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Women's Health

What is senile warts?

Senile warts is actually a bit of a nic-name. This condition is actually called Seborrheic keratosis and is a non-cancerous benign skin growth that originates in keratinocytes (the predominant cell type in the epidermis). Like liver spots, Seborrheic keratoses are seen more often as people age...

The cause of Seborrheic keratosis is unclear. Because they are common on sun-exposed areas such as the back, arms, face, and neck, ultraviolet light may play a role, as may genetics. A mutation of a gene coding for a certain growth factor receptor has also been associated with the condition.

When correctly diagnosed, no treatment is usually necessary and the matter becomes one of a concern for cosmetic appearance rather than medical need, although there is a small risk of localized infection  caused by picking at the lesions if this occurs, or if a growth becomes excessively itchy or is irritated by clothing or jewelry it may need removing.

Small lesions are often most easily treated with light electrocautery. Larger lesions can be treated with electrodessication and curettage, shave excision, or cryotherapy. When correctly performed, removal of seborrheic keratoses will not cause much visible scarring except in persons with dark skin tones.

Remember that despite the 'nic-name' these are not actual 'warts'. They are NOT caused by the wart virus (HPV or Human Papilloma Virus). They are instead just over-growths of certain cells in the skin layer called "basal cells". As such, they are also not infectious and cannot be spread from person to person.

In normal skin, basal cells are found at the bottom of the epidermis and, as the cells grow and mature, they work their way towards the surface of the skin. At a certain point, they die and just leave a keratin layer. This layer acts as a protective layer for the skin. In areas of friction, such as knuckles, heels or knees, this layer can become quite thickened. Manual workers often have very thickened keratin layers over their hands where they use their hands continually.

With Seborrhoeic Keratosis, abnormally growing basal cells produce excessive amounts of keratin. This is what gives the crusty layer on top of a Seborrhoeic Keratosis.

A study from Japan was published this summer that documented the efficacy of 3 Vitamin D preparations at treating senile warts in the elderly. The study enrolled 116 patients who applied topical Vitamin D to senile warts for a treatment period ranging from 3-12 months. Three different preparations of Vitamin D were among the choices for use including tacalcitol, calcipotriol, or maxacalcitol.

At completion of the study 30.2% showed complete disappearance in senile wart lesions. Another 46.6% showed a decrease in lesion volume between 40 and 80%. There were no side effects observed from treatment. No participants reported any swelling or redness to lesion, as can be common with treatments mentioned above.

In vitro experimentation with tacalcitol on tissue samples of senile warts revealed the possible mechanism as induced apoptosis. Meaning that the vitamin D cause cellular death of the tissue, resulting in decreases size of the lesion. So topical Vitamin D (D3) may be an efficient treatment choice for some people. Remember this is from one study only.

I would also suggest Total Balance and Omega 3 QH / Ultra, to try to help skin generally through overall health improvement, this may help (plus the CoQ10, Astaxanthin and Lycopene in the fish oil formula). The Skincare products may help to improve the general health and strength of the skin also, so may be worth a consideration. Aloe vera gel (pure sap) can also help as an antibacterial to help prevent infection.

There are some herbal remedies on the Net suggested for this condition, but the treatment is anecdotal only, not confirmed, so they may be of some help with some people, not with others.

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