Have you noticed small, round bumps on your child that become red or inflamed? Or perhaps you have these bumps yourself? If so, it may be molluscum contagiosum. Take the first step toward treatment and contact us today. Our team at Pinnacle Dermatology & Skin Rejuvenation aims to provide each of our patients with professional, timely, and effective care.
What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that is common in children, though it can affect adults as well. The virus that causes this infection can be easily spread through touch, contact with contaminated objects, scratching or rubbing of the bumps, or sexual contact with a partner who is infected.
Common signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum include bumps called Mollusca, that:
- Are small, round, and raised with an indentation at the top.
- Are flesh-colored.
- Can become inflamed or red.
- May be itchy.
- Can appear on the face, armpits, arms, neck, trunk, legs, and tops of the hands in children.
- May appear on the genitals, inner upper thighs, and abdomen in adults if this infection was sexually transmitted.
Treatment Options for Molluscum Contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum may go away on its own without treatment over the course of 6-12 months. However, for many individuals, the bumps can continue to develop for up to 5 years. You are no longer contagious once all of the bumps are gone.
There are treatment options that may be recommended if you are an adult who is experiencing bumps on your genital area. These treatment options may include:
Oral Therapy: Oral medications such as cimetidine can be used to treat lesions on the body. The response rate is low. This option is usually chosen for children, as it is less painful than other therapies.
Topical Therapy: Topical creams or ointments can be used to treat your lesions. For men, podophyllotoxin cream can be used, though it is not recommended for pregnant women as it could be harmful to the unborn baby. Imiquimod and cantharidin are other topical treatment options.
Physical Removal: This may include freezing off the lesions with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), electrosurgery, scraping away the lesions (curettage), or laser therapy.
Tips to Prevent the Spread of Molluscum Contagiosum
There are some steps that you can take to prevent the spread of this virus, including:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water.
- Avoid touching affected bumps.
- Do not share clothing, towels, or other personal items.
- Cover the bumps with clothing or gauze when around others.
- Adults with sexually transmitted molluscum contagiosum should refrain from sexual contact until their bumps have been treated or totally disappear.