Molluscum contagiosum on the vulva

Molluscum contagiosum is a virus that causes skin infections, most commonly in children, sexually active people, and those with compromised immune systems.

The molluscum contagiosum symptoms can occur on the vulva, with pearly lumps appearing a few weeks after contact with an infected person.

Molluscum contagiosum is spread by scratching and skin contact with the bumps, or by touching something a bump has touched, such as a shared towel.

In this sense, it  is sexually transmitted. The virus spreads across the infected person’s body via scratching.

Symptoms of molluscum contagiosum

  • Small, smooth, round pearly bumps, with a hard dimple in the centre, which don’t grow bigger
  • Pink, white, or flesh-coloured
  • Appear within 2-6 weeks of coming into contact with the virus
  • May appear around the face, neck, chest, pubic area, stomach or inner thighs, but never on the palms or soles
  • One bump or 50 bumps, but typically appear in small groups
  • Not painful or itchy, but can be red and swollen
  • Uncomfortable or itchy if they get infected
  • Red and sore as they heal
  • Bumps resolve themselves and do not leave scars
  • Found more in people with asthma and eczema

Treatment for molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum often resolves on its own, but it can take months or even years. Treatment means a shorter duration of the virus symptoms, but treatment can’t remove them quickly.

Anyone being treated for Molluscum contagiosum must take care to avoiding infecting others including through sexual activity. Treatment can cause side-effects such as pain, irritation to the bumps, and can result in scarring.

Treatments include cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), laser removal, cutting the bumps off, or a prescription cream applied topically.

Keep the bumps clean and covered where possible, and avoid high-transmission areas and occasions like swimming, contact sports, or sharing towels. Don’t pick or scratch, and avoid sexual contact.

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)