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Molluscum (correct name molluscum contagiosum) is a skin infection caused by a virus. It is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, so it is commonly caught during sexual contact.

What molluscum looks like

Molluscum shows as white or pink bumps on the skin. They are small (usually 1–5 mm across) and round in shape. If you look very carefully (ideally with a magnifying glass), you will usually see a small dimple in the centre of each one. There are usually several, often scattered on the lower abdomen among the pubic hair, or on the upper thighs. In men they may be on the penis, and in women on the lips of the vagina. Sometimes they can be difficult to distinguish from genital warts.

How molluscum is treated

In time, molluscum usually goes away on its own. Strangely, molluscum usually goes away faster if the lumps become damaged. Therefore a doctor or nurse will treat them by piercing each one with a sharp sterile needle and digging out some of the material inside. Large molluscums can be treated by freezing (cryotherapy). In dark-skinned individuals, treatment may leave a tiny pale area. You should avoid shaving over molluscum, as this may spread them or encourage scarring.

Is molluscum dangerous?

Molluscum is not dangerous. If you scratch the lumps, they could become infected, leaving a scar after healing.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Friday, February 12th 2010


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Comments on this article

Posted by Anonymous on 19/05/2015 at 04:19

I have a redish bump on my pubic area and it has been there for about 2 or 3 months or maybe longer. Sometimes I won't even notice it until I feel and irritating pain. I have squeezed it before and white liquid came out. I am 18 and have not have had sex yet so it is not an std. What could you suggested it might be and is there anything I should do?

Posted by Maw on 09/04/2015 at 06:22

I have a rather decent sized lump on my left testicle. I thought I'd gotten rid of it months ago, but it's grown a bit since I popped it last. It is hard and painful to pop, as pus and blood usually come out of it. I don't know how to distinguish whether it is just an ingrown hair. I tried popping it tonight, and only blood has come out, though. It isn't ever painful, but I don't like the look of it on myself.

Posted by Optional on 27/12/2014 at 11:23

Apple Cider Vinegar!! Soak large cotton balls or a wash cloth and put it directly on the affected area before bed and leave it on through the night. Do this every other day as it will dry out your skin. Shower in the morning (the stuff smells terrible) and then use a cotton ball to dab on 100% tea tree oil onto the affected area. The tea tree oil smells good so you can apply it several times a day. Eventually, the bumps will dry up and fall off or disappear on their own. Do not pick at them and do not shave over them, this will cause them to spread. This is professional advice. Good luck!

Posted by Optional on 28/10/2014 at 06:06

Mine are not "bumps" but rather longish, but upon ejecting the matter that is in them it looks like stuff that appears when a pimple is popped. I seem to get these every couple of years or so and then they go away - sometimes I releive them, other times not. Not actually painful (only when getting the stuff out of there) seems like a gross kind of "common" problem?

Posted by Optional on 05/09/2014 at 06:50

I have had a itchy and hurting pain down under and there are white bump things that look like zits ive never had an std but I need to know !!!!

Posted by Optional on 25/08/2014 at 05:40

Yes I believe I have molluscum can I scratch them myself and break the pimples or do I have to go to a doctor for that

Posted by Optional on 21/08/2014 at 11:50

I have red spots on the head of penis but they are not lumps but more of a rash. I search it up on Google and most people say they go away after a few days. I am sexually active and after they went away I had sexual intercourse with my girlfriend. And now there are white little bumps like the ones that are normally found around the rim of the head of my penis all over the head and underneath the fore skin. Is this bad?? Will it go away? Or must I talk to a GP

Posted by Dw on 04/08/2014 at 03:33

For the past two days I've noticed a hard non painful none leaking spot on my lower shaft? When I try to pop it nothing comes out not even clear fluids? So I'm wondering what could it be? I shaved with a razor totally bald and then I get this? I have had unprotected sex with a friend in the last two weeks but she has been tested. Whith in the the last 3 months. Please let me know what I should do? I looked up syphillis and it said that you would not get a bump that is hard and closed at the base of the penis? It would be at point of contact , which is the head ? Correct?

Posted by Teddy on 26/07/2014 at 03:42

I am relieved to hear they go away. I have no clue if I actually have molluscum but the description sounds very much like what is going on down there. P.S. I have never had skin-to-skin contact so I am still unsure of what I have.

Posted by kumar on 12/06/2014 at 07:45

Dear sir, Am 27 yrs old male, molluscum found on my pennile area and thigh joints, my doctor suggest me to rid off them through needle its painless treatment, my doubt is if remove the lession is there any severe scar or is is possible for future pennis errection problem, pls advice me and help me out..

