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What is Chancroid?
Chancroid is a less common sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the bacteria, Haemophilus ducreyi. Very distinct in this type of infection is the presence of painful and pus-filled genital ulcers. Transmission is through vaginal intercourse, mutual masturbation, anal sex and oral sex. It can also be transmitted by making direct contact with the ulcers of the infected person.
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What are the Symptoms of Chancroid in Men and Women?
In men, the early phase of infection usually manifest on the penis shaft, but at times it may also develop in the mouth or anal region. It primarily appears as a tender bump that surfaces in 3 to 10 days after exposure. Then, the bump usually ruptures forming into an ulcer that is very painful. After which, the infected patient will experience tenderness in the lymph nodes. There are about 1 to 4 ulcers that frequently develop in the penis, and genital buboes, or lymph node enlargement, may appear in almost half of male infected patients. The foreskin of the penis may also become swollen. Ulcers are commonly found in the prepuce, coronal sulcus and glans of the penis. Rectal ulcers may also develop resulting in pain and bleeding during defecation.
In women, genital buboes are rare. Infected women usually experience pain during sex and urination, and they may also have vaginal discharges. Painful ulcer sores are commonly found on the woman’s cervix, vagina’s entrance, labia minora, labia majora and the peri-anal area. The woman may also develop painful rectal ulcer sores which can bleed during defecation.
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Does Chancroid Have Different Effects on Men and Women?
Younger men generally have increased risk of contracting the infection, hence they are more prone to acquire effects and complications that come with the disease. Manifestations of infection include ulcer sores on their genitals, inflammation of the penis’ head, feeling of tightness, and scarring on the foreskin, especially in uncircumcised patients. Men patients are also susceptible to the formation of buboes which may require surgical drainage to relieve the pain.
Infected women most of the time will contract few complications from the disease. However, they can develop fistulas in the urethra that will bring about painful urination. Men are also at risk to develop these fistulas. Men and women with chancroid should be tested for HIV, as it has been established that these painful sores can make the transmission of the virus easier.
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How is Chancroid Diagnosed?
Diagnosis is usually made by making a culture of a sample taken from the chancroid to specify the causative agent. Medical history and physical examination are done to patients with one or more painful ulcer sores. The results of the diagnostic work-up often indicate what treatment is to be used.