Chancroid is a bacterial infection that causes open sores on or around the genitals of men and women. It’s a type of sexually transmitted disease (STD), which means it’s transmitted through sexual contact. It’s rarely seen in the United States. It occurs most frequently in developing nations.
The bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi causes this infection. It attacks tissue in the genital area and produces an open sore that’s sometimes referred to as a chancroid or ulcer.
The ulcer may bleed or produce a contagious fluid that can spread bacteria during oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse. Chancroid may also spread from skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
Who is at risk for chancroid?
If you’re sexually active, you may be at risk for chancroid. If you travel to or live in a country that’s lacking in certain resources, you may be more at risk than people who live in places with abundant resources. These resources include:
If you’re a heterosexual male or a minority, you’re risk of chancroid increases. Other risk factors for chancroid include:
sex with commercial sex workers
drug and alcohol use disorder
anything associated with higher risk sexual practices
What are the symptoms of chancroid?
The symptoms may vary in men and women, but typically they begin four to seven days after exposure.
Men may notice a small, red bump on their genitals that may change to an open sore within a day or two. The ulcer may form on any area of the genitals, including the penis and scrotum. The ulcers are frequently painful.
Women may develop four or more red bumps on the labia, between the labia and anus, or on the thighs. The labia are the folds of skin that cover the female genitals. After the bumps become ulcerated, or open, women may experience a burning or painful sensation during urination or bowel movements.
Additional symptoms in men and women
The following symptoms can occur in both men and women:
The ulcers can vary in size and are usually anywhere from 1/8 to 2 inches across.
The ulcers have a soft center that’s gray to yellowish-gray with defined, or sharp, edges.
The ulcers may bleed easily if touched.
Pain may occur during sexual intercourse or while urinating.
Swelling in the groin, which is where the lower abdomen and thigh meet, may occur.
Swollen lymph nodes can break through the skin and lead to large abscesses, or collections of pus, that drain.
Diagnosing the condition may involve taking samples of the fluid that drains from the sore. These samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis. Diagnosing chancroid currently isn’t possible through blood testing. Your doctor may also examine the lymph nodes in your groin for swelling and pain.
Chancroid may be successfully treated with medication or surgery.
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that are causing your ulcers. Antibiotics may also help decrease the chance of scarring as the ulcer heals.
Your doctor may drain a large and painful abscess in your lymph nodes with a needle or through surgery. This reduces swelling and pain as the sore heals but might cause some light scarring at the site.
What is to be expected in the long term?
The condition is curable if treated. Chancroid sores may heal without noticeable scarring if all medications are taken as prescribed by your physician. Untreated chancroid conditions may cause permanent scarring on the genitals of men and lead to serious complications and infections in women.
If you’re diagnosed with chancroid, you’re also at risk for all other STDs so you should be tested for them as well. Additionally, people who are HIV positive that contract chancroid tend to heal more slowly.
You can avoid getting this disease by using condoms during sexual contact.
Other preventive measures include:
limiting the number of sexual partners and practicing safe sex
avoiding high-risk activities that may lead to getting chancroid or other sexually transmitted infections
alerting all partners if you develop the condition so that they may be tested and treated as well
Botulism is a serious illness caused by the botulinum toxin. The toxin causes paralysis. Paralysis starts in the face and spreads to the limbs. If it reaches the breathing muscles, respiratory failure can result.
The toxin is produced by Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a type of bacterium.
All types of botulism eventually lead to paralysis, so any case of botulism is treated as a medical emergency.
In the past, it was often fatal, but antitoxins have significantly improved the outlook.
In 2015, the United States saw the biggest outbreak of botulism in 40 years. It stemmed from improperly home-canned potatoes that were shared at a potluck meal.
[botulinum toxin is responsible for botulism]
Botulism is a serious disease caused by the botulinum toxin.
The signs and symptoms depend on the type of botulism.
In food-borne botulism, signs and symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea followed by constipation and abdominal distention. There may be weakness and difficulty breathing. Symptoms normally appear between 18 and 36 hours after consuming the contaminated food, but this can vary between 3 hours and 8 days.
