Molluscum contagiosum is a harmless viral infection that causes a skin growth. It is easily transmitted by direct skin contact of sexual contact or contact sports and, less frequently, by sharing clothing or towels. It is not really a sexually transmitted infection but can be transmitted to the groin, thighs or low abdomen from sexual contact.
Molluscum Contagiosum Symptoms
Molluscum contagiosum enters the body through hair follicles or small breaks in your skin. The bumps usually appear 2-6 weeks after you were exposed to the virus. Look for these symptoms:
- Shiny and pearly white, pink, or skin-colored bumps with a tiny indentation at the center
- Bumps that appear in groups or alone
- Bumps on the chest, abdomen, arms, thighs, genitals, face, or elsewhere
- Bumps that become red or inflamed, especially right before they go away
- If you already have bumps, avoid scratching or shaving them. It is best to avoid sexual contact until they go away.
Molluscum Contagiosum Prevention
- Avoid sharing towels or personal clothing, especially sports uniforms
- Use condoms or avoid sexual contact
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
Molluscum contagiosum will go away on its own usually in a few months. Your medical provider can also treat the bumps by:
- Freezing them with liquid nitrogen
- Treating them with chemicals
- Scraping them off
- Prescribing a topical medication
- Laser treatment
It can take several treatments to remove all bumps, and scarring can occur. Scarring is less likely if you choose to let the bumps go away on their own. Schedule an appointment with the Medical Clinic if you want more information about treatment options or if you are interested in being tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).