointments or plasters. They work by removing the skin affected by a wart virus. After treatment, the skin and wart simply drop off. These products must be used with care, however. The chemicals they contain are quite strong and can affect healthy skin as well as infected skin. People with diabetes or heart conditions should not use these products.

Non-prescription drugs are also available for the treatment of flat warts. These products cause the skin to become saturated with water. Over time, the skin layer peels off, taking the wart virus with it. Flat wart remedies can take as long as three months to work, depending on the size and depth of the wart.

Moist patches are often the easiest and most effective products to use. They are placed on a wart for forty-eight hours. Then they are replaced with a new patch. In some cases, the patch may irritate the skin. In that case, the person should switch to a milder medication or stop treatment for a while.

Professional Treatment

A doctor should be consulted if home remedies do not work within a month. Doctors have many methods available for removing warts. One method involves the use of chemicals stronger than those found in non-prescription drugs. The use of these chemicals is often effective, but they may produce some burning and discomfort for a few days.

A second method of wart removal is cryosurgery (pronounced KRY-oh-SUR-juh-ree). Cryosurgery is the process by which tissue is frozen with liquid nitrogen, which has a temperature of about 330° F (200° C). This process freezes the tissue very quickly and the frozen tissue can then simply be removed. Healing of the frozen area usually occurs quickly.

Another method of wart removal is electrocautery in which an electric needle is used to burn the wart. The tissue around the wart is killed and can be peeled off, taking the wart with it. Laser surgery works in a similar way. A laser beam is aimed at the wart and the heat of the laser kills the skin around the wart, and the skin and wart simply fall off.

Genital warts are very difficult to treat. Any of the described methods can be used. But the first round of treatment may not be very effective. Although it may be possible to remove the warts, the virus that causes the warts may continue to survive under the skin and can produce new warts at a later time.

Plantar warts are also very resistant to treatment. The use of chemicals can be successful if the warts are diagnosed early. However, the treatment may take many months. In the most serious cases, surgical removal of the warts may be necessary.

Alternative Treatment

A number of alternative approaches have been recommended for the treatment of warts. The scientific justification for some of these treatments is inconclusive. The suggestions listed should not be used for genital warts, which should be treated by a doctor.

For the treatment of common or plantar warts, alternative practitioners recommend the following remedies:

  • Apply a paste made of vitamin C powder to the wart for one to two weeks.
  • Place a crushed or sliced clove of garlic over the wart for seven consecutive nights while sleeping.
  • Soak the wart in water. Then make scratches in the wart with a sterile needle. Apply drops of thuja dissolved in alcohol to the wart. Repeat several times a day for one to two weeks.
  • Tape a piece of banana peel on the wart over night, with the inner side of the peel touching the skin. Repeat nightly for one to two weeks.

Strengthening one's immune system is an objective of some forms of alternative treatment. A stronger immune system may be able to fight off the viruses that cause warts. A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C, and E may help strengthen the immune system. Avoiding stress is thought to be another way of strengthening the immune system.

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