Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus that is a member of the poxvirus family.
The virus may be sexually transmitted by skin-to-skin contact (does not have to be mucous membranes) and/or lesions. Transmission through sexual contact is the most common form of transmission for adults.
It can be spread sexually and by non-sexual contact through contaminated objects like towels, clothing or sex toys.
Symptoms include shiny, smooth, white, dimpled bumps, with a curd-like core and itching on the genitals and trunk area. Bumps on the skin can be the only sign that a person has molluscum contagiosum. These bumps often appear about 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus that causes molluscum. Sometimes, the bumps do not appear for many months.
When the bumps appear on the skin, they often:
• Begin as small, firm, dome-shaped growths.
• Have a surface that feels smooth, waxy, or pearly.
• Are flesh-colored or pink.
• Have a dimple in the center (The dimple may be filled with a thick, white substance that is cheesy or waxy).
• Are painless, but some bumps itch.
• Turn red as the person’s immune system fights the virus.
• Appear on other areas of the body after a person scratches or picks the bumps (Scratching or picking can spread the virus)
Molluscum contagiosum will usually go away on its own within a year without treatment. The bumps can be removed by a health care provider in a number of different ways, which is usually done only when there are ten or fewer lesions.
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