What is chancroid? This is a question that you might find yourself asking with little clue on the same. The lack of dissemination on the topic can be attributed to a number of factors. Top of the list is the extremely low rates of infection in developed countries.
What is Chancroid?
It is a venereal or sexually transmitted bacterial infection. It is characterized by the occurrence of painful sores on or around the genitals. The most identifying characteristic, however, is the painful swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin. Chancroid affects both men and women.
Cause and transmission
It is caused by the Haemophilus ducreyi. Due to the occurrence of a painful sore, chancroid is often confused and sometimes misdiagnosed as syphilis, which is also characterized by the occurrence of painful sores or chancre. As mentioned, it is venereal and the main mode of transmission is intercourse with an infected individual. It can also occur in cases of oral or anal sex.
Those having unprotected sex are at risk of contracting chancroid. However, since it is more common in developing countries, those in those countries or those visiting those countries are at the greatest risk.
Since its most identifiable and definitive symptom is the sores, these are the characteristics that you should look out for in the sores for both men and women:
- Painful sores developing around the genitals. The sores are more in women than in men. Typically, only one sore forms on a man but for a woman, they could be as many as four.
- The sores are between 1/8th and 2 cm in diameter.
- The sores have pus (yellowish material).
- The sores have clearly defined borders or bases that could either be regular/sharp or irregular.
- The sores are soft, meaning that they bleed and ooze pus if they are slightly aggravated.
Aside from the sores, you should also look out for swelling in the lymph nodes in the groin, to the point of rapture in advanced cases.
Aside from the symptoms, and most especially the occurrence of both the sores and swelling in the lymph nodes, the other method of diagnosis is the lab testing of the fluid coming from the sores.
Treatment is with oral erythromycin or oral azithromycin and other oral antibiotics for seven days. The sores should also be drained of pus.
Prevention is by abstinence or the use of a condom when having sex.
Differentiating chancroid with syphilis
The differentiating factor is the sores but a diagnosis is needed to confirm. In syphilis, the sores do not only appear in the genitals and they are hard, as opposed to those of chancroid.