Molloscum Contagiosum

November 12, 2012

Molloscum Contagiosum

Molloscum Contagiosum is a skin condition and as you may have guessed from the name it is contagious. Symptoms vary in severity but there are ways in which it can be treated.

Overview

The molloscum contagiosum virus or MVC causes raised papules or nodules on the skin and is most commonly seen in children, 15 years old and younger. Very young children are affected the most but when it affect teenagers it is often considered a STD as this is the way in which it is most commonly spread. The virus can in fact be transmitted via sexual contact or any form of skin-to-skin contact. It can also be spread through sharing objects such as towels or flannels with an infected person. It is possible for adults to also become infected with Molloscum Contagiosum but is most commonly affects adults with weakened immune systems. Treatment is not always necessary as generally Molloscum contagiosum clears up of its own accord but it more severe cases, treatment may be necessary and there are effective medications available.

Symptoms

Symptoms normally only affect the skin but areas of the body where molloscum contagiosum symptoms can occur include the arms, face, neck, hands and less often the chest and stomach. When the virus is transmitted sexually, growths will usually occur around the genitalia and inner thighs. Symptoms may not occur immediately after being infected as it commonly takes anywhere from 7 days to as long as 6 months later for symptoms to appear. The skin growths appear as firm and small, wart-like spots and tend to occur in clusters. In most cases it will take between 6 and 12 weeks for the condition to heal itself and will do so by first becoming crusty and then healing over. If it takes much longer than this you may want to consider seeing a doctor for treatment to speed up the process. Rubbing and scratching should be resisted as much as possible as this can lead to the virus being spread further to nearby skin or other areas of the body. Keep your hands clean by washing then regularly, this will help to prevent the virus spreading to other parts of your body as well as to other people who you are in contact with.

Diagnosis

A doctor will often be able to indentify Molloscum contagiosum, simply by seeing the symptoms but may wish to confirm the diagnosis with tests. This may involve a sample of fluid taken from one of the spots or a biopsy of part of the affected area. In the case the genitals have been affected you may be referred to genitor-urinary clinic to be tested for further STDs.

Treatment

Treatment is often recommended in an attempt to prevent the virus from being spread to others. There are a number of options for this including:

  • Curettage
  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Chemical Treatment
  • Squeezing the spots
  • Diathermy

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