Molluscum contagiosum on penis can be quite frustrating and worrisome for every sexually active individual. It may raise serious concern regarding ones’ sexual life; because bumps in this area mean that the molluscum contagiosum might have been spread during sexual activities, but this is not always the case. Most common area of sexually transmitted molluscum contagiosum lesions are genitals and the public region, however lesions can also be seen on the buttocks, lower abdomen and the upper thighs.
How Molluscum contagiosum spreads?
Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is caused by a virus known as the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). Molluscum contagiosum virus spreads from person-to-person either with skin-to-skin contact or sharing items of infected person. During sexual contact, the genitals and the pubic areas are exposed and rubbed vigorously, and transmission is therefore easy and inevitable. Individuals with already existing MC can spread to other areas of the body when the person scratches the bumps then touches on other parts of body immediately, this is called autoinoculation. So, MC on penis may not always be due to sexual contact but could also be due to autoinoculation.
How does Molluscum contagiosum on penis look like?
If you have molluscum contagiosum on penis, you may notice small pink, white, or skin colored raised bumps or growths with a pit or dimple in the center. MC bumps are filled with a central core of waxy material. These bumps are usually smooth and firm and commonly seen on the shaft of penis but other areas like public region, the buttocks, lower abdomen and the upper thighs may also be involved. Although in most cases the bumps are painless but may sometimes become red, inflamed, itchy and sore.
However, in individuals with weaken immune system these bumps may show different morphology and may not look like typical Molluscum contagiosum bumps. They may often be large and increase in number and may not show typical central dimpling. In such case one should prompt for HIV and other tests for chronic disease that weakens immune system, especially when associated with generalized lesion with facial involvement.
Diagnosis of Molluscum Contagiosum
In most cases the bumps are so typical and distinct in appearance; your dermatologist can give you the spot diagnosis. When in doubt your doctor may perform skin scraping or biopsy that can confirm the case.
As in case of genital molluscum contagiosum most of the case is acquired through sexual contact, so it is wise to do routine STI screening for other infections as well.
Complications of Molluscum Contagiosum
Most cases of molluscum heal by its own without any complications, in few cases there may be bacterial infection that can lead to inflammation and painful bumps. Molluscum contagiosum may rarely leave tiny pit-like scars. Having them removed by cryotherapy (freezing) or curettage (scraping) may sometime result in scarring.
Treatment of Genital Molluscum Contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum in other area doesn’t really need treatment but when it comes to genital areas it is very important to get it treated, especially in sexually active individuals where there is high risk of transmission to other. So, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the spread of the infection.
Several treatment modalities are available for genital molluscum contagiosum ranging from topical creams and gels to surgical destruction and extraction of individual lesions.
There are several topical applications that act as irritants, and immune response stimulators that have been used successively in the treatment of Molluscum contagiosum on penis. These agents either dissolve the lesion over time or create immune response as a result of inflammation that calls for your immune army troops to get them killed. These agents can be applied at the doctor’s office or at home depending on the concentration of the agents. Below are the lists:
Imiquimod cream 5%
Bichloracetic acid and Trichloroacetic acid
Surgical destruction of the lesions can only be done by experienced doctor and includes the followings:
Electrodesiccation and Curettage
Cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
Lasers (Pulsed dye laser)
Other at-office or at-home procedures for removal or extraction of Molluscum contagiosum includes:
Expression of the central core with tweezers or squeezing it with forceps
Rupture of the central core with a needle or a toothpick
Duct tape occlusion
Note: If you are trying to extract yourself at home, always remember to strictly cover around the lesion with Vaseline, so the content of the bump won’t spread to the surrounding. Also don’t shave or wax the area that can lead to further spread of lesions to other sites.
The lesions usually resolves within 3-5 weeks, if not repeat treatment may be necessary. Good news is that MC can be completely cured. Once the lesion have completely resolved Molluscum Contagiosum virus doesn’t remain in the body like other herpes virus. However, there is no permanent immunity to virus; so, one may get infected again upon contact to an infected person.
How can I prevent in near future
Abstinence from sex is the best way to prevent it from getting in near future. When u select your partner be careful in selecting. Good personal and genital hygiene is also very important in limiting the infection. Condoms may protect against several sexually transmitted diseases but it does not give total protection against MC or any other sexually transmitted infection. Try avoiding common towels, clothing and common baths.