In wound botulism, the nerves that connect the brain to the spine, known as the cranial nerves, experience the first symptoms. This then spreads to the rest of the body. The incubation period is from 4 days to 2 weeks.
Neurological signs and symptoms of adult, food-borne, and wound botulism are the same, but the symptoms of wound botulism ones may take longer to appear.
The patient may experience double or blurred vision, the eyelids may droop, there will be facial weakness, a dry mouth, dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, and speech slurring. Muscles will become weak.
Next, paralysis will set in. Without treatment, the patient's breathing muscles will eventually become paralyzed, resulting in respiratory failure and death.
The patient remains conscious during this process.
In infant botulism, signs and symptoms may include:
excessive drooling when feeding
flat facial expression
lethargy and listlessness
slow or improper reflexes
weak crying weakly
floppiness and poor muscle tone
no gag reflex
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by your body’s response to an infection. Your immune system protects you from many illnesses and infections, but it’s also possible for it to go into overdrive in response to an infection.
Sepsis develops when the chemicals the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. Severe cases of sepsis can lead to septic shock, which is a medical emergency.
There are more than 1.5 million cases of sepsis each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What are the symptoms of sepsis?
There are three stages of sepsis: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. Sepsis can happen while you’re still in the hospital recovering from a procedure, but this isn’t always the case.
It’s important to seek immediate medical attention if you have any of the below symptoms. The earlier you seek treatment, the greater your chances of survival.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
a fever above 101ºF (38ºC) or a temperature below 96.8ºF (36ºC)
heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
breathing rate higher than 20 breaths per minute
probable or confirmed infection
You must have two of these symptoms before a doctor can diagnose sepsis.
Severe sepsis occurs when there’s organ failure. You must have one or more of the following signs to be diagnosed with severe sepsis:
patches of discolored skin
changes in mental ability
low platelet (blood clotting cells) count
abnormal heart functions
chills due to fall in body temperature
Symptoms of septic shock include the symptoms of severe sepsis, plus a very low blood pressure.
The serious effects of sepsis
Although sepsis is potentially life-threatening, the illness ranges from mild to severe. There’s a higher rate of recovery in mild cases.
Septic shock has close to a 50 percent mortality rate, according to the Mayo Clinic. Having a case of severe sepsis increases your risk of a future infection.
Severe sepsis or septic shock can also cause complications. Small blood clots can form throughout your body. These clots block the flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs and other parts of your body. This increases the risk of organ failure and tissue death (gangrene).
What causes sepsis?
Any infection can trigger sepsis, but the following types of infections are more likely to cause sepsis:
According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the number of sepsis cases in the United States increases every year. Possible reasons for the increase include:
an aging population, because sepsis is more common in seniors
an increase in antibiotic resistance, which happens when an antibiotic loses its ability to resist or kill bacteria
an increase in the number of people with illnesses that weaken their immune systems
Who is at risk for sepsis?
Although some people have a higher risk of infection, anyone can get sepsis. People who are at risk include:
young children and seniors
people with weaker immune systems, such as those with HIV or those in chemotherapy treatment for cancer
people being treated in an intensive care unit (ICU)
people exposed to invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes
Candidiasis is a yeast infection caused by Candida, a type of yeast that typically grows in damp, dark areas of the body. It can occur between skin folds, such as in your groin area and under your arms. Yeast can also take up residence in your belly button, especially if you don’t keep it clean and dry.
Candidiasis in your belly button causes a red, itchy rash on your navel and may also cause a thick, white discharge.
People with diabetes are more likely to get yeast infections. This is because yeast feeds on sugar, and high blood sugar is a hallmark of poorly treated diabetes. A study of Brazilian woman showed that women with diabetes were more prone to vaginal yeast infections than women who didn’t have diabetes.
Other studies suggest that other forms of yeast infections, including yeast infections in the belly button, may be more common among people with diabetes.
If you’ve recently had abdominal surgery, such as hernia repair, you might notice pus draining from your belly button. If this happens, call your doctor. It could be a sign of an infection that needs to be treated.
