Treating Oral Warts

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It might surprise you, as it does many people, that warts can in fact grow on the inside of your mouth and around your lips. These tiny and irksome growths are called oral warts, and are caused by the same virus that is responsible for other warts, the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus stimulates cell growth and division which causes the warty growth we see, and in the case of oral warts these tend to be either frond like or small flat lumps. Oral warts have some stigma attached to them because they are most often transmitted through either kissing or oral sex. Warts are very contagious, and oral warts can also carry with them a risk of mouth and throat cancer, which is why it is best to seek a doctor’s advice if you notice any growths on the inside of your mouth.

How are oral warts treated?

Like facial and genital warts, special precautions and care need to be taken when treating oral warts. Over the counter treatments which are great for warts on your hands and feet are definitely not a good call for oral warts, and your doctor is the one who should advise you on which treatment is best for you based on the number of warts and their location in your mouth.

Standard surgery or cryotherapy are often the recommended methods of treatment when it comes to warts, and both are extremely successful in eradicating oral warts quickly and efficiently. A surgical procedure will be the simple excision of warts, while cryotherapy will involve applying some liquid nitrogen to the warts to freeze them off. Upon exposure to liquid nitrogen, the wart becomes a blister that comes off after about a week or so. A treatment called cantharidin is also used, which basically dehydrates warts and leaves them to blister. Laser therapies can be useful, but can be expensive, painful, and carry the risk of scarring. Laser therapies can also cause irritation to the sensitive skin within your mouth.

There are topical creams which your doctor can prescribe that work well for oral warts, these include retinoids, substances which are known to negatively affect the growth of warts. While all these treatments are used where appropriate, there is always a chance of reinfection. Fortunately in the case of oral warts regular brushing and the use of mouthwash can keep your mouth healthy, clean, and wart free.

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