Posted by Mpho on 05/06/2014 at 09:51

Thanx for enlightening me...very helpful

Posted by Optional on 05/06/2014 at 07:49

I have been circumcised in a weird way, the foreskin has been removed but was tied at the back of the head, it is hard to explain. It was free as it was a medical mission, but what I'm curious is, I'm not sure when it started but these little circular bumped things appeared inside the tied foreskin. I'm pretty sure it's not a sexually related virus because I haven't done those things yet. Hoping for your response, thanks!

Posted by sam on 07/08/2013 at 01:03

I'm not one hundred percent sure if this is what i have, but its quite similar to what i have on the whole off my genitals, its quite horrible and a lot more noticeable when my penis is erected. they are not easy to feel but are easily noticeable along the shaft of my penis. They are more together and around my testis but are horrible large and easily able to be felt and around both right and left sides off the base off the penis. any suggestions?

Posted by Optional on 09/05/2013 at 01:55

I took a rag a put a fair amount of vingar on it.. i then laid the rag on my pubic hair since thats where my bumps were. i left it there soaking all night. in the morning i showered and the bumps looked swollow and honestly worse than ever but over the next 4days they were completely gone.. it was also a painless process..

Posted by Anon on 13/02/2013 at 05:21

After having unprotected sex, a few weeks later I noticed pimple like whiteheads on the lips of my vagina but didn't worry as I thought it may have been caused by shaving. But these things progressed to spread all over my genital area and I am wondering what this could be. Could it be genital herpes? Warts? I'm so scared and confused. Help! :(

Posted by bornface on 14/08/2012 at 08:08

Thanx for answer and help,bt aren t there any on-line medication? am in need pliz nd does molluscum affect heart?

Posted by scared as all hell on 28/07/2012 at 10:52

i believe that this may be my problem, but are the lumps usually sore? and how do i break this to my girlfriend? need some advice on that level. but other than that, this article has been immensely relieving, finding out what is wrong. thank you

Posted by adam on 26/05/2012 at 06:47

What cream to put on to this problem, I have had them for nealy 2 years and they get very sore

Posted by Optional on 09/10/2011 at 03:23

I have one pimple like thing above my penis shaft. Today, i squeezed it and it released a white/red liquid from it but, it is still clearly visible. I have never had sex however I masturbate 2-5 times a day.

Posted by Optional on 12/09/2011 at 12:21

Three months ago, I noticed two almost pimple like bumps in my pubic hair. I thought they were from shaving and ignored them. When I noticed two more on my leg and the original two still had not left, I became concerned and went to see my obgyn who told me I had MC. He put acid on the bumps which burned like crazy. He told me to keep them clean and that they would blister up then fall off. Its been 5 days and they have been falling off slowly but surely. About twice a day I clean them in alcohol and cover them up to stop spreading ...seems to be working. By the way...I caught mines from my boyfriend who admitted that he cheated.

Posted by nekaboo on 02/09/2011 at 07:42

how do people get this is it by havein sex

Posted by Optional on 02/09/2011 at 07:33

I have just been told about my condition.I had 2 at first and when it multiplied into four i went and saw a doctor.He Burnt it with laser and I Guess got it from shaving my pubic waiting for it to completely go away.

Posted by Optional on 25/08/2011 at 01:15

i am still a virgin i was playing hockey one night and started to realive my penis was hurting when i got home i noticed this pimple like thing on the underside of my penis i started trying to pop it like a zit and i did and he first thing that came out was a red puss followed by a whit object, more red puss, blood, then a clearish puss i would like to know if it is molluscum or something else is there another it could be spread other than sex

Posted by Optional on 27/07/2011 at 12:12

I have these bumps on my pubic region and I shaved with an electric razor not knowing what they are. It didn't damage them and I went around them as much as possible. Will it spread with that razor now and can they spread from my own close to other parts of me?

Posted by lame on 01/05/2011 at 05:23

Was finally correctly (and unfortunately) diagnosed with this last week and have to wait 2 weeks for my dermatologist appointment. Really hope that it clears it up, this is butchering my social life

Posted by johnmac on 10/02/2011 at 06:08

I've never had a sexual health problem and after 6 months into a relationship found clusters of lesions in my pubic area. Diagnosed as molluscum. My Drs said as they were limited to the one area I had acquired them thru sex and my girlfriend must have known she was infected. My now Ex girlfriend got very angry and would only refer to them as spots so I tried to make her realise that thru her recklessness I couldn't have another relationship for 1 or maybe 2 years. She obviously has no intention of warning future partners and will go on to infect others. I am v angry with her but now wonder if I' m being overly sensitive about the situation?

Posted by Optional on 24/12/2010 at 12:05

I have small red bumps that don't hurt or itch, nor do I have flu like symptons, my legs don't ache or anything . Is it herpes? The bumps seemed dry though.

