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Understanding Warts: Causes, Symptoms, and Natural Remedies

Contrary to old wives’ tales, you can’t get warts from frogs, toads, or any other amphibians that have weird-looking bumps on their skin. In fact, warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and they can grow anywhere on the body. Admittedly, warts are a bit unsightly, but many of them are medically harmless and go away on their own.  In this article, we’re taking a closer look at what warts are, the various types of warts that exist, and how you can treat and prevent them naturally.

Photo credit: David J. via Flickr

Causes of Warts

People of all ages can develop warts. Far more children and teenagers have them than adults. This may because the adult immune system is more developed and can fight off the virus that causes warts. However, adults with immune system issues often have more warts than others who don’t. There are many different types of HPV that cause warts on the hands and feet, although warts can also appear in the genital area and are known as genital warts.

Different Types of Warts

Different types of warts can look differently on the skin – perhaps like a blister, tiny cauliflower, or raised bump with a rough texture. The most common types of warts grow on the toes and fingers, have a rounded top, and are often grayish in color.

Plantar warts are warts that grow on the soles of one or both feet, and these obviously make walking very uncomfortable. Periungual warts grow under the fingernails and toenails, while flat warts typically form on the thighs and arms. If you have warts that appear around your nose or mouth, these could be filiform warts if they resemble a skin tag or flap.

How to Treat Warts Naturally

Most warts will vanish on their own without any treatment at all within a few years. But a few years can be a long time to wait if your wart interferes with daily activities or makes you feel self-conscious. To get rid of warts and keep them away, it is necessary to boost the body’s immune system and strengthen the cells that fight infection from the inside out.

There are over-the-counter wart treatments that are made with salicylic acid to help them go away. It may also help to gently use a pumice stone to rub dead skin tissue off of a wart before applying this type of topical treatment so that it can penetrate the skin more effectively. It typically takes a few months for the wart to go away with this method of treatment. You can also try the duct tape method for removing warts, which involves covering a wart with duct tape for a few days and then soaking it and rubbing it to remove the dead skin cells.

Warts that are painful, change colors, or show signs of infection should be checked out by a doctor. A physician can also administer cryotherapy to a wart, which involves using liquid nitrogen to destroy the cells of the wart and cause it to fall off. Several sessions of cryotherapy may be needed to get rid of the wart entirely.

Photo credit: Ross Dunn via Flickr

Tips to Prevent Warts from Spreading

Unfortunately, since warts are caused by a virus, they can be spread from one person to another and also one of your own body parts to another part. Make sure to always wash your hands after treating a wart and cover warts with bandages to avoid accidental exposure. It’s also a smart idea to avoid going barefoot in public places, to avoid biting the fingernails, and to always keep hands and feet clean and moisturized to prevent warts from forming.

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Harvey Lee - Great info! I have warts and I want to get rid of them. This article is very helpful for me. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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