Molluscum Contagiosum

The cause of many skin growths is often unknown by doctors. Doctors do know that some skin growths are caused by viruses, the body reacting to excesses in the system and the environment.

A pox virus causes the very common skin disorder molluscum contagiosum. This is typically more commonly referred to as the water wart. Often times this skin ailment is confused with the regular form of skin warts. Typically they are small domed shaped and may be flesh colored or pink. The growths appear to be indented in the center. At times they can be red and inflamed and often appear shiny.

Who Can Get Them?

Molluscum contagiosum is more common in children that it is adults. Children five years of age and younger are the most at risk individuals. Children are more susceptible to it if they haven’t built up a resistance to the virus. Sexual contact is the common method of contraction among adults. Tropical climates have a higher incident of molluscum contagiosum since the warmth and humidity allows the virus to breathe and grow. This ailment isn’t found in any specific race and affects both sexes equally.

What Can Cause Them?

A virus that enters into the skin through small breaks in the hair follicle is the cause of molluscum contagiosum.

How Does It Happen?

Skin contact or sharing of clothing with another person can cause the molluscum contagiosum virus to be transmitted to someone else’s skin. Other ways of getting the virus are by sharing the towels of an infected individual or swimming in the same pool. Individuals with the virus should stay away from children or those with compromised immune system since the virus is very contagious.

Where Do They Appear?

Areas of the skin that touch such as the arms and groin area are most common areas for molluscum contagiosum. In addition, it can be found on the face, lips, mouth, chest, abdomen, eyelids and buttocks. The face can sometimes get larger warts than the rest of the body.

What Are the Symptoms?

At the start molluscum contagiosum appears as small bumps with an indentation at the center. Individuals may feel the bumps become itchy, tender, irritated and sometimes painful. While treatment should be done they will go away on their own if they are left alone. Six to eight weeks is the typical duration for a growth, but they can sometimes last up to five years.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

A doctor or dermatologist can scrape off a growth and examine it for the virus if they need to confirm that an individual has molluscum contagiosum.

What Treatments Are Available?

Depending the individual the treatments for molluscum contagiosum will vary. The growths will go away on their own if left untreated. A topical salicylic acid cream or retinoid cream can be used in small cases. These creams can help shorten the amount of time the growth exists. Over the counter wart medicines can be used as well to treat small cases. The bumps are usually tried up with these medications. Reducing the itching is the main goal of treatment since this can lead to irritation and infection.

Using liquid nitrogen can also be used to freeze the growths. Cryotherapy is the term for this process. Doctors may also use a curette to scrap off the growths. However, scarring can result with this treatment method. To pierce the center of the growth sometimes an electric needle is used and then the patient will have to use a topical cream or gel.

Finally, molluscum contagiousum has also been effectively treated with laser therapy. However, multiple treatments may be needed if the patients has more than one growth and it can be painful. The age of the individual will determine which treatment option is selected.

Individuals should look for skin growths themselves. Children should be checked periodically by adults. Younger children are often the only ones affected by the grows and they can’t tell what is going on with their bodies. You will have to stay away from other children if you have molluscum contagiousum to prevent from spreading the virus.

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