Vulvar molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that affects the skin of your vulva. A virus is a tiny structure that causes disease when it comes into contact with your body. A virus can only reproduce in living cells, and can produce a variety of infectious diseases. Your vulva includes all your external female genital parts.
As you may have gathered from the name, vulvar molluscum contagiosum is contagious. It is due to an unclassified poxvirus transmitted from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. Vulvar molluscum contagiosum can also transfer between people through the sharing of personal items, like towels, clothing, et cetera. Teens and adults are usually infected through sexual contact, but you can also contract this virus through contact sports that involve touching bare skin. Vulvar molluscum contagiosum sometimes occurs in children, and in people with weakened immune systems.
Flesh colored bumps that seem small, smooth, and firm will appear on your vulvar area. This area includes your labia (both outer and inner lips), your clitoris, your pubic mound, and your vaginal orifice. The bumps will have a depressed (umbilicated) center. They are waxy in appearance and are about the size of a pencil eraser. They are filled with a central core of waxy material, almost like a pimple. These bumps will be present on your inner thigh and genital area and will be very itchy and irritating. However, the itching that you do in the short term will cause double the complication, discomfort, and spreading of the disease on your skin. Be careful not to itch, rub, or scratch the bumps; this can cause them to spread in your genital area, increase in number, and even spread to other parts of your body. Some who develop this condition have only one or two lesions, and others develop multiple bumps. If you have a weakened immune system, your symptoms may be more intense. Your bumps may be dime-sized.
Lesions caused by vulvar molluscum contagiosum start occurring between two to seven weeks after you come into contact with the virus. Make sure you go to your doctor as soon as you realize you have touched the bumps of an infected person. If you notice any lesions or bumps that are very itchy, make sure you get treatment as soon as you can.
Your doctor or gynecologist will probably be able to diagnose you with a visual examination because the symptoms of this virus are so noticeable and prominent. Sometimes they will run a biopsy test to rule out other conditions, like genital warts.
Most cases of vulvar molluscum contagiosum eventually go away on their own, without any treatment. Some cases of vulvar molluscum contagiosum occur after your original lesions go away or get removed by your doctor, gynecologist, or surgeon. Lesions and bumps that are in your genital area should immediately be treated if you want to prevent spreading this infection to your sexual partners.
There are several treatment options you can choose from. Antiviral therapy is a choice. These are medicines that can cure and control virus infections (as opposed to antibacterial drugs that cover a broad range of pathogens). Depending on what drugs you are already taking, antivirals may not interact effectively when taken. Talk to your doctor and get him or her to point you in a specific direction. Finding references and information about specific drug interactions is a great way to keep your doctors honest about side effects and will give you more confidence in your decision of treatment. Cryotherapy involves the use of extreme cold in surgery or medical treatment. The surgical version of cryotherapy is a procedure designed to destroy the tissue that makes up the lesions on your body. It is used to eliminate both benign and malignant tissue overproduction, warts, and other ailments. Cryotherapy accomplishes this using a process of freezing and re-thawing. Liquid nitrogen is the most commonly used substance. The non-surgical term for cryotherapy refers to the at-home medical treatment known as cold therapy, using ice packs and other cold items. A curette is a surgical tool designed to remove material. A high-power laser is used to destroy or cut tissue. Low-power laser therapy is considered alternative medicine and is not usually prescribed for vulvar molluscum contagiosum.
Because condoms don’t provide coverage and protection to you or your partner’s entire genital region, they aren’t effective in preventing vulvar molluscum contagiosum from spreading.
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