Treating Warts is hard and frustrating

Treating warts is hard and frustrating. Even when treated well, 3 out of 10 times the wart does not go away after several treatments or comes back. It is what warts do best.

Warts are caused by a virus and easily spread. All of us probably come in contact with the wart virus every day. Some people fight off the wart virus well. Others do not. We are not as yet sure why the warts get visible. In other words, we have not answered why some people get them, while others do not.

There are over 80 different types of the virus that cause warts (human papilloma virus or HPV). The most common warts seen in the office are warts on the bottom of the feet (plantar warts), on the hands, and in the genital area (condyloma). When numerous warts come out in small clumps, they are called mosaic warts. When they occur under a fingernail or toenail, they are called periungual warts.

A poor diet may also play a role in you showing warts. If you have low folic acid (a vitamin) levels, you are more likely to get genital warts that can cause cancer. We are not sure whether diet affects warts on the hands and feet. Stress, immune disorders (like AIDS), and other conditions, probably increase the chance of having warts.

Over-the-counter treatments are very common and work well IF you use them as recommended. Duofilm is a strong liquid that is now available over the counter. A small drop is applied to the wart every night before bed and the area covered. The dead tissue is rubbed off each evening before you put another drop on. Generally, four to six weeks of this for hand and foot warts will take care of them. If this does not work, it is time to see your doctor.

There is now a new way to treat warts. It is injection therapy with Candida antigen. Candida is the yeast which causes vaginal infections in women. To prepare the solution for injection, the yeast is killed. All of us are exposed to this yeast every day. If the yeast antigen is injected just under the skin, it will cause a red bump much like a mosquito bite. When given as a shot, the skin should turn red in a few days. If it does not, then the immune system is not working right. Injecting this material into a wart causes the immune system to become very active in that area.

The body attacks the injected yeast and removes it. It also gets tricked into attacking the wart. The wart may be taken away by the body. The advantages of injection therapy is that it is quick, does not hurt much, and there is no scarring or open sore for you to deal with. You can go back to full doing what you usually do, including swimming, sports, jazzercise, etc.... No special care is needed.

Often the warts will turn somewhat black and the crust will fall off. About 1/2 of the time a second injection will be needed one month later and half of these will respond. In the people who have not gotten better after the first or second injection, a third injection another month later can be tried. Approximately 1/2 of these will respond. We don't normally give more than three injections but at times have given five. If all three injections have failed, then one of the older treatments will be needed.

The advantage is only three visits and injecting one wart results in other warts resolving. Please make an appointment to see if you are a candidate for this therapy for stubborn warts.

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