Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About You Diagnosis
Chancroid is an acute sexually transmitted disease that produces painful ulcers involving the skin of the genital area. In women there may be no external signs of infection. It is caused by a bacteria and is transmitted by direct contact with the open lesions. Diagnosis is made by culturing the lesions.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms of the disease appear in 4– 7 days after exposure. Multiple raised lesions that are surrounded by redness appear. These lesions rapidly break down and become painful ulcers. Lymph nodes in the groin area may enlarge on one side. There may be fever, headache, chills, and fatigue.

Antibiotics such as erythromycin must be taken for at least 7 days. Pain medications may be prescribed. The lesions should be washed three times a day with soap and water and kept dry. No creams, lotions, or oils should be used on or near the lesions because this increases the chance of spreading the lesions. Testing for other sexually transmitted diseases should be done. Sexual contacts should be tested also. Sexual relations should not be resumed until after a follow-up examination shows complete healing, which usually occurs in 2–3 weeks.

The DOs
• Take antibiotics until finished.
• Take pain medications if needed.
• Wash the areas with soap and water three times a day and dry thoroughly.
• Notify sexual contacts so they can receive treatment.
• Avoid sexual relations until an examination by your doctor shows that it is safe to do so.
• Get tested for other sexually transmitted diseases.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop taking the antibiotics before finished.
• Don’t apply creams, lotions, or oils on or near the lesions.
• Don’t have sexual relations until cleared by your doctor.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If fever continues after antibiotics are finished.
• If pain is not relieved with over-the-counter pain medication.
• If any lesion appears infected.