Sexually Transmitted InfectionsChancroid - symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Chancroid is one of the easily transmitted sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria. Chancroid causes open sores on and around the genitals in both men and women. The transmitted bacterium, Haemophilus ducreyi, attacks the tissue in the genital region and causes sores that open up. The open sores ooze out fluids that can transmit the infection easily. Even a simple skin to skin contact is enough for the infection to get transmitted when a healthy person comes into contact with the liquids from those open sores. Having sexual intercourse or even oral can 100% transmit the bacteria and infect the healthy person

Chancroid symptoms

Symptoms of Chancroid are usually seen very quickly, unlike viral infections. 

  1. Sores start forming on the penis, scrotum in case of men. These sores burst open the next day leaking fluids that contain bacteria. The sores are most often painful.
  2. Women develop bumps around the vagina, near the anus, perineum area and on thighs. Just like men, sores on women are painful and the person experiences a burning sensation at each sore site.
  3. Pain during intercourse or while peeing may be experienced in all genders.
  4. Less seen but there can be swelling of the lymph nodes, in the groin area and between the thighs.
Chancroid - symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Chancroid diagnosis

Chancroid diagnosis is not as easy as testing for STIs through a blood test. The fluids from the sores are collected and sent to the lab for examination. The sores developed often look similar to those formed due to Genital Herpes or Syphilis. Swollen lymph nodes is also a symptom of heavy viral infection. So, a blood test is still done to rule out other sexually transmitted infections before your doctor puts you on to medication.

Chancroid treatment

Chancroid is caused by bacteria and can be completely cured with the right antibiotics. Recommended antibiotics for chancroid treatment include:

  1. Azithromycin
  2. Ceftriaxone
  3. Ciprofloxacin
  4. Erythromycin

Always, follow and complete the prescription when you are taking antibiotics. Following a part or for a few days can make the infection worse if the bacteria become resistant to the medicines given. 

If the lymph nodes are swollen too much, your doctor may use a needle or through minor incision, to drain out the abscess from the lymph nodes. This helps in reducing the swelling and pain and also helps in healing the sores faster.

How to stay safe from Chancroid and other STIs? 

“The most common questions from my patients are about STIs” says Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran. You are at risk of Chancroid or any other STI if you are sexually active and have multi partners with who you have unprotected sex. Drug abusers who share needles and those who have unsafe sex with sex workers are at very high risk.

Note that you don’t need to really have sex to get an STI but just skin to skin contact is enough in some cases. 

What to do after having unprotected sex with unfamiliar person?

Knowledge is wealth and health too! Here is what you need to do as soon as you realize that you had risky sex with an unfamiliar person:

  1. See a good sexologist and get tested for full spectrum of STIs
  2. Take PEP – Post Exposure Prophylaxis if your doctor recommends. This can prevent HIV from making your body its host. 

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