Molluscum vs Genital Warts


Molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by a virus known as poxvirus. The result of the infection is usually a benign, mild skin disease characterized by lesions (growths) that may appear anywhere on the body. Within 6-12 months, Molluscum contagiosum typically resolves without scarring but may take as long as 4 years. Generally, these growths are small and raised, and usually white, pink, or flesh-coloured with a dimple in the centre.

Molluscum are spread by direct person-person contact, sexual contact and through contaminated objects (e.g. clothes, towels, linen). Mollusca may occur anywhere on the body including the face, neck, arms, legs, abdomen, and genital area, alone or in groups. The lesions are rarely found on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.

Because molluscum contagiosum is self-limited in healthy individuals, treatment may be

unnecessary. Nonetheless, issues such as lesion visibility, underlying atopic disease, and the desire to prevent transmission may prompt therapy.

Treatment for molluscum is recommended if lesions are in the genital area (on or near the penis, vulva, vagina, or anus), as there is a possibility that you may have another disease spread by sexual contact.

Keep in mind that the virus lives only in the skin and once the lesions are gone, the virus is gone and you cannot spread the virus to others.

Try not to touch, pick, or scratch skin that has lesions, that includes not only your

own skin but anyone else’s. Picking and scratching can spread the virus to other parts of the body and makes it easier to spread the disease to other people too.

Do not do the following things to avoid mollusucm:

  • Share towels, clothing, or other personal items.

  • Shave or have electrolysis on areas with lesions

  • Share personal items such as unwashed clothes, hair brushes, wrist watches, and bar

  • soap with others.

  • Sexual activities if you have lesions on or near the penis, vulva, vagina, or anus.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and there are many different types of HPV. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems, but some types of HIV can go on to cause genital warts and cancers.

You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.

Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. This makes it hard to know when you first became infected. Some people find out they have HPV when they get genital warts.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower.

Genital warts can be treated using topical solutions, prescription medication, or

cryotherapy. If left untreated, genital warts may go away, stay the same, or grow in size or number. However, there is no treatment for the virus itself, so a person may still pass it on even if genital warts are no longer visible.


Cryotherapy involves freezing the skin at the infection site, using liquid nitrogen, It’s an effective treatment for molloscum contagiosum and genital warts, although some people require multiple sessions to prevent them returning.

Physical removal of lesions may include cryotherapy (freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen), curettage (the piercing of the core and scraping of caseous or cheesy material), and laser therapy. These options are rapid and require a trained health care provider, may require local anesthesia, and can result in post-procedural pain, irritation, and scarring.

It is not a good idea to try and remove lesions or the fluid inside of lesions yourself. By removing lesions or lesion fluid by yourself you may unintentionally autoinoculate other parts of the body or risk spreading it to others. By scratching or scraping the skin you could cause a bacterial infection.


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