Chancroid – An STD More Common in Men

Chancroid In-DepthYou might have heard that many STDs are often easier for women to contract than men and some of them (HPV, namely) only carry repercussions for women… That being said, Chancroid, is more prevalent in men.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of chancroid before (well, before The STD Project anyway). So, let’s dive in to this little-known STD and see what’s it all about.

How do you get Chancroid/How can you get Chancroid? Chancroid Causes:

Chancroid is caused by a bacteria.

Highly contagious, chancroid is transmitted in two ways. One is sexual transmission through skin-to-skin contact with open sores. Another is non-sexual transmission when pus-like fluid is moved from the ulcer to other body parts or another person.

The disease is found mainly in developing and third world countries – only a small number of cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Uncircumcised men are at much higher risk than circumcised men for getting chancroid from an infected partner. Chancroid is also a risk factor for contracting the HIV virus.

How to tell if you have Chancroid? Chancroid Symptoms:

Within 1 day – 2 weeks after getting chancroid, a person will get a small bump in the genitals. The bump becomes an ulcer within a day of its appearance. About half of infected men have only a single ulcer. Women often have four or more ulcers.

The ulcer:

  • Ranges in size from 1/8 inch to 2 inches across
  • Is painful
  • Is soft
  • Has sharply defined borders
  • Has a base that is covered with a grey or yellowish-grey material
  • Has a base that bleeds easily if it is banged or scraped

Common locations in men are:

  • Foreskin
  • Groove behind the head of the penis
  • Shaft of the penis
  • Head of the penis
  • Opening of the penis
  • Scrotum

In women the most common location for ulcers is the outer lips of the vagina. ‘Kissing ulcers’ may develop. These are ulcers that occur on opposite surfaces of the labia.

Other areas, such as the inner vagina lips, the area between the genitals and the anus, and the inner thighs may also be involved. The most common symptoms in women are pain with urination and intercourse.

—->> The ulcer may look like a chancre, the typical sore of primary syphilis.

About half of the people who are infected with chancroid will develop enlarged lymph nodes located in the fold between the leg and the lower abdomen.

In half of people who have swelling of the lymph nodes, the nodes will break through the skin and cause draining abscesses.

How to know if you have Chancroid? Chancroid Tests:

Chancroid is diagnosed by looking at the ulcer(s) or pus from the ulcer(s) and checking for swollen lymph nodes. There are no blood tests for chancroid!!

Relief spells (Rolaids?!) Chancroid Treatment:

The infection is treated with antibiotics. Large lymph node swellings need to be drained, either with a needle or local surgery.

What’s going to happen to me?!!?! Chancroid Expectations:

Chancroid can get better on its own. However, some people may have months of painful ulcers and draining. Antibiotic treatment usually clears up the lesions quickly with very little scarring.

Things to be aware of… Chancroid Complications:

Complications include urethral fistulas and scars on the foreskin of the penis in uncircumcised males. Patients with chancroid should also be checked for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including syphilis, HIV, and genital herpes.

Chancroids in persons with HIV may take much longer to heal.

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Did this information help you or was this consistent with your experience? Are we missing something pertinent you think should be included in this in-depth description? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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