Molluscum contagiosum is a benign viral infection caused by a poxvirus.
The transmission occurs after direct contact with the virus that can contaminate the skin, surfaces, cloths, towels, etc. That is why the infection is not only a sexually transmitted (STD).
The infection is usually a benign, mild skin disease characterized by lesions (growths) that may appear anywhere on the body.
However, suppose you find the lesions in the genital area. In that case, it is a good idea to visit your healthcare provider as there is a possibility that you may have another disease spread by sexual contact.
Mollusca may occur anywhere on the body, including the face, neck, arms, legs, abdomen, and genital area, alone or in groups.
If untreated, molluscum contagiosum typically resolves without scarring within 6-12 months but may take as long as four years.
Many, but not all, cases of molluscum in adults are caused by sexual contact.
Molluscum contagiosum can also spread through contaminated linens such as clothing and towels, bathing sponges, pool equipment, and toys.
Someone with molluscum can spread it to other parts of their body by touching or scratching a lesion (even while shaving the affected area) and then brushing their body somewhere else.
Since the virus lives only in the top layer of skin, once the lesions heal, it is radically eradicated, and there is no longer any possibility of recurrence unless there is further infection. Molluscum contagiosum is unlike herpes viruses, which can remain silent (“sleeping”) in the body for long periods and then reappear.
Because molluscum contagiosum is self-limited in healthy individuals, treatment may be unnecessary. Nonetheless, issues such as lesion visibility, underlying atopic disease, and the desire to prevent transmission may prompt therapy.
A specific test to diagnose Mollusca does not exist. We diagnose it with accurate inspection by using a magnification view and good lighting. The lesions are small, raised, and usually white, pink, or flesh-coloured with a dimple or pit in the centre. The lesions range from about the size of a pinhead to as large as a pencil eraser (2 to 5 millimetres in diameter). They may become itchy, sore, red, and swollen.
We recommend treatment for molluscum if lesions are in the genital area.
Be aware that some treatments available through the internet may not be effective and may even be harmful.
Physical removal of lesions may include cryotherapy (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen), curettage (piercing the core and scraping of caseous or cheesy material), and laser therapy.
It is not a good idea to try and remove lesions or the fluid inside of lesions yourself. By removing lesions or lesion fluid by yourself, you may unintentionally autoinoculation other body parts or risk spreading it to others.
Gradual removal of lesions may be achieved by oral therapy (cimetidine).
Podophyllotoxin cream (0.5%) is reliable as a home therapy for men but is not recommended for pregnant women because of presumed toxicity.
Molluscum contagiosum: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)