Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD. Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis

Lymphogranuloma venereum is a venereal disease that involves the lymph glands and genitals. It is contagious. It is found mostly in subtropical and tropical locations, and generally affects men aged 20–40 years. It is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia. Symptoms occur 1–4 weeks after exposure. Complications that can occur are chronic infection, impotence, and bowel and bladder dysfunction. If treatment is successful, a cure is usually seen in 6 months; otherwise lymphogranuloma venereum becomes a chronic problem.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms of the disease occur in the following order. A blister forms on the genitals and ulcerates but heals quickly. Then the lymph glands in the groin area become large, red, and tender. Abscesses form and drain thick pus and bloody fluid. Fever, muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain also occur.

Antibiotics are needed to fight the infection and must be continued for 3 weeks. Nonprescription pain medications such as Tylenol or Advil can be used for minor discomfort. No special diet is needed, but good nutrition should be maintained to promote healing. Surgery may be necessary to drain the affected glands or remove the abscesses.

The DOs
• Take medications as directed by your doctor and until they are finished.
• Rest during the acute phase of the infection, then resume your normal activities gradually.
• Use condoms during sexual activity with new partners.
• Keep follow-up appointments with your doctor.
• Notify your sexual contacts so they can be examined for signs of infection and treated if necessary.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t have unprotected sexual intercourse.
• Don’t touch your eyes without washing your hands first, to prevent spreading the infection to your eyes.
• Don’t skip doses or stop the antibiotics.
• Don’t resume sexual activity until completely healed.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If a high fever occurs during the treatment.
• If pain is severe and is not relieved with nonprescription medications.
• If diarrhea develops.
• If for any reason you cannot tolerate the medication.