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Chancroid: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About chancroid

This is a sexually transmitted disease, also called ‘soft chancre’ which is caused by bacteria Haemophillus ducreyi. This disease is characterized by ulcer formation in the genital areas of men and women.

Chancroid: Incidence, age and sex

Chancroid is usually an uncommon condition, though it may be encountered frequently in third world countries. Although it can be seen in any age group, it is more common in young adults with a higher frequency in men as compared to women.

Signs and symptoms of chancroid: Diagnosis

The clinical features of chancroid may appear within a week of exposure (history of sexual contact) and characterised by small, irregular shaped ulcers over the genital area. This ulcer may be seen on the foreskin, shaft or head of penis or even scrotum in men and on outer lips of the vagina in women. The ulcerative lesion can be single or multiple and typically soft with well-defined borders. Individuals with chancroid usually experience intense pain in the ulcer which may be aggravated during sexual intercourse and urination. Slight bleeding may be noticed on scraping off the ulcers. This bacterial infection, if left untreated, spread to adjacent inguinal lymph nodes, which get inflamed and filled with pus. The individual may experience persistent pain in the groin region resulting from inflamed lymph nodes.

The clinical presentation of painful ulcerative lesions on genital area along with swollen lymph nodes is characteristic of chancroid. Thus, physical examination in itself is sufficient to diagnose the condition and no tests may be needed to corroborate the diagnosis.

Causes and prevention of chancroid

Chancroid is caused by bacteria Haemophillus ducreyi and transmitted through sexual contact. Chancroid is documented more commonly in uncircumcised men as compared to men who have been circumcised.

Some preventive measures like using condoms during sexual intercourse, avoidance of unsafe sexual practices and multiple partners may diminish the incidence of chancroid.

Chancroid: Complications

Chancroid is an absolutely treatable disease which rarely in any complications. But if the condition is ignored and left untreated, the swollen lymph nodes may get secondarily infected or result in ulcerative lesions. Not only this, the inflamed lymph nodes can also rupture and result in pus drainage.

Chancroid: Treatment

Chancroid is a treatable infection but relapses may be seen in certain individuals. Medications like antibiotics may be prescribed for healing of ulcerative lesions and effective control of the infection. Needle drainage may be considered if inguinal lymph nodes are inflamed and filled with pus. Safer sexual practices may help in preventing recurrence of the infection in future.