STDs Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Molluscum Contagiosum question

I was just diagnosed with MC recently.  The characteristic bumps appear in lower abdomen and groinal region.  I went in today to have them scraped off, but I think the doc missed one or two.

My main question is this - He maintains that MC is not transmitted sexually, but I can't fathom how I could have gotten this any other way.  I was with a girl about 5 months ago whom I knew to have genital herpes.  We used protection, but when I broke out with MC I assumed I had caught it.

My doc now says that I didn't, and we're doing type specific blood work now to see if I have been exposed to HSV.

My questions:

1)  After scraping, can I consider the virus gone?  Is this virus latent in any way?

2)  If the doc missed scraping one or two MC pustules, is there a chance that these can create others?  At what point does this virus stop repeat innoculation?

3)  How often is MC misdiagnosed as HSV2?  I went to a (different) doctor and he said that I had HSV2 after taking a quick, cursory look at the affected region.  But I've never felt much pain, and definitely haven't experienced the classic blister for 7-10 days that heals up.  These babies just keep sticking around.  This doctor also accidently said HIV instead of HSV TWICE during his explanation of the virus!  I've since changed doctors.

4)  How contagious is this to other people?  Since the affected area is outside the coverage of a condom, how possible is it to spread after having been scraped?

Thanks so much to the doctor on here who provides answers.  Your freely given expertiseis MUCH appreciated.

7 Responses
239123 tn?1267651214
Your doctor is mostly right, and it sounds like he knows how to treat molluscum contagiosum.  However, he is wrong about transmission; in adults, the infection is almost entirely sexually acquired.  As in your case, lesions occur mostly around but not on the genitals--lower abdomen, scrotum, and thighs are much more common sites than penis or labia.

On to your specific questions:

1) The virus may remain latent in some cases, but probably rare.  Once lesions are removed and you go a month or so with no new ones appearing, you can consider yourself cured.

2) Yes, persisting lesions can be a source of new ones through "auto-inoculation".  You can treat a few residual or new lesions yourself:  open the top with a sterile (heat or alcohol) needle and express the hard, white core.  Brisk bleeding afterward is a sign the core is completely out.  Wash both the area and your hands with soap and water afterward.

3) It seems pretty clear your current lesions are MC.  If the ones thought to be herpes were the same lesions or looked the same, you probably had MC then as well.  But since there is doubt and you have apparently been sexually exposed to herpes, you might want to have a blood test for HSV-2 infection; then you'll know for sure.  See numerous other messages on this forum about the proper HSV blood tests.

4) MC is a benign (if frustrating) condition; because it isn't at all serious, almost no research has been done.  We just can't say how infectious it is.  However, it's not a super-common STD, so my guess is that it isn't very efficiently transmitted.  Most likely, most exposed people are immune due to distant past childhood infection.  But as implied above, I suggest waiting a month until the last lesion has been removed and no new ones have appeared.

Don't be too hard on your doc.  With all the H-something-V diseases (HSV, HPV, HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV [hepatitis viruses A, B, C and D] plus HIV) that mistake happens all the time; I do it myself, especially in writing if not verbally.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
Avatar universal
Thanks doc.  You're very generous to provide your services so free and expeditiously.

I had blood drawn for the HSV 1 and 2 titre today.  Hopefully I'll know in a week.
Avatar universal
I first broke out with MCV about 2 months ago, I posted on this forum at that time,  it was pretty wide spread on my lower abdomen, about 20 lessions.  There were about a 1/4" in size.  I never went to the doctor, just did research on the net and was able to remove all the lessions using the method above.  Just a sterile needle,  tweezers, and then I applied that new skin stuff which prevented any secondary infection.  Only real question I have is that I still have 1 or 2 pop up every now and then, but they are really small now,  maybe the size of a ball point on a pen.  Could these be related to the initial outbreak and just took a little more time to flare up?  Maybe my immune system is kicking up and keeping them from growing like the initial ones?  I heard that MCV can crop up when your immune system is not at it's best.  I had an HIV test and it was negative.  I have however been drinking alcohol on a regular bases,  about 2 times a week for last 6 months.  I think it is finally taking a toll on me so I'm off drinking for a while.  Just curious how long it takes to get your immune system built back up again.
239123 tn?1267651214
As noted above, MC has not been the subject of much research--so there are no definitive data about the natural course.  My impression from caring for patients is that it takes several weeks for lesions to stop appearing.  Six months seems on the long side, but I'm sure they'll stop occurring sometime pretty soon.  I doubt your immune system was seriously affected by your alcohol intake.  (Of course I'm not encouraging you to drink heavily if it is affecting your life and health!)

Avatar universal
I know it's not okay to post a new question here, but it says I cannot create a new topic.

My question is simple: I am now treating my MC with Imiquimod. From what little is known about this specific treatment, it seems to be a bit long to completely treat MC and far from 100% effective. Would you advise using the "surgical" method described above along with the Imiquimod treatment? Would both be more effective than either done separately? I want to get rid of that as quickly as possible, it is making my life very miserable at the moment.

Thank you, and I apologize for asking a question here.
239123 tn?1267651214
The reason MedHelp doesn't like new problems posted as comments is that only the initial question and reply are retained in archives--so that over time future participants in the forum won't have access to your question or this reply.

I am unaware of any research or other data that document that imiquimod (Aldara) is effective against MC and I have never heard of it being used for that purpose.  The standard therapy is "surgical" (physical removal or opening and expressing the core); freezing with liquid nitrogen also is effective.  If imiquimod works, I would have expected exactly what you are experiencing:  it will take a long time.

Good luck-- HHH, MD
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Here are 16 facts you need to know to protect yourself from contracting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease.
How do you keep things safer between the sheets? We explore your options.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.
Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia provides insight to the most commonly asked question about the transfer of HIV between partners.
The warning signs of HIV may not be what you think. Our HIV and STD expert Sean Cummings reports in-depth on the HIV "Triad" and other early symptoms of this disease.