Wart Removal: When to Call the Doctor

Although many types of warts go away on their own, you may be uncertain as to whether or not you should go to your doctor for a wart treatment. Warts are caused by the virus known as human papillomavirus, or HPV. There are over 100 identified types of HPV, and the body’s immune system can sometimes fight the virus without medical intervention. There are times, however, when you should contact your doctor for advice or treatment.

Is It a Wart?

If you do not know for certain that it is a wart, have your doctor take a look at it to determine if it is something more serious, such as a cancerous growth. Warts can take many different forms anywhere on your skin, but they typically have a cauliflower-like appearance. They may also have a black dot in the center, which is a broken blood vessel.

Unusual Appearance or Changes

If the wart becomes red or swollen or if it becomes painful to touch, then you should contact your doctor. You should also be concerned if it starts to bleed or ooze discharge.


Plantar warts, which occur on the feet, may become too painful to walk or stand on. If this is the case, visit your doctor for treatment.

Previously Unsuccessful Treatments

If you have tried over-the-counter treatments for two to three months without success, you should see your doctor. If the warts continue to spread rapidly despite treatments, your doctor can help you find an alternative that may be more effective.

Genital Warts

If you suspect that you have genital warts, do not try to treat them with over-the-counter treatments. You will need to be examined by your doctor. Women may need to have additional tests to determine if there are warts on the cervix. There is no cure for genital warts, but your doctor can remove them after each outbreak.

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