Is Wart Treatment Painful?

In short, it can be!

Depending on the type of wart treatment you choose, wart removal can either be relatively painless, cause discomfort in performing day to day activities or can be very painful. This is why it is important that you explore all available options before going to your GP to get treated because there are alternative treatments that are more effective and less painful.  

How does pain work?

Pain is a sensation that occurs when our body thinks that it is being damaged.  Our entire body is covered in pain receptors that when activated provide a stimulation to our central nervous system and brain. These receptors act as a warning system to prevent damage from occurring. Often they can act on their own without needing to be processed by sensory systems in the brain. For example, if you touch a hot element, your pain receptors tell you that it is painful before your brain is able to process it.  With warts, your pain receptors tell you that this area is painful when pressure is applied or when destructive treatments are used. Below is a diagram at how pain receptors work.

Wart Treatments

As discussed in the previous blog, there are many wart treatments available. The most common treatments being the application of liquid nitrogen (freezing), salicylic acid (chemical peel), and now the Swift™ Microwave treatment that is available at the Geelong Wart Clinic. 

Salicylic acid and the Swift™ treatment are the only treatments that are statistically proven to eliminate warts as compared to doing nothing.

Liquid Nitrogen

Many GP’s will choose to treat a wart with liquid nitrogen because it is quick and readily available within the practice. This treatment is very painful and involves multiple applications with the goal of raising a blister after freezing the skin. Research has proven this treatment to be INEFFECTIVE in the removal of warts and puts you at risk of infection from an open wound at the treatment site.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a treatment that is available over the counter and also is used at various podiatry clinics in much higher concentrations. This treatment is not painful but can cause some discomfort, and there is a risk that the uninfected skin can be damaged, resulting in a wound at the treatment site. When treating with salicylic acid, the area must be kept dry, which can cause issues for many people as they find difficulty executing daily activities. This treatment also proves difficult for many people because it usually spans for many months and requires multiple applications (sometimes daily applications).  So while there is minimal physical pain when using salicylic acid to treat warts, the day to day management of this treatment is significantly painful and deters people from considering this treatment.

Swift Microwave Treatment

The Swift™ microwave treatment does not destroy the tissue but only heats the infected viral cells to a temperature of 42°C. This temperature is a safe temperature to heat the skin to as it does not damage or inflict much pain. Instead, the sudden heating of the tissue can trigger an early warning from the pain receptors and allow for a faster immune response.  While there is some initial discomfort because of the sudden increase in temperature (albeit only 5°C above body temperature) this discomfort is relieved immediately after treatment finishes. Additionally, as this is a safe temperature to heat the skin to, the discomfort will dissipate immediately because there is no destruction of tissue. There is also no dressings or post-treatment management, leaving your day to day activities pain-free! 

The Swift Microwave Treatment is one of the most effective wart treatments available, and the Geelong Wart Clinic is one of the few practices qualified to deliver this service. So if you have a wart, book an appointment with one of our practitioners today or call 1300 283 063.