Molluscum contagiosum occurs when a person’s skin is infected by a virus which results in the manifestation of painless but firm papules or bumps. The virus can sometimes affect mucous membranes too. Anyone can be infected by the virus causing molluscum contagiosum through direct contact with the infected skin or objects and can spread on different parts of the body.
Treatment for molluscum contagiosum is considered not only to resolve the unsightly effects of the infection but to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body as well as to other people. However, doctor’s consultation is highly needed when the painless bumps are found on abdominal or genital areas to rule out STD.
What causes molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum or warts develop as a result of viral infection occurring on the upper skin layer. The virus causing the infection is a type of poxvirus that affects the skin and spreads easily through direct contact with the infected skin or items that have been touched by the affected area. The warty skin lumps develop within 2 to 8 weeks following exposure to the virus and last around 6 to 12 weeks and then disappears. However, new lumps tend to emerge as old lumps disappear because the virus proliferates to the surrounding skin surface. This is the reason why sufferers find molluscum warts in clusters that keep on reappearing for many months, usually around 12 to 18 months before the most recent clusters of molluscum warts completely disappear.
Molluscum warts risk factors
Anyone can get molluscum contagiosum regardless of age and gender. However, the infection is more prevalent among young children between 1 and 10 years of age by means of social contact in:
- Play grounds
- Swimming pools
- Sharing clothes and touching toys that are infected with the virus
In adults, molluscum warts will affect those who have weak immune systems and tend to develop a more severe wound. People can get molluscum contagiosum through several ways such as:
- Direct contact with an infected skin
- Sharing clothes and towels
- Touching infected surfaces such as faucet handles, doorknobs and other items
- Rubbing the warty lumps
A person can also get the virus through sexual intercourse with an infected person which results in lumpy bumps on the genitals. People infected with the virus may have to live with the unsightly molluscum warts for 2 to 5 years.
How serious is molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum warts do not put one’s life at risk. However, the infection may leave behind indented scars which may be unsightly. In rare cases, the infection results in eye inflammation when the mollusca develop on the eyelids. Oftentimes, those who are previously infected with the virus will become immune to the molluscum contagiosum virus and future episodes rarely occur. Even so, people should never undermine molluscum warts especially when they grow in extremely large numbers because it may be an indication of underlying immune deficiency problems resulting from HIV infection or chemotherapy which requires assessment from specialists.
How does molluscum contagiosum look like?
Molluscum contagiosum appear like flesh-colored small and rounded warts around 1 to 5 millimeters in diameter with a small indentation or dimple atop every molluscum. The small lumps are inflamed and when squeezed out, a white-cheesy fluid or pus comes out. They often appear in clusters of less than 20 warty lumps which can be removed by rubbing or scratching, giving way for the virus to spread to the surrounding skin and other parts of the body.
Molluscum warts treatment
Molluscum warts do not necessarily need treatment because it usually clears on its own as the virus only affect the upper skin layer and when the lump is gone, the infection is also gone. However, a person may look for treatment to get rid of unsightly bumps or prevent secondary infection from occurring. Treatment is also needed when molluscum warts are bleeding. Some of the common treatment options for molluscum contagiosum include:
- Liquid nitrogen freezing which destroys the warty lumps
- Scrapping off the lumps with curette
- Blasting the lumps using laser beams
- Applying a strong acid to the lumps to burn and destroy them
- Diathermy to burn the lumps
Some treatments require local anesthesia because they are painful such as liquid nitrogen freezing. While molluscum contagiosum can be treated with natural home remedies and over the counter wart medicines, liquid nitrogen freezing is among the most effective treatments for molluscum warts.
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection affecting the skin which spread by means of direct skin contact with an infected person and sharing of personal belongings such as towels and clothes. Children may get it from social contact with other kids infected with the virus in schools, classrooms, swimming pools and playgrounds. Treatments may be effective but there are chances of scarring or burning the skin, so it is best to consult a doctor for proper guidance.
Molluscum contagiosum pictures