Molluscum Contagiosum Description, Diagnosis and Treatment
What is molluscum contagiosum and how is it diagnosed in the Dallas area?
Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin disease caused by a virus, which affects the top layers of the skin. The name molluscum contagiosum implies that the virus develops growths that are easily spread by skin contact. Similar to warts, this virus belongs to the poxvirus family and enters the skin through small breaks of hair follicles. It does not affect any internal organs.
Molluscum are usually small flesh-colored or pink dome-shaped growths that often become red or inflamed. They appear shiny and have a small indentation in the center. Because they can spread by skin-to-skin contact, molluscum are usually found in areas of skin that touch each other such as the folds in the arm or the groin. They are also found in clusters on the chest, abdomen, and buttocks and can involve the face and eyelids.
What causes molluscum contagiosum?
The molluscum virus is transmitted from the skin of one person who has these growths to the skin of another person. It occurs most often in cases where skin-to-skin contact is frequent, in young children—especially among siblings—or in swimming pools. If the growths are present in the genital area, molluscum contagiosum can be sexually transmitted.
People exposed to the molluscum virus through skin-to-skin contact have an increased risk of developing these growths. Children tend to get molluscum contagiosum more often than adults. It is common in young children who have not yet developed immunity to the virus. Molluscum contagiosum also seems to be more common in tropical climates where warmth and humidity favor the growth of the virus.
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
Many dermatologists advise treating molluscum contagiosum because the growths are easily spread from one area of the skin to another. Some growths may appear as others are going away. However, they will eventually go away on their own without leaving a scar. It may take from six months up to five years for all the molluscum to go away. They may be more persistent in people with a weakened immune system.
Molluscum are treated in much the same way as warts. They can be frozen with liquid nitrogen, destroyed with various acids or blistering solutions, treated with an electric needle (electrocautery), scraped off with a sharp instrument (curette), or treated daily with a home application of a topical retinoid cream or gel, a topical immune modifier or other topical antiviral medications.
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Laser therapy has also been found to be effective in treating molluscum. Some discomfort is associated with freezing, scraping, using the electric needle and laser therapy. If there are many growths, multiple treatment sessions may be needed every three to six weeks until the growths are gone. Another option, especially with young children, is to not treat molluscum and wait for the growths to go away on their own. It is always possible for a person’s skin to get infected again with the molluscum virus. The condition may be easier to control if treatment is started when there are only a few growths.
Dr. Turner and her team are ready to discuss therapeutic options for molluscum contagiosum with patients seeking excellent care from a professional staff who will truly listen to each individual’s concerns and choose the best therapy accordingly. Scheduling a visit is easy: You can call the office at (214) 373-7546 or book an appointment online.
How much does molluscum contagiosum treatment cost?
The cost will vary and depends on the treatment specifics.