Posted by Optional on 23/10/2010 at 09:44

This is one major pain to get rid of - by the time I had them diagnosed they were all over my pubic region - and now that they're gone, I am still really paranoid every time I see anything like one that they have come back - However when you have them, they don't hurt if you poke them - not the way that acne does. Its kind of how I've told the difference. I tried tea tree oil - that didn't seem to do anything - ditto with the benzoyle peroxide- well might have helped a tiny bit but leave that for the zits. The freezing hurt like a bugger and didn't seem to work. The curetage was awesome - within a week 90 percent of them were totally gone and the doc gave me a scalpal to roll out the white inside myself on the remaining ones. I THINK (God I HOPE) that I'm done with them.

Posted by Optional on 09/10/2010 at 12:32

I just wanted to post about my experience with this *extremely* irritating problem! I seem to have somehow caught it shaving my pubic hair, as I never had a sexual partner for about 10 months. I'd really like to shave again but I don't know if I should... Anyway, I ended up having the spots frozen, and really just wanted to post about that. When I woke up the next day, I had black marks where each of the spots had been frozen on the penis and the scrotum, whereas the marks from the couple of spots that had spread to my thighs were only red. I was in a panic about having hyper pigmentation, as I had read that that can take up to 2 years to go away... Well, if you're also experiencing this, don't panic! The black marks turned into scabs after about 4 days, and after a week the scabs naturally fell off, to reveal pink skin underneath. Now I just need to hope that the pink skin will naturally develop into healed skin and not scars, but I think (and hope!) that this is a natural process. Also, when I went to my GP about this, he told me that there was no treatment for them. Not accepting that, I demanded to be referred to a dermatologist - if your GP, like mine, didn't appreciate how annoying this problem is, I would also recommend doing the same.

Posted by Optional on 01/10/2010 at 12:02

I tackled this and moved on :) I'm not sure if this is just spreadable from skin to skin or from bedding and sharing towels as the 2 girls around the time had no symptoms. I'm not sure if breaking them helped at all but I did it any way. When you break them, a small amount of white stuff comes out and then starts bleeding, if it doesn't bleed it is either something else or not got all the white stuff out. The bleeding takes along time to stop so don't do after alcohol or it will take forever. Like the article said don't shave, I think that made things worse. Having said that, the cure for me was a couple of sessions of the freezing treatment, 2 or 3 applications per session on each spot. Make sure they know what they are doing, if you scream too much they should stop :) 2 years now with no recurrence. And no signs on my gf of 2 years also.

Posted by helpme on 08/09/2010 at 08:25

i have 2 bumps that appeared in the middle of my urethra... what is this? i've been trying to get checked but it three weeks before my appointment please help

Posted by girlfriend on 13/08/2010 at 04:07

my boyfriend has had this condition for a year and we been having unprotected sex for 3 years. I have never caught it. at first he only had one bump and it got bad months later because i saw numerous bumps on the shaft of his penis. he has went to the clinic twice for this condition. the first time he went he said a lady put something on it that did not burn and it went away but then it came back. the second time he went was recently he had went to a different clinic where the lady put acid on it that he said burned. he was told to keep it on for 10 hours n to not shower until tomorrow. the next day he had black spots from where the acid was place. the bumps is still there and he is wondering if they will go away. and he now has scarring i guess. i have not seen it but he told me the scarring looks lik some one colored his penis with a permanent marker. What should we do because he is really upset?

Posted by Anonymous on 09/08/2010 at 04:28

i have 2 problems. the first is small white circular bumps at the base of the penis and just past half way up. thats where they are. they are not very noticable...and if i squeeze them white comes out.then there is problem number 2 where there is a large bump of skin (looks as tho the skin has been scrunched up to form a circular kind of shape) it has been there for years along with the white bumps. if anyone can shed some light on this i would be very greatful.

Posted by donny on 12/06/2010 at 10:07

i dont know if this is what i have or not... does it hurt if you poke them?

Posted by Optional on 14/05/2010 at 02:51

Thankyou so much for this, it has good infomation on that, i was a litte scared, but now its nothing to worry, about as they go away on there own. Thanks!!!!

Posted by Lovabrotha on 31/12/2009 at 06:45

I recently just had unprotected sex with someone about two weeks ago..... I have always had lumps around my pubic area but thought nothing of it.... After my last sexual encounter I have just recntly notice a single lump on my shaft ( slightly reddish) it hurts slightly during an erection but aside that it doesn't disturb me..... Is this a serious problem ???... This first time I have ever had any growth on my penis

Posted by ... on 14/03/2009 at 10:13

ive had this problem for agess and doctors misdiagnosed me sooo many times once it was so painful and i couldn't walk so i was admitted to hospital and even they misdiagnosed me. thank you sooo much for this help


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