Wart Removal

What are Warts?

Warts are growths on the skin and are a common problem, mainly in young people.

What Causes Warts?

Warts are caused by infection with the human papilloma virus. There are many different types of human papilloma virus, each causing different types of warts. For example, common warts are associated with HPV 1, 2 and 4. Plantar warts on the soles of the feet (or verruca warts) are often associated with HPV 1, 2, 4 and 60.

Common warts are particularly common in younger people – as immunity develops to the wart virus, they become less common in adults.

Warts generally affect the skin, but also can occur in the anogenital region. Some sub-types of wart virus, especially HPV 16 and 18, can be associated with cancer of the cervix, anus and genital cancers, as well as some mouth and throat cancers.

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Wart Treatments

Warts are notoriously difficult to treat or remove, particularly if they have been present for a long time, are large, or multiple in nature. However, with persistence, cure rates of up to 70% are possible.

More suitable for smaller, isolated warts. These include cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen (often used for verruca warts), laser therapy or surgical wart removal with a curette.

There are many over the counter topical agents available, but stronger wart creams, particularly with Salicylic Acid, do have a better success rate. Treatment, however, is prolonged (for eight to 12 weeks).

Treatments designed to stimulate the immune system to get rid of warts are most suitable for multiple warts, and include Imiquimod crème. Oral agents taken over a period of time to try and stimulate the immune system include Zinc supplements and drugs such as Cimetidine and Ranitidine.

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