Chancroid: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Chancroid: causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

It is a bacterial infection that causes open sores around the genitals of men and women. It is a type of venereal disease (transmitted through sexual contact), which manifests itself especially in developing countries, particularly in the Global South.

What causes chancroid?

The bacterium Haemophilus Ducreyi produces chancroid, which attacks the tissue with an open sore (sometimes known as the chancre or ulcer) on or near the external reproductive organs of men and women. The ulcer bleeds or produces a contagious fluid that can spread bacteria during oral, anal, or vaginal sex. It can also be spread by skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

Who is at risk of getting chancroid?

If you are sexually active, you may be at risk of getting chancroid. If you travel or live in countries that lack sufficient resources (health care, food, shelter and water), you may have an increased risk of contracting it.

What are the symptoms of chancroid?

Symptoms may vary in men and women, but will usually start on any given day for several weeks after exposure.

Men: You may notice a small red bump on the genitals that changes to an open wound in a day or two. The ulcer is formed in any area of ​​the genitals, including the penis and scrotum.

Women: They can develop four or more red bumps between the labia majora and the anus, or on the thighs. Women may experience a burning or pain sensation during urination or defecation.

Additional symptoms in men and women

  • Ulcers can vary in size, usually 1/8 inch to about 2 inches in diameter.
  • They have a soft center that is grayish in color with yellowish gray edges and defined.
  • Ulcers can bleed easily if touched.
  • Pain may occur during intercourse or urination.
  • Swelling in the groin This occurs in about half of those infected by the chancre soft, according to data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  • Swollen lymph nodes that can pass through the skin and produce large abscesses (collections of pus) that drain.

The diagnosis

The diagnosis of the disease may involve taking samples of the fluid draining from the sore, which are sent to a laboratory for analysis. The diagnosis of chancroid is not currently possible through blood tests. Your doctor may also examine the lymph nodes in your groin to check for swelling and pain.

The chancroid treatment

It can be treated successfully with medication. It could also disappear on its own, but it can take several months to be completely eliminated. The medication is usually faster and more effective.

Medications: antibiotics may be prescribed to kill the bacteria that are causing the ulcers.


A doctor may choose to drain a large, painful abscess in the lymph nodes with a needle or by surgery. This reduces inflammation and pain, but could cause some scars in place.