When you were developing in your mother’s womb, your bladder was connected to the umbilical cord by a small tube called the urachus. This is how urine drained from your body. Usually the urachus closes up before birth, but sometimes it fails to close properly.
A fluid-filled growth called a cyst can form on the urachus. The cyst can get infected. One symptom of this infection is cloudy or bloody fluid leaking from your navel.
Other symptoms of urachal cysts include:
a lump in your abdomen
pain when you urinate
A sebaceous cyst is a bump that can form in your belly button, as well as on other parts of your body. It forms from the oil-releasing glands in your skin called sebaceous glands.
There may be a blackhead pimple in the center of the cyst. If the cyst is infected, a thick, yellow, and foul-smelling discharge will drain from it. The cyst might also be red and swollen.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have discharge. It could be a sign of infection, especially if you’ve recently had surgery. Other symptoms of an infection include:
tenderness in your abdomen
pain when you urinate
Bacterial vaginosis is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by the overgrowth of bacteria naturally found in the vagina, which upsets the natural balance.
Women in their reproductive years are most likely to get bacterial vaginosis, but it can affect women of any age. The cause isn't completely understood, but certain activities, such as unprotected sex or frequent douching, increase your risk.
Bacterial vaginosis signs and symptoms may include:
Thin, gray, white or green vaginal discharge
Foul-smelling "fishy" vaginal odor
Burning during urination
Many women with bacterial vaginosis have no signs or symptoms.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if:
You have vaginal discharge that's new and associated with an odor or fever. Your doctor can help determine the cause and identify signs and symptoms.
You've had vaginal infections before, but the color and consistency of your discharge seems different this time.
You have multiple sex partners or a recent new partner. Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection are similar to those of bacterial vaginosis.
You try self-treatment for a yeast infection with an over-the-counter treatment and your symptoms persist.
Bacterial vaginosis results from overgrowth of one of several bacteria naturally found in your vagina. Usually, "good" bacteria (lactobacilli) outnumber "bad" bacteria (anaerobes). But if there are too many anaerobic bacteria, they upset the natural balance of microorganisms in your vagina and cause bacterial vaginosis.
Risk factors for bacterial vaginosis include:
Having multiple sex partners or a new sex partner. Doctors don't fully understand the link between sexual activity and bacterial vaginosis, but the condition occurs more often in women who have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner. Bacterial vaginosis also occurs more frequently in women who have sex with women.
Douching. The practice of rinsing out your vagina with water or a cleansing agent (douching) upsets the natural balance of your vagina. This can lead to an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria, and cause bacterial vaginosis. Since the vagina is self-cleaning, douching isn't necessary.
Natural lack of lactobacilli bacteria. If your natural vaginal environment doesn't produce enough of the good lactobacilli bacteria, you're more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis.
Bacterial vaginosis doesn't generally cause complications. Sometimes, having bacterial vaginosis may lead to:
Preterm birth. In pregnant women, bacterial vaginosis is linked to premature deliveries and low birth weight babies.
Sexually transmitted infections. Having bacterial vaginosis makes women more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, herpes simplex virus, chlamydia or gonorrhea. If you have HIV, bacterial vaginosis increases the odds that you'll pass the virus on to your partner.
Infection risk after gynecologic surgery. Having bacterial vaginosis may increase the risk of developing a post-surgical infection after procedures such as hysterectomy or dilation and curettage (D&C).
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Bacterial vaginosis can sometimes cause PID, an infection of the uterus and the fallopian tubes that can increase the risk of infertility.
To help prevent bacterial vaginosis:
Minimize vaginal irritation. Use mild, nondeodorant soaps and unscented tampons or pads.
Don't douche. Your vagina doesn't require cleansing other than normal bathing. Frequent douching disrupts the vaginal balance and may increase your risk of vaginal infection. Douching won't clear up a vaginal infection.
Avoid a sexually transmitted infection. Use a male latex condom, limit your number of sex partners or abstain from intercourse to minimize your risk of a sexually transmitted infection.
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