Warts are growths on the skin that are caused by a viral infection. They are non-cancerous and usually harmless, but they can be a nuisance, unsightly and in some cases painful. There are several different types of warts and they can grow anywhere on the body, including under the arms. There are numerous different types of treatments used to remove underarm warts, including both home remedies and professional treatment.
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Check the skin anomaly carefully to insure that it really is a wart and not a mole, rash, skin tag, boil or cyst. While none of these skin abnormalities are typically cause for serious concern, they are all treated differently.
Try to remove the wart at home before seeking medical attention. Home remedies, such as applying duct tape to the wart (see Tips), have some medical research behind them suggesting their effectiveness. Over-the-counter medications such as salicylic acid applied to the wart, can also provide relief. All home remedies, including those involving over-the-counter medications, will take some time, typically six to 10 weeks, to completely remove the wart.
Seek medical attention for stubborn underarm warts that do not respond to home treatment. The doctor will evaluate the wart and determine the best method for removal. Depending on the age of the patient, the location of the underarm wart and other factors, the doctor may recommend freezing, laser surgery, chemical blistering, or electrosurgery.
Seek medical attention for an underarm wart that is red, swollen or tender to the touch. If the wart is bleeding or there is any kind of discharge coming out of it, there may be a more serious underlying problem that requires medical attention.
Treat the area where the wart has been removed carefully. The area will likely be tender and it may be raw and subject to infection. Apply first aid cream and keep covered with a bandage until the area is completely healed.
Most warts will eventually go away by themselves. If it is possible to ignore the wart, most patients are better off doing so.
A study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:1121-1125.) sought to test the effectiveness of treating warts by covering them in duct tape. The study reported that after a period of six weeks the wart had disappeared in 16 percent of the children in the duct tape group compared with 6 percent in the placebo group. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest why this treatment works.
References and ResourcesWarts.org
American Academy of Dermatologists
Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine