Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV )

 

What is Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)?

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is an uncommon sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by Chlamydia trachomatis.  It is rare in industrialized countries. LGV is more commonly seen in third-world countries, including certain areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, India, the Caribbean, and South America.

However, in recent times, more cases of LGV have been noted in first-world countries.

What is Chlamydia VS Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)?

Chlamydia trachomatis is the name of the bacteria that causes Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV).  LGV refers to clinical disease.

Not all subtypes of Chlamydia cause LGV. Of the 15 known clinical serotypes, only the L1, L2, and L3 serotypes cause LGV.

These serotypes are more virulent and invasive compared to other chlamydial serotypes.

What are the signs and symptoms of LGV?

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) occurs in 3 stages:

First Stage of LGV

In the first stage, LGV presents with self-limited genital ulcers which may appear anywhere from 3 days to 1 month after exposure. This may be small and/or painless and may be missed by the patient. It may even look like a herpes infection.

Also See: Syphilis Symptoms – Painless Sore & Rashes

The Second stage of LGV

In the second stage, the patient usually presents with painful lymph node swelling in the inguinal and/or femoral groups of lymph nodes, usually appearing 2-6 weeks after exposure.

Other groups of lymph nodes may be involved as well, such as the armpit or neck lymph nodes. Painful, swollen lymph nodes may coalesce (join together) to form buboes, which may rupture in as many as one-third of patients.

Those that do not rupture harden, then slowly resolve. The second stage may be associated with back pain, joint pain, inflamed eyes, cardiac inflammation, lung inflammation or liver inflammation if the bacteria disseminate from the local area of infection.

Last Stage of LGV

In the last stage, patients with LGV may present with rectal ulcerations and symptoms of inflammation of the rectum which include bloody purulent anal discharge, rectal pain and the feeling of incomplete evacuation after passing stools.

This is more common in patients participating in receptive anal intercourse.

This may occur many months or even years after the initial infection. This can cause lasting damage to infected tissue and general health.

Scarring, swelling and deformity in infected areas have also been reported. It may affect your gut as well, resulting in significant morbidity.

What are the other common STD Symptoms:

Having genital sores, cold sores or cauliflower-like warts around your genital area?
These are signs and symptoms caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus and Human papillomavirus (HPV).
Not all STDs will display signs and symptoms. Other typical signs & STD symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are as followed.
Read: STD Symptoms of Different STDs

Is LGV Associated with Other Subtypes of Genital Ulcer Diseases such as Herpes Simplex Virus 2 (HSV-2), Syphilis, and Chancroid?

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is one of the causes of genital ulcer diseases that includes other STDs, such as Herpes Simplex Virus 2, Syphilis, and Chancroid. Any other form of STDs increases your risk of contracting another STD, including LGV.

How is Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) Transmitted?

LGV is almost exclusively transmitted through sexual contact.

Infection occurs after direct contact with the skin or mucous membranes of an infected partner. The organism does not penetrate intact skin.

The organism then travels by lymphatics to nearby lymph nodes, where it replicates within a type of white blood cell known as macrophages and causes systemic disease.

Can Sharing of Sex Toys Transmit Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)?

As long as the Chlamydia bacteria is present on the surface of the sex toy, and was introduced to the anogenital mucous membranes on the anus, vagina or penis, the infection can be spread.

It is thus important to make sure that sex toys are clean. It is also important to keep your sex toys clean.

How about Rectal Douching or Vaginal Douching?

Rectal and vaginal douching does not cause LGV, as if the surfaces of the douching tool is clean, there will not be the Chlamydia bacteria.

Having said that, most doctors do not recommend vaginal douching for ladies, as it may affect the normal flora of the vaginal cavity.

How Do I Test for Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)?

Laboratory diagnosis ultimately depends on detecting Chlamydia in the lesions/ulcers.

We can do a swab test of any lesions and do a urine test to see if Chlamydia is present or not.

What are the treatments for Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)?

LGV can be treated with antibiotics. However, a longer course has to be given (3 weeks). Your doctor will choose the appropriate antibiotic for you.

Sex partners who have had contact with the patient within the past 60 days should be evaluated and treated if symptomatic. If no symptoms are present, they should be treated for exposure, usually with shorter courses of antibiotics.

It is possible to be re-infected with LGV again after being successfully treated. Make sure all of your sexual partners have also been treated.

Is LGV more prevalent in MSM? How about other groups (Heterosexual & WSW)?

LGV has been postulated to probably affect both sexes equally, although it is more commonly reported in men. This could be because early signs and symptoms of LGV are more apparent in men and are therefore might be diagnosed more readily. Men typically present with the acute form of the disease, whereas women often present later.

Most cases in Europe and North America have been identified among white, frequently HIV-positive Men-Who-Have-Sex-with-Men (MSM) patients presenting with proctitis.

What are other STDs prevalent in Men Who Have Sex with Men?

Receptive anal sex carries the highest risk of contraction of all forms of STDs. STDs, in general, can affect everyone regardless of gender, age or sexual preference. If you are involved in sexual activity and have been exposed to an STD, you can contract it.


It is therefore important for you to get regularly tested for all STDs as long as there has been a new sexual encounter.

The best way to reduce the contraction of an STD from a sexual exposure is to use a condom. The proper usage of a condom (right size and fit) is equally important.

If you have experienced the above symptoms and wish to speak to a doctor, please visit us at our clinics. Alternately,  call us or email us for an appointment.


Learn More about Other STDs & Other STD Symptoms


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6 Common Causes of Penile Discolouration

Most men tend to not pay regular attention to their general skin condition, but when it comes to matters of the penis, it is almost always a cause for immediate concern; after all, it is the source of our manhood. More often than not, any unusual appearance such as discolouration, dry skin, red spots or bumps may result in considerable anxiety.

It is not uncommon for men, especially those with darker skin, to have slight variations in the colour of the penis. In fact, for men of all races, it is normal for the penis to be slightly darker than the skin on the rest of the body. This applies also to the labia of women.

When an adolescent male or female undergoes puberty, the body produces the sex hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, which results in the development of secondary sexual characteristics. Excess levels of these hormones in the genitals respond to melanocytes, the skin cells that cause pigmentation. These physiological changes are responsible for darker genitalia in both men and women.

Mild penile discolouration is generally nothing to worry about. In fact, during sexual arousal, the penis can take on a reddish, sometimes almost purplish colour, due to increased blood flow to the organ. However, there are other causes of penile discolouration that may be more severe and require treatment.

 

6 Common Causes of Penile Discolouration

 

via GIPHY

1. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a skin reaction to contact with an irritant. This can happen anywhere on the body, including the penis. When this happens, it is usually caused by latex condom usage. The skin of the penis can turn red and itchy. Sometimes the skin can break causing serous discharge, and bacterial infection can occur. Mild cases can be treated with a corticosteroid cream. Non-latex condoms can be used if you have a latex allergy.

 

2. Penile Injury

A penile injury can lead to rapid discolouration due to bruising, in the form of purple, dark brown or even greenish hues. Sometimes, a red patch with prominent blood vessels just under the surface of the skin can occur due to a hematoma. This usually fades after several days and treatment is typically not necessary.

However, if there is severe pain along with the discolouration after a traumatic episode, immediate medical attention is required as this could be due to a penile fracture, which is a more severe issue.

 

3. Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a lifelong condition that can go through periods of remission and flare-ups, and is characterised by white patches on the penis. It is more common in those who are uncircumcised. In addition to blotchy white spots, the skin of the penis can also become itchy, fragile and tear or bleed easily. Other symptoms include painful sex and an inability to retract the foreskin fully.

The cause of lichen sclerosus is unknown, but an overactive immune system or an imbalance of hormones may play a role. It is not contagious and cannot be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Treatment usually includes a strong steroid ointment applied directly to the affected skin. If only the foreskin is affected, circumcision may be advised.

 

4. Penile Melanosis or Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Penile melanosis, or PIH, is a benign condition simply caused by overproduction of melanin, in which the skin can appear in a wide variety of colors including different shades of brown, grey or even blue.

Overproduction usually occurs after an injury to the skin of the penis, the most common being excessive rubbing of the penis from vigorous sex or self-pleasuring. It will fade over time, or if a man is bothered by it, possible treatments such as topical retinol (vitamin A) every night before bed, laser therapy, or microdermabrasion can help to reduce the discolouration.

 

5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Purple sores on the penis can occur as a result of genital herpes or syphilis. These STDs can be accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, fever, itchiness, burning, and fatigue. If STD is suspected, it is imperative to head to a clinic to see a physician as soon as possible to be tested and get treated.

Also Read

 

6. Penile Cancer

Penile cancer tends to start on the skin of the penis and spreads towards the deeper tissues. 95% are squamous cell carcinomas, while penile melanoma accounts for 0.7%. Penile cancer is rare and the cause is not entirely known, but risk factors include smoking, HIV and high risk strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Symptoms include changes in the colour and thickness of the skin of the penis, foul smelling discharge under the foreskin, and abnormal non-resolving growths or ulceration of the penis. A diagnosis of penile cancer requires an urgent biopsy.

 

There are other conditions that can cause penile discolouration. It is important to determine the exact cause as treatment varies according to the cause. It is always best to visit a doctor for a physical examination and proper evaluation.

If you need to speak to our doctors , please visit our men’s clinics.  Alternatively, you can email us hello@dtapclinic.com or call us for an appointment.

 

Take Care.

 

Other Read:

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Sexually Transmitted Infections: More Than 1 Million New Cases Every Single Day

The World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report in June 2019 stating that every single day, there are more than 1 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among people aged 15-49 years. These are just from 4 infections – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.

This amounts to more than 376 million new cases annually. This is probably a lower number than the actual prevalence in the global population, as these are just the reported cases. On average, approximately 1 in 25 people globally have at least one of these STIs, with some experiencing multiple infections at the same time.

 

About these 4 STIs

Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are bacterial infections that can be spread through sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal or anal). They can be asymptomatic in some people, but in others can cause urinary symptoms such as penile or vaginal pain, urethral discharge, pain on passing urine, urinary frequency and urgency.

They can also cause irregular spotting in females. The long term complications of untreated chlamydia and gonorrhoea are pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in females and infertility in both sexes.

 Also Read:

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is caused by infection by a parasite transmitted during sexual intercourse. The parasite usually infects the lower genital tract (vagina or penis). It can also cause symptoms such as those mentioned above.

Also Read: STD Symptoms in Women

 

Syphilis

Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can result in genital ulcers and a rash. In its later stages, syphilis can affect your eyes, ears, heart, nerves, bones, kidneys and liver. It can cause serious cardiovascular and neurological disease and even death.

Also Read: Signs & Symptoms of Syphilis: Painless STD Sores & Rashes

All four diseases are associated with an increased risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV. Transmission of these diseases during pregnancy can lead to serious consequences for babies including stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth-weight and prematurity, sepsis, blindness, pneumonia, and congenital deformities.

Also Read:

It is important to note that most cases are asymptomatic, meaning people may not have any symptoms at all and are unaware they have an infection if they do not test for these STIs.

 

How Do We Go About Managing These STIs?

These 4 infections are easily detectable, preventable and curable.

STD Testing: There are multiple ways to detect these STIs, but in general, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Trichomonas can be detected with a swab test in females or a urine test in males. Syphilis can be detected with a blood test. Read: Comprehensive STD Screening

STD Treatment: After being treated with antibiotics, these infections can be fully cleared from the body. However, because a significant proportion of people can be without symptoms, these infections can go untreated in a person for long periods of time, wreaking havoc on their genitourinary and reproductive tract. These people can also spread these infections to other people, exacerbating this persistent and endemic health threat.

A point to note is that some strains of these infections (Gonorrhoea in particular) are developing multi-drug resistance and evolving into “super-bugs” that are increasingly difficult to treat with current antibiotics. Significant resources are being directed to research in this area, but the most important thing is to get tested and treated early.

 

Who Should Get Tested?

If you have never been tested for STIs before, but have been exposed to sexual encounters in the past, we would recommend you to get tested.

 We also recommend anyone who has had a new sexual encounter to get tested, even if you had used condoms. While it is true that condoms greatly reduce the risk of transmission of STIs, it does not absolutely foolproof as unsurprisingly in the real world they are not always used perfectly.

 Of course, if you have any symptoms, please do get tested and treated.

 

Other STIs

The above 4 STIs are just 4 of the many STIs that you can acquire through sexual contact. There are other STIs that we are concerned about. Other STIs such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Chancroid, Molluscum, Pubic Lice and Scabies are some others that we are also concerned about.

It is important that sexually active individuals read up and learn about these STIs to know the signs, symptoms, and modes of transmission to better protect themselves. Knowing more about these STIs will also encourage a person to get treated early should they develop such symptoms.

 

How Do You Reduce Your Risk of Contracting These STIs?

Abstinence is the only way to reduce your risk to zero.

If you are sexually active, use barrier protection such as condoms, the right way. You can also speak to your partner to get tested for STIs before engaging in sexual activity.  A mutually monogamous relationship also carries a lower risk of STIs than having multiple sexual partners.

 If you are sexually active with multiple sexual partners, get yourself tested regularly and treated. The presence of one STI can increase your risk of contracting another one more easily. Most STIs can easily be detected through swabs, urine or blood tests at your doctors. These are rather pain-free and minimally invasive, so there should be no fear to get tested!

There are some STIs that are preventable through vaccinations. HPV Vaccines are available against certain strains of HPV that may cause warts, cervical, anal and penile cancer. Effective vaccines against Hepatitis B are available as well.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the WHO has highlighted the 4 STIs specifically as they are the one which can be completely eradicated from the body if treated properly. But there are other STIs that we should be concerned about too. The best thing you can do is to protect yourself against these STIs through the above-mentioned suggestions.

Get yourself tested regularly if you have new sexual partners. If you have any symptoms, get yourself treated early, and avoid sexual contact until you have been treated and cleared by the doctor as well. 

Take Care & Stay safe!


Other Interesting Reads:

  1. An Overview of STD – From an STD Doctor
  2. The HIV Pro-Virus DNA Test can be done 10 days post exposure.
  3. Weak Erection? Erectile Dysfunction? How to Improve Erection with Pills
  4. Is HPV Vaccine Necessary for Males?
  5. Do I Have HIV Rash? Or Are They Other STD-Related Rashes?
  6. Sexual Health Advice for Travellers
  7. Is HPV Vaccine Necessary for Males?
  8. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
  9. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  10. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
  11. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  12. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
  13. Genital Warts: The Cauliflower-Like Lumps on the Genitals
  14. Syphilis Symptoms (Painless STD Sores & STD Rashes) 


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Syphilis Symptoms & Treatment (Painless STD Sores and Rashes)

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STD) with many different manifestations and potentially serious complications. It is caused by a bacteria called “Treponema pallidum”.
In the past, before the advent of antibiotics, syphilis was considered a dangerous illness with long-term, devastating consequences which could even affect the brain and nerves.
Thankfully, with the development of penicillin antibiotics and lab tests to detect syphilis infection early, modern medicine is now well equipped to diagnose, treat and cure syphilis well before complications can set in.

Syphilis – Still a Real and Relevant Infection Today

As of recent years though, there has been a rise in syphilis cases amongst both heterosexuals as well as homosexual couples, as reported by the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), a reminder that syphilis remains a very real infection concern that any sexually active individual should be aware of.
Syphilis is transmitted by direct contact with a syphilis sore, which is a painless ulcer known as a “chancre”. These chancres can occur both in the mouth/oral cavity or in the genital region and the rectum. Sexual contact in the form or oral, vaginal or anal intercourse can all spread syphilis. If a pregnant mother has syphilis, she can also transmit it to her unborn child.

What are the symptoms and different stages of syphilis?

Reading about syphilis can be confusing because it is an infection with different stages and a multitude of varied symptoms.
But to simplify things, there are three stages of syphilis: primary, secondary and tertiary.

Primary Syphilis Symptoms

(usually begins a few weeks up to 3 months from infection)

a.) Syphilis Symptoms: Chancres
  • Painless, round ulcer
  • usually single – occurring at the site where the infection enters the body which is usually in the genital, anal or oral region
  • lasts between 3 – 8 weeks

Note that chancres will heal by themselves and disappearance of the chancre does not mean the infection is gone!

Secondary syphilis

(months or more after initial infection)

b.) Syphilis Symptoms: Rashes
  • Syphilis is known in the medical world as “the Great Mimicker” – so keep in mind that the rash it causes may look very different from what you see in photos!
  • The classic rash is a brownish rash over the palms and soles but syphilis can also cause a rash anywhere over the body
  • May range from very faint rashes to obvious reddish patches
  • Generally not itchy
  • Can occur anytime from when the initial chancre is healing to weeks after
  • May come and go
c.) Snail track ulcers
  • Raw reddish ulcers in the mouth and genital region
d.) Condylomata Lata
  • Raised, greyish patches that occur in moist regions of the body like the groin, armpits
e.) Nonspecific symptoms
  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • A sore throat

Tertiary syphilis

(occurs decades after initial infection)

  • Tertiary syphilis is now fairly rare as most cases are detected and treated before they progress to this. Symptoms depend on the organs affected by syphilis

NOTES:
Someone with syphilis can also feel entirely well and not have any symptoms- this is known as latent syphilis. If the infection was acquired within the last year, it is considered early latent syphilis, but if it occurred more than a year ago, then it is considered late latent syphilis.
Syphilis can affect the eyes and nerves during any stage of infection. This can result in a variety of symptoms including vision problems, abnormal body movements and even early dementia or memory problems.

What Does a Syphilis Test Do

Who should test for syphilis and what tests are done to diagnose syphilis?

You should test for syphilis…

  • If you have had sexual contact with someone with known syphilis
  • If you have symptoms suspicious for syphilis
  • As part of your regular STD screening if you have an active sex life and have had partners whose infection status you are unsure of

Diagnosis of a syphilis infection is done through a blood test which looks for antibodies to syphilis. Syphilis blood tests can be a little complex and your doctor will be able to explain more to you about the interpretation of results and what to look out for.

What Treatment is Available for Syphilis?

Syphilis infections are treated with penicillin which is administered as an injection. The dosage or number of injections required depends on the stage of the infection.
In unfortunate cases where the infection fails to clear up with initial treatment (which is known as treatment failure), then additional antibiotics may be required for a longer duration of time.
In order to determine if treatment is successful, as well as to monitor for recurrence of the syphilis infection, regular blood tests at intervals of a few months may be required. Until one is clear of syphilis, it is best to abstain from the sexual activity so as to minimise the risk of transmitting the infection to others.
Syphilis remains a problem in the present day, but while it is a potentially serious infection, the good news is that with early diagnosis, the frightening complications that occur with untreated syphilis can very easily be prevented.

Take Care!

Other Interesting Reads:

  1. An Overview of STD – From an STD Doctor
  2. Weak Erection? Erectile Dysfunction? How to Improve Erection with Pills
  3. Do I Have HIV Rash? Or Are They Other STD-Related Rashes?
  4. What are the Causes of Abnormal Penile Discharge?
  5. What are the Symptoms of HIV Infection and AIDS?
  6. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
  7. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  8. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
  9. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  10. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
  11. Genital Warts: The Cauliflower-Like Lumps on the Genitals
  12. Syphilis Symptoms (Painless STD Sores & STD Rashes)