Molluscum contagiosum usually resolves without treatment within six to 12 months. But doctors often recommend that the lesions be removed before that, particularly in adults, because they are so contagious. Treatments for molluscum contagiosum can be painful, so an anesthetic might be administered beforehand to lessen discomfort. Sometimes a combination of treatments may be used.
In some cases, prescription or over-the-counter medications applied directly to the lesions may be helpful. Examples include:
- Irritating products. These preparations often contain ingredients, such as salicylic acid or potassium hydroxide, that help dissolve the lesion over time. Others may cause a blister to form under the bump, lifting it off your skin.
- Antiviral creams. Prescription antiviral creams, such as imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), are often effective in removing molluscum contagiosum lesions over time.
Surgical and other procedures
The methods doctors use to remove molluscum contagiosum bumps include:
Apr. 03, 2012
- Freezing (cryotherapy)
- Laser therapy
- Molluscum contagiosum. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch122/ch122b.html?qt=molluscum%20contagiosum&alt=sh. Accessed Nov. 28, 2009.
- Wynnis T, et al. Molluscipoxvirus infection: Molluscum contagiosum. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2008.
- Aziz N, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases in pregnancy. In: Klausner JD, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2007.
- An overview of molluscum contagiosum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/molluscum/overview.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.
- Clinical information: Molluscum contagiosum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/molluscum/clinical_overview.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.
- Recommendations: Patients with molluscum contagiosum and swimming pool safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/molluscum/swimming/swimming_recommendations.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.
- Scheinfeld N. Treatment of molluscum contagiosum: A brief review and discussion of a case successfully treated with adapelene. Dermatology Online Journal. 2007;13:15. http://dermatology.cdlib.org/133/case_reports/molluscum/scheinfeld.html. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.