Warts Life Cycle Immune System

The link between the immune system and common viruses is widely understood. We know that if we get really worn down, eat poorly and burn the candle at both ends, we’re more likely to catch a cold.

But did you know that those same activities, while not exactly causes of warts, could make it easier for you to develop warts, and make those warts harder to treat?

HPV and the Immune System

The human papillomavirus (HPV), and its more than 100 different strains, are the real causes of warts.

Very often, your immune system can fight off HPV and warts go away without treatment. Roughly 25 percent of warts disappear within six months, according to Dr. Alan Greene, and 65 percent are gone in two years.

However, some warts resist even aggressive treatment. Scientists say your immune system status has a direct effect on how your body handles HPV infection in general, and warts in particular.

Immune-suppressed patients with lymphoma, HIV or who are on chemotherapy are more likely to have long-lasting warts. Warts are also more common in children, and their still-developing immune systems might explain why.

Immune System Boosters to Prevent Warts

You have many options for strengthening your immune system, but the following lifestyle tips are commonly recommended as immune system boosters:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine
  • Drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Get a minimum of 25 to 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce the amount of sugar you eat
  • Try to minimize stress.

Supplements and Other Immune System Boosters

Along with a healthy diet, many people use supplements as immune system boosters. However, be sure to check with your doctor before you start taking any vitamins, minerals or other supplements. The following supplements do not guarantee common or genital wart prevention. However, they are recommended by many experts as a way to strengthen your immune system:

  • Bioflavonoids
  • Carotenoids
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Green Tea
  • Magnesium
  • Propolis
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc.

Note that just because a pill is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s harmless, so try to work out an immune system building program with your health care provider.

And remember, you can take other steps to help your body fight off warts. To prevent plantar warts, you can wear flip flops or sandals in locker rooms or public swimming areas. For genital wart prevention, using condoms will effectively reduce, but not eliminate, your risk.

Resources

Brannon, H. (2010). Warts. Retrieved June 7, 2010, from: http://dermatology.about.com/cs/warts/a/warts.htm.

Greene, A. (2008). Wart treatment. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from: http://www.drgreene.com/qa/wart-treatment?pagination=1.

White, H. (2006). Warts? Your immune system may need a boost. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from: http://searchwarp.com/swa63118.htm.

WomenFitness.Net. (n.d.). Top 10 towards building a strong immune system. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from: http://www.womenfitness.net/immune-system.htm.