Herpes and Molluscum contagiosum, in adults, are usually spread during sex. Everyone knows that you need to treat Herpes, but do you need to treat Molluscum? The answer is right there in its name. If you want to know why and more importantly how, stay tuned!
Molluscum contagiosum is one of the three most common viral infections of the skin in adults. Most of you know the other two: Herpes and warts. So aren’t you happy to now know number three?!
Because molluscum is almost always spread by skin to skin contact, in adults it tends to occur in the genital region and on the face. While in theory it can spread by contact with contaminated objects like towels and clothing, I would emphasize skin contact as the source, not these other objects. And it’s contagious. Very contagious. That’s why it’s called Molluscum contagiosum. And because it’s not confined to the genitals but is so often on the pubic area, lower abdomen and thighs, condoms may not be very helpful in preventing its spread.
The individual lesions of molluscum are bumps that tend to be dome shaped with a somewhat flattened top which is often indented or dimpled in the center. The bumps are usually one to five millimeters in size, skin colored or pink except the center which can be whitish or waxy in appearance, and the entire bump can even have a pearly appearance.
They don’t hurt or itch unless they’ve been scratched or rubbed, so often they spread and there are many lesions by the time you see them.
There are two real tricky parts to this very inconvenient but not dangerous infection: the incubation period and the treatment.
The incubation period is so variable, ranging from a few weeks to many months that it’s often impossible to know who was “kind” enough to share it with you unless you’re in a long term monogamous relationship.
And in terms of treatment, while humans survived molloscum before the advent of dermatologists, waiting the months or years for your own immunity to finally kick in and cure you as you watch the lesions multiply and spread is not a real swell idea and does nothing to endear you to others.
There are dozens of different chemical treatments that either don’t work or cause unacceptable side effects like pain, blisters, scarring and then often don’t work. So here’s the good news/bad news. The bad news is they’re best treated by having each individual bump scraped off with a surgical instrument called a curette, which is a curved knife. But the good news is that with modern topical cream anesthetics, there are no needles involved and the procedure is TOTALLY painless and quick.
Of course, avoidance might well be the best cure… So look before you love!