Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the leading sexually transmitted infection in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 40 types of this virus can affect men’s and women’s genital areas, leading to genital warts. Human papillomavirus also causes common or plantar warts, the types found on your hands, knees or feet. Although garlic may help to treat warts, you should still consult a doctor.
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Human papillomavirus causes cells on infected skin to become abnormal, forming warts. Common warts start off smooth, tiny and flesh colored, but become rough and grow to about 1/4 inch. They may also be present in clusters. Genital warts start off tiny and also develop to look like common warts. Plantar warts are painful, flat, rough callus-like growths with a small black dot in the middle.
Benefit of Garlic
Although there’s no treatment for HPV that causes warts, there are remedies for warts. One natural remedy is a raw garlic patch. Garlic has antiviral properties and prevents virally infected cells from multiplying, according to James A. Duke, a botanist and author of “The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healthy Foods.” Crush fresh garlic cloves with a small amount of olive oil and apply them to the wart and surrounding skin. Place a bandage over the garlic to keep it in place. Blisters may appear, but apply the mixture again until the wart disappears, advises Duke. If garlic is not effective, your doctor may use freezing, laser therapy or electrosurgery, also known as “burning,” to remove the wart.
Considering that there’s no cure for HPV, prevention is especially important. Warts are spread through direct contact. A vaccine -- Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant or Gardasil -- can prevent most genital warts and should be administered to females between ages 11 and 12 and those between 13 and 26. Boys and men between ages 9 and 26 can also take the vaccine for protection from most genital warts. Wearing a condom during every sexual encounter can also protect against genital warts, but not warts elsewhere on the body. Also, being monogamous with an uninfected partner will reduce your risk.
Warts can spread from one part of your body to another and may disappear without any treatment within about six to 24 months. However, warts often reappear. Do not panic and assume that your warts will lead to cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the types of HPV that cause warts are not the same as those that cause cancer and there’s no way to predict who will go on to develop cancer or other health issues after contracting HPV.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Stanford University: Human Papillomavirus
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Warts
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) - Prevention
- “The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healthy Foods”; James A. Duke, Ph.D.; 2008
- University of Michigan – University Health Service: HPV and Vaccination