Granuloma inguinale


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What is granuloma inguinale?

Granuloma inguinale, also known as donovanosis, is a condition caused by a bacterium called Klebsiella granulomatis, formerly known as Calymmatobacterium granulomatis. Its characteristics may typically include ulcerative genital lesions. It is endemic in many less developed regions. Besides the two common name: granuloma inguinale and donovanosis, other less common names are granuloma genitoinguinale, granuloma inguinale tropicum, granuloma venereum, granuloma venereum genitoinguinale, lupoid form of groin ulceration, serpiginous ulceration of the groin, ulcerating granuloma of the pudendum, and ulcerating sclerosing granuloma.

Because of the scarcity of medical treatment in the countries in which it is found, the disease often goes untreated. Additionally, the painless genital ulcers can be mistaken for syphilis. The ulcers ultimately progress to the breakdown of internal and external tissue, with extensive leakage of mucus and blood from the highly vascular lesions. The destructive nature of donovanosis also increases the risk of superinfection by other pathogenic microbes.

How common is granuloma inguinale?

It is found that the disease spreads mostly through vaginal or anal intercourse. Very rarely, it spreads during oral sex. Men are affected more than twice as often as women. Most infections occur in people ages 20 to 40.

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of granuloma inguinale?

Depending on the severity of granuloma inguinale, the signs and symptoms of granuloma inguinale can be very different from one person to another:

  • About one half of infected men and women have sores in the anal area.
  • Small, beefy-red bumps appear on the genitals or around the anus.
  • The skin gradually wears away, and the bumps turn into raised, beefy-red, velvety nodules called granulation tissue. They are often painless, but they bleed easily if injured.
  • The disease slowly spreads and destroys genital tissue.
  • Tissue damage may spread to the groin.
  • The genitals and the skin around them lose skin color.

In the early stages, it may be difficult to diagnose the difference between donovanosis and chancroid. However, in the later stages, donovanosis may look like advanced genital cancers, lymphogranuloma venereum, and anogenital cutaneous amebiasis.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes granuloma inguinale?

Granuloma inguinale is a condition which is caused by the bacteria Klebsiella granulomatis. The disease is frequently found in tropical and subtropical areas such as southeast India, Guyana, and New Guinea.

There are about 100 cases reported per year in the United States. Most of these cases occur in people who have traveled to or are from places where the disease is common.

Vaginal and anal intercourse are found as the ways that let the disease spreads through. Very rarely, it spreads during oral sex. Men are affected more than as often as women. The ages 20 to 40 is mostly get the infections.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for granuloma inguinale?

There are many risk factors for granuloma inguinale, such as:

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is granuloma inguinale diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you experience granuloma inguinale, he/she will perform an exam to determine this condition. Based on the patient’s sexual history and on physical examination revealing a painless, “beefy-red ulcer” with a characteristic rolled edge of granulation tissue, the disease will be determined. In contrast to syphilitic ulcers, inguinal lymphadenopathy is generally mild or absent. Tissue biopsy and Wright-Giemsa stain are used to aid in the diagnosis. The presence of Donovan bodies in the tissue sample confirms donovanosis. Donovan bodies are rod-shaped, oval organisms that can be seen in the cytoplasm of mononuclear phagocytes or histiocytes in tissue samples from patients with granuloma inguinale.

They appear deep purple when stained with Wright’s stain. These intracellular inclusions are the encapsulated Gram-negative rods of the causative organisms.

How is granuloma inguinale treated?

Because this is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are used to treat donovanosis. These may include azithromycin, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. To cure the condition, long-term treatment is required. Most treatment courses last 3 weeks, or until the sores have completely healed. A follow-up examination is important because the disease can reappear after it seems to be cured.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage granuloma inguinale?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with granuloma inguinale:

The disease is effectively treated with antibiotics, therefore, developed countries have a very low incidence of donovanosis; about 100 cases reported each year in the United States. However, sexual contacts with individuals in endemic regions dramatically increase the risk of contracting the disease. Avoiding these sexual contacts, and sexually transmitted disease testing before beginning a sexual relationship, is effective preventative measures for donovanosis.

Besides that, using condoms and regular medical check-up are also important to help you prevent granuloma inguinale.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: August 2, 2017 | Last Modified: August 4, 2017

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