Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin infection that mainly affects children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. This infection is caused by a virus known as the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) that spreads through skin-to-skin contact with infected person or a contaminated object. Adults usually catch this infection by sexual contact with an infected person. Although anyone can get infected by MCV, some people are at increased risk of developing the infection. Children between one to five, people with multiple sexual partners and people with weak immunity are more likely to catch the infection.
Signs and symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum
Symptoms usually start developing 2-7 weeks after you get infected. Small pearly-white or slightly pink lumps start developing on the skin. Each lump, also known as molluscum, is filled with a cheesy fluid and develops a dimple on top. Usually 10 to 20 mollusums develop on the skin. Normally, each molluscum lasts for about 6-12 weeks before it develops crust and disappears. In most of the cases, lumps are not itchy and painful. But, as they look unsightly and may spread on other parts of the skin, treatment is essential.
Complications of Molluscum Contagiosum
Normally, molluscum is not serious and clears on its own within 12 to 18 months. But, occasionally the skin around the lump can develop bacterial infection causing itching and inflammation. Some people can also get mollusca on the eyelid, which can lead to eye complications like inflammation and conjunctivitis. If you experience inflammation in your eyes, consult an eye specialist immediately.
Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum
If the lumps are unsightly or are spreading widely, it is advised that you seek treatment. Some of treatment options available are:
- In case your infection is mild, you can apply molluscum contagiosum cream containing retinoid. These creams can reduce the size and redness of bumps. You need doctor’s prescription for buying these creams from pharmacy.
- You can also consider natural treatment for molluscum. There are topical treatments that contain a blend of anti-inflammatory, antiviral and soothing ingredients to heal the infection. The best thing about these treatments is that they are painless and don't cause any kind of side-effects.
- When bumps are too large in diameter and don’t go away with topical treatments, doctors might suggest you some surgical removal options. Cryotherphy, in which bumps are frrozen using liquid nitrogen, is a popular surgical option for getting rid of the infection. Electrocautery, (burning lesions using light), removing bumps using curette and comedone extractor are some other options. Laser removal of bumps is also possible.