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MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM

WHAT IS MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM?

Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious skin infection that usually occurs in children and sometimes in adults. This condition is caused by Molluscipoxvirus and is characterized by small, round, pearl-like bumps or lesions that are usually harmless. The lesions are usually painless and can appear anywhere on the body, but most often occur on the arms, legs, trunk, genital area, and face. Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) belongs to the poxvirus family and has four different types (MCV-1, MCV-2, MCV-3 and MCV-4). The MCV-1 type most commonly causes infections.

The virus can be transmitted in several different ways:
Direct Skin to Skin Contact: Touching the skin lesions of an infected person is the most common way the virus is transmitted. It can be transmitted between children during play or sports, and between adults during sexual contact.
Indirect Contact: The virus can also be transmitted through items used by an infected person. These items may include personal items such as towels, clothing, toys or sports equipment.
Autoinoculation (Self-Infection): A person can carry the virus to another part of their body after touching an infected lesion. For example, through scratching or rubbing, the spread of the virus can occur this way.
Sexual Transmission: In adults, Molluscum contagiosum can be transmitted through sexual contact and cause lesions in the genital area.
Waterborne Transmission: In some cases, it is thought that water in public areas such as swimming pools may play a role in the transmission of the virus, but this mode of transmission has not been conclusively proven.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM?

Symptoms of molluscum contagiosum usually appear as specific lesions on the skin. These symptoms may include:
Lesions: The most obvious sign of infection is small, round, and usually painless bumps that are usually 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter. These bumps can sometimes be larger and usually have a harder structure than the surrounding skin.
Pearl-like Appearance: Lesions usually have a pearl-like shiny surface and a pit or hub-like notch in the middle.
Colour: Lesions are usually the natural color of the skin or may be slightly pink, white, or reddish.
Located in Groups: Lesions can be found alone or in small groups and sometimes spread over the skin.
Itching and Irritation: Lesions can sometimes be itchy, especially if they are rubbed or irritated.
Molluscum contagiosum lesions are usually harmless and do not cause serious health problems. However, lesions may raise aesthetic concerns or social stigma, and in some cases they may cause secondary bacterial infections.

Children: Children, especially those between the ages of 1 and 10, are more susceptible to contracting the virus. This may be because children have frequent skin-to-skin contact and their personal hygiene skills are not fully developed.
People with Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis: In people with a damaged skin barrier, molluscum contagiosum may spread more easily.
People with Weakened Immune Systems: People who have diseases that suppress the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, or who use immunosuppressive medications for reasons such as organ transplants, are more vulnerable to molluscum contagiosum infection.
Sexually Active Adults: As a sexually transmitted infection, it can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity.
Athletes: Athletes who do sports where skin-to-skin contact is frequent, especially wrestling and judo, are at risk of contracting this virus.
Those Living in Hot and Humid Climates: Such climates may provide suitable conditions for the spread of the virus.
People Using Common Areas: Common areas such as swimming pools, gyms, and schools can contribute to the spread of the virus.

HOW IS MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM DIAGNOSED?

Molluscum contagiosum is usually diagnosed based on the appearance of lesions on the skin. Dermatologists or obstetricians can confirm the diagnosis using the following methods:
Visual Examination: The healthcare professional can make the diagnosis by examining the typical pearl-like, umbilical lesions and assessing the number, location, and distribution of the lesions.
Dermatoscopy: This is a device used to magnify skin lesions and examine them in more detail. Under the dermatoscope, the typical umbilical pit at the center of molluscum contagiosum lesions can be seen more clearly.
Biopsy: Rarely, when the appearance of the lesion is not typical or when it is necessary to distinguish it from other skin diseases, a sample of the lesion is taken and examined under a microscope.
PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test: In very rare cases, especially in people with weakened immune systems, it can be used to confirm the presence of the virus by analyzing the DNA of the sample taken from the lesion.
In most cases, typical lesions of molluscum contagiosum are sufficient for diagnosis and there is no need for invasive testing.

HOW IS MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM TREATMENT?

