Many of us have had a wart or two at some time or another. Warts are very common and although they may be a nuisance, they are unlikely to cause serious problems. They are benign growths caused by a virus in the outer skin layer involving the skin anywhere, but are most likely on the fingers, hands, arms and the neck region. Warts are not cancerous. They can be contagious from person to person and from one area to another on the same person. They are commonly seen in children and young adults between the ages of 1 and 30, but may occur at any age. By adulthood, 90% of all people have antibodies to the virus, indicating a history of at least one wart infection.

It is often seen that some people are prone to developing warts while others are not; this is due to an underlying susceptibility that plays a significant role in whether someone develops warts or not.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS — A wart is a small, raised bump on the skin with the following characteristics:
· Warts begin very small (1mm to 3mm) and grow larger.
· Warts have a rough surface and clearly defined borders.
· They are usually the same colour as the skin, but sometimes darker.
· Warts often appear in clusters around a “mother wart.”
· Warts are usually painless and don’t itch. They may be painful if they are located on the sole of the foot or on any area where there is repeated pressure.

CAUSES — Invasion of the outer skin layer (epidermis) by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus stimulates some cells to grow more rapidly than normal.

HOW TO PREVENT–To keep warts from spreading to other parts, don’t scratch them. Avoid nail biting and pulling off the skin around the nails, as a tiny cut or scratch makes the skin in the area more susceptible to developing warts.

· Spread to other body parts.
· Secondary infection of a wart.

MEDICATION—In modern medicine, the doctor may prescribe chemicals, such as mild salicylic acid, to destroy warts. Some other procedures followed include cryotherapy (freezing cells to destroy them) and electrosurgery (which uses heat to destroy cells). Cryotherapy is an out-patient procedure that doesn’t require anaesthesia or cause bleeding. Freezing stings or hurts slightly during application, and pain may increase a bit after thawing. 3 to 5 weekly treatments are usually necessary to destroy the wart. Electrosurgery procedures can usually be completed in one office visit, but healing takes longer, and secondary bacterial infections and scarring are more common. Laser treatment is becoming commoner in treating warts.

From the HOMOEOPATHIC point of view, a predisposition to develop warts is passed down the family line and is often activated in an individual after numerous vaccinations. Homoeopathy is well-known for the treatment of warts without any invasive procedure, getting rid of the warts gently and fairly rapidly with almost no recurrence. Treatment for warts along Homoeopathic lines would include a detailed case taking, with selection of a constitutional remedy for the affected individual. A course of such a remedy, in different potencies, over a period of time, works deeply to remove constitutional tendencies and reduce familial susceptibilities. Along with the constitutional remedy, the Homoeopathic physician may choose to give remedies which directly act on the warts. These may be oral medicines as well as local applications on the warts for faster removal; as the body starts to reject the warts, the warts tend to crumble off from underlying healthy skin. However, it should be remembered that unless this is followed by constitutional treatment to remove the predisposition, warts are likely to recur.