Penis bumps are often a source of great concern for a man, but they are not always a sign of something serious. For example, sometimes penis bumps may be nothing more than molloscum contagiosum (MC), a skin issue that is annoying and unattractive but not dangerous. Recognizing MC and knowing how to take care of it is part of any man’s proper penis care routine.
What is MC?
Molluscum contagiosum sounds much scarier than it actually is – which is why “MC” is used more frequently, especially among lay people (that is, non-medical personnel). So what is it?
MC presents as lesions on the skin. (The lesions are called mollusca, which is where the “molluscum” part of the name comes from.) The lesions tend to be raised (like bumps) and on the small side (about 2 to 5 millimeters). They vary in color from white to pink to flesh-toned. Many times they are marked by a small depression, like a dimple, in the center. Although some sources describe them as “pearly,” they shouldn’t be confused with pearly penile papules (PPP), another benign skin condition which occurs on the penises of some men.
MC can occur anywhere on the body, although the bumps are usually found on the skin in the groin region. Rarely, they occur around the eyes or mouth.
What causes MC?
MC is an infection caused by a virus. This virus is spread through direct contact, usually skin-on-skin, between people. In some cases, it can be spread through the handling of items, such as towels, which have come into contact with an infected area on a person. For example, if a person with MC goes swimming and dries off with a towel, another person could contract MC from then using the towel.
MC can easily spread over one’s own body once contracted. For example, if a person scratches an MC area and then touches another part of the body, the infection may spread.
MC is usually a benign issue, although it can often cause itchiness. Scratching can then cause the area to become sore; in some cases, scratching may result in scarring. Scratching may also lead to a secondary bacterial infection. Eczema is also common around affected areas.
More often, however, MC is more of a cosmetic issue. Especially when in the form of penis bumps, it can look unattractive. Appearance on the penis may also make potential partners fear that the owner of the affected penis is not a safe sexual partner.
Preventing MC on the penis is advisable. Since it can be spread from genital-to-genital contact, using a condom is a good way of reducing risk of transmission. A man who has MC on another part of his body should be careful not to scratch the bump before touching his penis, especially when masturbating.
MC typically goes away on its own, but it can take 12-18 months. In some cases, the virus may be persistent and topical treatments may be employed to quicken its demise. A doctor can advise the most appropriate treatment.
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