Written by : Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Chancroid, also called 'soft sore', is a relatively rare sexually transmitted disease (STD). Caused by the organism, Haemophylus ducreyi. It is highly contagious. The annual global incidence is about 6 million cases per year.
Chancroid is more common in places with a high incidence of HIV and AIDS. Risky and promiscuous sexual behaviour contributes to a wider incidence of chancroid or soft sore.
The disease is more common in men than in women. The symptoms may be very mild or even absent in women, making them unaware that they are carrying the organism.
Chancroid spreads easily, especially if one of the couple has an open sore. It often spreads through microabrasions which occur during sexual intercourse.
Signs and Symptoms
The disease appears 3 - 10 days after sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Vaginal bumpsThe first sign of the disease is a vaginal bump or swelling which is very tender. This breaks down into a painful ulcer within 1-2 days. There may be a single large bump or multiple large and small bumps in the vagina as well as on the vulva.
Vaginal UlcersThe bumps break down to form shallow, painful ulcers with foul smelling greyish pus. Occasionally a single large ulcer (about 2 inches across) may be the only evidence of infection by haemophylus ducreyi. The ulcers feel soft to the touch and the disease is thus also called soft sore or soft chancre.
The ulcers are acutely painful, making it dificult for the affected person to sit or walk. In women, they are mostly seen on the labia majora, labia minora, around the introitus (opening of the vagina) and sometimes around the anus. They bleed easily on touch and on gentle cleansing.
Sometimes, the ulcers occur on the opposing parts of the two labia majora so that they touch each other. These are then called 'kissing ulcers'.
There may be difficulty in passing urine due to the pain caused by the soft sores.
Haemophylus ducreyi bacilli causing Chancroid
Vaginal SwellingThe areas surrounding the ulcer may be bright red with congestion of the tissues. The tissues are also oedematous with conspicuous and uncomfortable swelling of the affected area.
Lymph NodesIn 50% of cases with chancroid, the inguinal lymph nodes, situated between the thighs and the abdomen on either side, may become infected, producing swollen and painful lumps. Normally only one side, either the right or left side is affected. These swellings are called 'bubo' or 'buboes'. Sometimes the nodes may be matted together to form a single, large, painful swelling. Secondary bacterial infection of the bubo can occur and they can break down to form a large abscess discharging foul smelling pus.
FeverThe patient may have mild fever and general physical discomfort.
Diagnosis of Chancroid
Chancroid is easily curable by antibiotic therapy. The common antibiotics used in order of their efficacy are :
Other Treatment Procedures
- Genital Herpes - Causes and Treatment.
- Vaginal Discharge with Itching .
- Different types of Birth control methods - Rhythm method, condoms, pills etc.