Molluscum Contagiosum

What is it?

Mol­lus­cum con­ta­gio­sum is a skin infec­tion caused by a virus. If you’ve caught it, you won’t know for sev­er­al weeks or even months. One day, small pim­ples will appear on your skin. Soon they become shiny, flesh-coloured bumps. The cen­ter of each bump is slight­ly depressed and holds a tiny amount of soft, white pus. Many peo­ple mis­take the bumps for gen­i­tal warts.

Mol­lus­cum con­ta­gio­sum bumps can devel­op any­where on your body, but if you’ve caught the virus because you’ve had sex with an infect­ed part­ner, they’ll prob­a­bly show up on your gen­i­tals, but­tocks, or thighs. You may have 10 or 20 of them, or even up to 100.

How do I get it?

The virus is eas­i­ly trans­mit­ted from one area of the body to anoth­er if skin-to-skin con­tact is fre­quent. Chil­dren often pass it to friends and sib­lings through casu­al touch­ing. It can also be spread in swim­ming pools.

How do I get tested?

One look at the bumps and a doc­tor or nurse should be able to tell you what they are. Some health providers may scrape away the cen­ter of a bump and study it under a micro­scope to be cer­tain of their diagnosis.

Can I get rid of it?

The only treat­ment is to remove the soft cen­ters. When this is done, the bumps will even­tu­al­ly dis­ap­pear. Some­times it can take one to two weeks before all the bumps are gone. There are no long-term health con­se­quences to mol­lus­cum contagiosum.