Last Updated on June 4, 2020 by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT
How do you get LGV/How can you get LGV? Lymphogranuloma Venereum Causes:
LGV (Lymphogranuloma venereum) is a is a chronic (long-term) sexually transmitted infection of the lymphatic system caused by three strains of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The infection is not caused by the same bacteria that cause genital chlamydia.
Lymphogranuloma venereum is passed from person to person through direct contact with lesions, ulcers or other area where the bacteria is located. Transmission of the organism occurs during sexual penetration (vaginal, oral, or anal) and may also occur via skin to skin contact.
The likelihood of LGV infection following an exposure is unknown, but it is considered less infectious than some other STDs.
Lymphogranuloma venereum is more common in men than women.
How to tell if you have LGV? Lymphogranuloma Venereum Symptoms:
Symptoms of LGV can begin a few days to a month after coming in contact with the bacteria. Symptoms include:
- Blood or pus from the rectum (blood in the stools)
- Drainage through the skin from lymph nodes in the groin
- Painful bowel movements
- Small painless sore on the male genitals or in the female genital tract
- Swelling and redness of the skin in the groin area
- Swelling of the labia
- Swollen groin lymph nodes on one or both sides; it may also affect lymph nodes around the rectum in people who have anal intercourse
The infection can also cause diarrhea and lower abdominal pain.
How to know if you have LGV? Lymphogranuloma Venereum Tests:
Because of limitations in a commercially available test, diagnosis is primarily based on clinical findings.
Direct identification of the bacteria from a lesion or site of the infection may be possible through testing for chlamydia but, this would not indicate if the chlamydia infection is lymphogranuloma venereum.
Relief spells (Rolaids?!) LGV Treatment:
Lymphogranuloma venereum can be treated with three weeks of antibiotics.
What’s going to happen to me?!!?! LGV Expectations:
With treatment the outlook is good.
Things to be aware of… Lymphogranuloma Venereum Complications:
Complications of untreated LGV may include enlargement and ulcerations of the external genitalia and lymphatic obstruction, which may lead to elephantiasis of the genitalia as well as:
- Abnormal connections between the rectum and vagina
- Brain inflammation (very rare)
- Infections in the joints, eyes, heart, or liver
- Long-term inflammation and swelling of the genitals
- Scarring and narrowing of the rectum
Complications can occur many years after you are first infected.
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