Symptoms, Causes & Diagnosis of Molluscum Contagiosum.

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Molluscum Contagiosum is a skin infection caused by the virus Molluscum Contagiosum. It produces benign raised bumps, or lesions, on the upper layers of your skin. The small bumps are usually painless. They disappear on their own and rarely leave scars when they’re left untreated. The length of time the virus lasts varies for each person, but the bumps can remain from two months to four years.

Molluscum Contagiosum is spread by direct contact with someone who has it or by touching an object contaminated with the virus, such as a towel or a piece of clothing.

Medication and surgical treatments are available, but treatment isn’t necessary in most cases.


  • very small, shiny, and smooth in appearance

  • flesh-colored, white, or pink

  • firm and shaped like a dome with a dent or dimple in the middle

  • filled with a central core of waxy material

  • between 2 to 5 millimetres in diameter, or between the size of the head of a pin and the size of an eraser on the top of a pencil

  • present anywhere except on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet — specifically on the face, abdomen, torso, arms, and legs of children, or the inner thigh, genitals, and abdomen of adults

CAUSES: You can get molluscum contagiosum by touching the lesions on the skin of a person who has this infection. Children can transmit the virus during normal play with other children.

Teens and adults are more likely to contract it through sexual contact. You can also become infected during contact sports that involve touching bare skin, such as wrestling or football.

The virus can survive on surfaces that have been touched by the skin of a person with molluscum contagiosum. So it’s possible to contract the virus by handling towels, clothing, toys, or other items that have been contaminated.

Sharing sports equipment that someone’s bare skin has touched can also cause the transfer of this virus. The virus can remain on the equipment to be transmitted to another person. This includes items such as baseball gloves, wrestling mats, and football helmets.

If you have molluscum contagiosum, you might spread the infection throughout your body. You can transfer the virus from one part of your body to another by touching, scratching, or shaving a bump and then touching another part of your body.


Because the skin bumps caused by molluscum contagiosum have a distinct appearance, your doctor often can diagnose the infection by merely looking at the affected area. A skin scraping or BIOPSY can confirm the diagnosis.

It’s usually unnecessary to treat molluscum contagiosum, but you should always have your doctor examine any skin lesions that last longer than a few days. A confirmed diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum will rule out other causes for the lesions, such as skin cancer, chickenpox, or warts.

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