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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Warts and Plantar Warts - Treatment Overview

Not all warts need to be treated. They generally go away on their own within months or years. This may be because, with time, your immune system is able to destroy the human papillomavirus that causes warts.

You may decide to treat a wart if it is:

  • Painful.
  • Embarrassing.
  • Easily irritated.
  • Growing or spreading to other parts of your body or to other people.

The goal of wart treatment is to destroy or remove the wart without creating scar tissue, which can be more painful than the wart itself. How a wart is treated depends on the type of wart, its location, and its symptoms. Also important is your willingness to follow a course of treatment that can last for weeks or months.

Wart treatment isn't always successful. Even after a wart shrinks or disappears, warts may return or spread to other parts of the body. This is because most treatments only destroy the wart and don't kill the virus that causes the wart.

Warts: Should I Treat Warts?

Treating the warts yourself

Many people don't treat warts unless they are unsightly or painful. You can treat warts yourself with:

If your child has a wart, treatment probably isn't needed. That's because warts often go away on their own. But if the wart is on your child's face or genitals or is painful or spreading, your child should see a doctor for treatment. Otherwise, it is usually safe to treat a wart at home with duct tape or salicylic acid. If the wart doesn't start to improve within 2 weeks, see your doctor.

For more information, see Home Treatment.

If you have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease, talk to your doctor before you try home treatment for warts.

Getting treatment from your doctor

Your doctor can treat warts with:

1 | 2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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