Chancroid is caused by a type of bacteria called Haemophilusducreyi.
The infection is found mainly in developing and third world countries.
Within 1 day – 2 weeks after getting chancroid, a person will get a small bump in the
genitals. The bump becomes an ulcer within a day of its appearance. The ulcer ranges in size
from 1/8 inch to 2 inches across, is soft yet painful, has sharply defined borders, has a base
covered with a gray or yellowish-gray texture and bleeds easily if banged or scraped.
Common locations affected in men are foreskin, groove behind the head of the penis, shaft of
the penis, head of the penis, opening of the penis and scrotum.
In women the most common location for ulcers is the outer lips of the vagina (labia majora).
“Kissing ulcers” are ulcers that occur on opposite surfaces of the labia.
Other areas, such as the inner vagina lips (labia minora), the area between the genitals and the
anus (perineal area), and the inner thighs may also be involved. The most common symptoms
in women are pain with urination and intercourse.
The ulcer may look like a chancre, the typical sore of primary syphilis. About half of infected
men have only a single ulcer. Women often have four or more ulcers. The ulcers appear in
The infection is treated with antibiotics, including azithromycin, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin,
and erythromycin. Large lymph node swellings need to be drained, either with a needle or
local surgery. Chancroid can get better on its own. However, some people may have months
of painful ulcers and draining. Antibiotic treatment usually clears up the lesions quickly with
very little scarring.