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Molluscum contagiosum

What is it?
Molluscum contagiosum is a virus that causes a skin infection. It can be spread sexually or through non-sexual contac. It does not seem to be spread from a pregnant woman to her child during delivery. Children who play together can spread the virus.

What are the symptoms?
Tiny pinpoints appear on the skin, one week to six months after infection. They grow into small, pinkish-white bumps that look smooth and shiny. They have a dip in the middle and a milky-white fluid inside. They can appear anywhere on the body. They can disappear and then reappear at a later date.

How is it diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose Molluscum by looking at the rash.

Are there any complications?
Sometimes Molluscum contagiosum sores can get infected with bacteria.

How is it treated?
Often the rash may disappear on its own, although it may also recur - even if you have been treated.

One treatment is podophyllin, an ointment that can be applied to the sores. Liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze off the bumps, or they can be surgically removed if they are resistant to treatment. Laser surgery may also be an option. There is a cream that can be prescribed by a physician but it is very expensive.

Should my partner be checked or treated?
You should tell your partner about your infection, so they can watch for signs of infection.

How can I protect myself from Molluscum contagiosum?
Never touch a Molluscum contagiosum sore. Always practice safer sex to reduce your risk of this and other infections.

 

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Infections

Bacterial Vaginosis

Chlamydia

Crabs (Pubic Lice)

Gonorrhea

Hepatitis

Herpes

HIV/AIDS

Human Papilloma Virus

Molluscum contagiosum

Syphilis

Trichomonas

Yeast infection

  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital