Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

The main symptom of molluscum contagiosum is small, hard bumps that look like donuts on your skin. They’re generally harmless, but only a nurse or doctor can tell you for sure whether you have molluscum contagiosum.

Want to get tested for molluscum contagiosum?

Find a Health Center

Molluscum contagiosum symptoms

If you have molluscum contagiosum, you’ll have one or more hard, round growths near your genitals or on your thighs, arms, torso, neck, or face. They can be as small as the head of a pin or as large as a pencil eraser. The bumps are usually flesh-colored or discolored, and they often have a tiny dent or dimple in the middle. The bumps can show up alone or in groups. They usually don’t hurt, but they may be itchy, sore, swollen, or discolored. If you notice any skin irritation, rash, bumps, or blisters that don’t go away on their own after a few days, get them checked out by a nurse or doctor.

You’ll see symptoms where the infection happened. So if you get molluscum contagiosum from sex, you’ll probably notice bumps on your thighs and/or genital area. If you get it from sharing a towel, you’ll see bumps in places the towel touched.
Sometimes people don’t really notice the bumps or growths — they may be hard to see when there are only a few, they’re very small, and often don’t cause any problems. So some people who have molluscum contagiosum don’t know it.

You usually start getting bumps anywhere from 1 week to 6 months after you get the virus. They tend to go away by themselves within 6 months to a year, but can last up to 4 years.

What might make the symptoms worse?

If your immune system is weak — from HIV, cancer, or another illness — your molluscum contagiosum symptoms may be a lot worse, and you may be more likely to get it in the first place. You may have bigger outbreaks all over your body, and the bumps could be bigger and harder to treat.

Where can I get tested for molluscum contagiosum?

You can get a diagnosis for molluscum contagiosum (and other STDs) at your doctor’s office, a community health clinic, local health department, or at your local Planned Parenthood health center.

Was this page helpful?
You’re the best! Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks for your feedback.

This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.