Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)

What is LGV?

This is a tropical sexually transmitted condition and causes ulcers on the genital area.

In recent years, we have seen a new “variation” of this infection which causes bowel symptoms in people who have anal sex or engage in “fisting” (so mostly in gay and bisexual men).

It is caused by a variant of Chlamydia BUT NOT the Chlamydia that we commonly see in most sexual infections- same family though.

Can cause ulcers and/or bowel symptoms

Treated with a longer course of antibiotics

Special tests identify this chlamydia type

Partners will need treatment

What are the symptoms?

Genitals: sores appear on the genital areas; in women they may not be visible as it could be inside the vagina.

The bacteria can then spread to the local lymph nodes (usually in the groin) which may only appear months after the original ulcer had appeared. The nodes get larger, like an abscess and may burst or ulcerate.

There can be complications if this third stage can happen.

Bottoms: constipation, blood or a bloody discharge coming from the back passage (anus or bum), pain when they open their bowels to go for a poo, and a feeling that they haven’t emptied their bowels fully ( this is called “ tenesmus”).

How is it diagnosed?

Bottoms and genital sores: swabs are taken to identify the type of Chlamydia.

Lymph nodes can be drained using a needle under sterile conditions- the bacteria can be found there.

What is the treatment?

Longer courses of antibiotic medication is important

Partners will need treatment

Sometimes we ask you to return to repeat the swab to make sure the infection has cleared.

Useful information

For more information visit the FPA website.