Mollusc warts are virus-induced skin nodules. More about symptoms and cause and how to treat mollusc warts, read here!


molluscum (Mollusca contagiosa, mollusks) are not real warts. But they are so called because of the similar appearance. It is a widespread, harmless viral infection of the skin, which can be easily diagnosed: doctors can usually already close the diagnosis "mollusc warts" based on the appearance of the papules. Read more about viral skin nodules: cause, symptoms and treatment.

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. B07

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  • What are mollusc warts?

  • What are mollusc warts?

  • How to deal with mollusc warts?

  • Who is prone to mollusc warts?

  • How can you treat mollusc warts?

What are mollusc warts?

Mollusca (Mollusca contagiosa, mollusks) are a harmless viral infection of the skin and look like real warts in appearance. The small papules are caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus, a member of the poxvirus group.

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  • symptoms
  • Causes and risk factors
  • Examinations and diagnosis
  • treatment
  • Disease course and prognosis

What are mollusc warts?

Mollusc warts are usually pinhead sized papules. Especially in people with HIV / AIDS but they can be particularly large (three to five centimeters in diameter). Doctors then speak of giant molluscs (Mollusca contagiosa gigantea).

The papules have a smooth, shiny surface and are skin-colored, white or transparent. In the middle they have a small dent with a tiny opening, over which a thick, white and infectious fluid can escape.

Mollusc warts usually appear in groups on one or two skin areas, sometimes they are also loosely distributed over the body. In children, they are found mainly on the face, neck, eyelids, genital area and in the armpits. In adults, the genital region is usually affected. Most patients get fewer than 20 skin nodules. In some cases, however, several hundred mollusc warts can develop.

Usually, the molluscs do not cause discomfort. However, some patients report itching.

How to deal with mollusc warts?

The pathogens are particularly easy to penetrate the skin when it is softened. Therefore, one prefers mollusc warts preferably in the swimming pool. They are therefore also called swimming pool warts, warts or warts. Also in gyms and in the sauna (sweaty skin!) You can get infected with the virus.

The infection is mainly due to smear infection, such as when one comes into contact with the infectious secretions from the mollusc warts of a patient.

Who is prone to mollusc warts?

It is especially common to find mollusc warts in children because their immune system is even more vulnerable than that of adults. Mollusks are one of the most common infections in this age group. Especially affected are children between the 2nd and 12th year of life.

In addition, a mollusc infection is favored by chapped skin, wounds, circulatory disorders, fungal infections and atopic dermatitis. Mollusc warts are also vulnerable to people whose immune system is weakened by HIV / AIDS or other reasons.

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    Warts - how to get rid of them

    Most people have warts at least once in their lives. These are unsightly, but usually benign skin growths. They are caused by viruses that penetrate through small wounds in the skin and there stimulate an uncontrolled cell proliferation. Who wants to get rid of the annoying beasts, is spoiled for choice, because there are a number of methods for it. Which? You can find out here.

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    With acid to the goal

    Acids can effectively remove warts by gradually dissolving the horny layer. But you need patience: In order to achieve a good result, you have to apply the acid daily for several weeks on the wart. In addition, the loosened skin layer must be removed regularly with a file or a planer. Salicylic acid is particularly often used - be it as a cream, solution or patch - but sometimes also lactic acid or vitamin A acid.

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    Cold against wart

    Another common way to spot warts is the icing. Here, liquid nitrogen is applied to the diseased skin area. Evaporation results in extreme cold that destroys the uppermost layer of the skin. But even here a single application is not enough. And side effects can occur: Often the skin reddens after icing and swells. Partly even forms a small bubble, which heals however quickly again.

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    Stop viruses!

    In addition to these two established methods, there are a few other wart remedies.However, there is no clear proof that they are effective. But it's worth a try! So should special ointments and solutions with active ingredients that inhibit cell growth or the virus itself help. Sometimes drugs are injected directly into the wart to stimulate the immune system.

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    Light in use

    Also the photodynamic therapy should help against warts. Here, a special gel is applied to the diseased skin site. After three hours of exposure, the site is irradiated with light. Certain ingredients of the gel are thereby activated and are intended to destroy the wart tissue. But also heat can help. During laser treatment, the wart is heated to such an extent that the diseased cells are destroyed. The disadvantage: it can remain unsightly scars.

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    Abrasion yes, cut out no

    Acid-pretreated warts can also be removed with special tools called curettage. On the other hand, the warts are uncommon today. In fact, it can easily come to infections and it can remain unsightly scars.

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    Recurring evil

    Even if the treatment was successful and the wart has disappeared, new ones can appear again and again. Because there are always a few viruses or infected skin cells in the tissue back. These can cause new warts at a later date, especially if the immune system is weakened.

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    Prevent warts

    Warts are contagious. In contact with the infected skin, the viruses can be transmitted to other people as well as to previously healthy parts of the body and cause the annoying skin growths. Bathing shoes and fresh own socks are required. In addition, you should be careful not to touch warts - if possible not your own.

How can you treat mollusc warts?

In most cases, mollusc warts disappear by themselves within six to nine months. In some cases, they also last for years. Especially in Aids patients, mollusc warts can become chronic or recurrent and cause extensive disease.

In general, however, no mollusc treatment is necessary. If it does (for example, in case of extensive infestation), different methods are possible:

If you want to remove individual mollusc warts, the doctor can under local anesthesia abort with a special instrument (sharp spoon, ring curette) or scrape first and then squeeze. It is important to pay attention to careful disinfection, because the expressed material from the molluscs is contagious.

You can also attach a salicylate-containing plaster on the mollusc warts. The horny layer of the papules is dissolved by salicylic acid.

Mollusc warts in children are usually treated with a vitamin A acid solution, which is applied several times a day to the small papules. The healthy skin around the mollusks should first be covered with an ointment or powder to protect them from the acid.

Another possibility is the irritation treatment with an irritating liquid (such as potassium hydroxide solution). The skin in the area of molluscum becomes inflamed, which should accelerate the spontaneous healing (spontaneous remission).

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