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Ask a Dermatologist Free: Chancroid

Dear Doctor

I had unsafe anal sex with a girl. A couple of days later I had a small bump start to apper on the foreskin of my penis. It got bigger and started to itch like crazy. I have had no bleeding or discharge or pain just severe itching. Then another itchy bump appeared on my testicles.

I went to the emergency room and the doctor said I have chancroid and that its very contagious and rare. He gave me antibiotics to clear it up but after a while it came back.

I have had these bumps between my inner thighs and now they are on the head of my penis. I scratch myself to death between my thighs and penis on the sores. The sores always scab up after a week or so then they are gone.

Im confused because if its chancroid how come it came back after I took the antibiotics? Please look at my picture I have attached and confirm if its chancroid.

ask a dermatologist free

Dear Client


The criteria for making a diagnosis for chancroid according to the CDC includes a painful ulcer or wound in the genital region.

Therefore if the ulcer is not painful it is unlikely to be chancroid.

Pubic Lice

The severe itch suggests that you may have contracted genital lice or scabies since chancroid is not itchy.

I therefore suggest that you be re-examined for lice and oval eggs (nits) attached to the pubic hair. Though they can be seen with the naked, a magnifying glass makes the job much easier.

If pubic lice are present, they are treated by applying Permethrin 1% cream to the pubic region and washing it off after 10 minutes.

Malathion 0.5% lotion can also be applied and washed off after 10 hours. Pregnant and nursing women should not use this medication.

Ivermectin can also be taken by mouth at a dose of 250 micrograms/kg body weight and repeated after 2 weeks. Pregnant and nursing women should not use this medication.

Pubic Scabies

Scabies can be acquired sexually by adults and the most common symptom is an itch which tends to worsen at night. A scabies rash and tiny burrows may also be seen.

Scabies is treated by applying Permethrin 5% cream from the neck to the toes and washing it off after 12 hours.

Ivermectin can also be taken by mouth at a dose of 200 micrograms/kg body weight and repeated after 2 weeks. Pregnant and nursing women should not use this medication.

In addition, all clothing and bedding should be machine washed and dried using the hot cycle.

Genital Herpes

Your picture is not very clear and I’d like to know if those bumps on the penis contain fluid because if they do it suggests you may have herpes which tends to recur.

Doing a PCR test for HSV (herpes simplex virus)  DNA  can help make the diagnosis.

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