Treatment for molluscum contagiosum may sometimes not be necessary as it is usually self-limited in healthy individuals. However, issues such as the visibility of lesions, underlying atopic disease, and the desire to prevent contamination may make treatment necessary. Treatment is often recommended, especially for lesions in the genital area (on or near the penis, vulva, vagina, or anus). If there are lesions in these areas, it should be done by a physician as there is a possibility that you have another sexually transmitted disease.
Physical Removal Methods:
• Cryotherapy (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen)
• Curettage (piercing the core of the lesion and scraping off the cheesy material)
• Laser Treatment
These methods are fast and should be performed by a specialist physician, may require local anesthesia and may cause post-procedure pain, irritation and scarring.

DOES MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM INFECTION GO AWAY BY ITSELF?

Yes, molluscum contagiosum infection can usually go away on its own in healthy individuals. Lesions caused by this virus, when recognized and intervened by the immune system, can often heal within a few months without the need for treatment. However, this process may vary from person to person, and in some cases lesions may persist for up to several years.
In individuals with a normally functioning immune system, lesions usually disappear within 6 to 12 months, although this process may sometimes take longer. In people with weakened immune systems, the lesions may be more resistant and may not go away without treatment.
While waiting for the lesions to heal spontaneously, it is important to avoid touching the lesions and not to share personal items (towels, clothes, etc.) to reduce the risk of contamination.

There is no scientific consensus on whether a person becomes immune after a molluscum contagiosum infection. Some people may develop some immunity after being infected, but how long this immunity lasts and how effective it is may vary from person to person.
Because there are different strains of Molluscipoxvirus, immunity to one strain may not protect against other strains. Additionally, the immune system may keep the infection in memory, but this does not mean that the person will not get reinfected. Especially children and individuals with weakened immune systems can become infected again.
It is important that people who have had an infection, especially after skin lesions have completely healed, pay attention to hygiene practices and take the necessary precautions to prevent reinfection.

Molluscum contagiosum is usually harmless and does not cause serious health problems, but some complications may occur, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
Secondary Bacterial Infections: When lesions are scratched or irritated, it can allow bacteria to enter and cause an infection. This condition may manifest itself with symptoms such as redness, swelling and pain.
Scars Left on the Skin: Scraping the lesions or applying the wrong treatment may leave scars on the skin.
Eczema: Molluscum contagiosum lesions can cause eczematous reactions on the skin, especially in people with atopic dermatitis (eczema).
Spread of Lesions: Spread of the virus to other parts of the body after touching the lesions (autoinoculation).
Eye Problems: Rarely, if lesions develop around the eyes, it can lead to eye problems such as conjunctivitis.
Psychological Effects: The appearance of lesions, especially when located on the face and genital area, can negatively affect a person’s self-confidence and social interactions.
Risk Associated with Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Lesions in the genital area may indicate the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases and increase the risk of contracting these diseases.

Precautions that can be taken to protect against molluscum contagiosum infection are:
Limiting Personal Contact: Avoiding direct skin contact with infected people is the most effective way to prevent transmission of the virus.
Not Sharing Personal Items: Personal items such as towels, clothes, and razors should not be shared.
Maintaining Skin Integrity: Cuts, scratches, or other wounds on the skin can increase the risk of infection. Therefore, it is important to maintain skin integrity.
Hygiene: Regular hand washing and skin cleansing can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Being Careful in Common Areas: It is important to pay attention to personal hygiene measures in swimming pools, gyms and other common areas and to ensure the cleanliness of items in these areas.
Protection from Sexually Transmitted Infections: Safe sexual intercourse practices are important to protect from sexually transmitted molluscum contagiosum infection.
Covering Lesions: If lesions are present, it may be helpful to cover them with tape or clothing to prevent contamination.
Management of Eczema or Other Skin Diseases: People with skin diseases such as eczema should receive appropriate treatment to strengthen the skin barrier.
Education of Children: Educating children not to come into contact with infected people and not to share personal belongings.
Monitoring Skin Lesions: Regularly monitoring and treating existing lesions if necessary to prevent them from growing and spreading.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

Each lesion is opened with a fractional laser and the cheesy substance inside is removed by gently squeezing. Molluscum Treatment is performed with Fractional Laser in our clinic.