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Friday August 18, 2017
Lymphogranuloma Venereum

Lymphogranuloma venereum is a bacterial infection cause by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This sexually transmitted disease (STD) is fairly uncommon in the United States, and the disease is practically non-existent in developed countries until 2004. Lymphogranuloma venereum reappeared among gay men in the Netherlands so that a special attention is given to the disease once again. Since the increase attention, lymphogranuloma venereum has been reported in 7 other European countries and the U.S.A. and Canada. The disease is also common in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Sexually active people with multiple partners are at high risk of contracting lymphogranuloma venereum.



Cause and transmission of lymphogranuloma venereum

Lymphogranuloma venereum is cause by an infection of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The disease is mainly transmitted through sexual penetration, but skin-to-skin contact may also transmit the causal bacteria. Sexually active individuals, especially those with multiple sex partners who do not practice safe sex, are at risk of contracting the disease. Sexual penetration through the vagina, anus, or mouth can deposit the bacteria in these openings causing lymphogranuloma venereum around these areas. Mutual masturbation can also transmit the bacteria through skin-to-skin contact.

Symptoms of lymphogranuloma venereum

The symptoms of lymphogranuloma venereum can appear as early as 3 or as late as 30 days after the infection. The disease typically manifests in three stages, which are as follows:

  • Stage one - Painless red skin ulcers appear on the area of inoculation, which are usually the penis and the vagina. The ulcer can also appear around or inside the mouth in people practicing oral sex. Most of the time, the ulcers disappear in itself after few days.
  • Stage two - Two to six weeks after the disappearance of the ulcers, the bacteria should have infected the lymph nodes around the infected area. Buboes could form in the groin or the neck area, and these pus-filled buboes could rupture anytime. Fever, vomiting, stomach, back, and joint pain may also occur.
  • Stage three - Lymphogranuloma venereum has reached its most severe state at this stage. The buboes could form in the rectal area making defecation arduous and painful. The patient could pass bloody lose bowel, and pus-like discharge could secrete from the rectum.

Treatment of lymphogranuloma venereum

The disease is treated with a course of antibiotics like tetracycline, doxycycline, and erythromycin. If the patient has developed complications from severe infection, supportive treatment is needed. For example, the rectal blockage may need to be dilated or surgically repaired. The patient may need a colostomy to temporarily relieve the obstruction. The women could develop rectovaginal fistula, which needs to be corrected through surgery. The buboes also need to be drained through needle aspiration or incision.

Prevention of lymphogranuloma venereum

Lymphogranuloma venereum can only be prevented by practicing safe sex. However, using a condom does not offer a 100 percent protection against the disease. The safest way is to have you and your partner tested with any forms of STD including lymphogranuloma venereum, and do not have sex with multiple partners. Individuals who see a symptom of STD or lymphogranuloma venereum should have themselves tested immediately.

Online Resources

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