Donovanosis Information And Pictures

"Sexplained One - Sex & Your Health" by Helen J Knox
“Sexplained One – Sex & Your Health” by Helen J Knox
The following is a copyright extract from
“Sexplained One – Sex & Your Health”
by Helen J Knox – used here, with permission.

What is Donovanosis?

Donovanosis is an ulcerative sexual infection that is most commonly found in tropical countries.

There are four types of Donovanosis sores:

(1) nodular ( a small collection of cells);

(2) ulcero-vegetative ( a wart like ulcer that grows);

(3) cicatricial (scarring);

(4) hypertrophic or verrucous (enlarged or as if wart-like growths).

Donovanosis is one of several infections that cause GUD (Genital Ulcerative Disease) and is frequently associated with other sexual infections.

Other name

Donovanosis is also called ‘granuloma inguinale’ or ‘granuloma venereum’:

* a ‘granuloma’ is a nodular (knobbly — bumpy) area of inflammation;

* ‘inguinale’ relates to the inguinal (groin) area that is commonly involved;

* ‘venereum’ means sexually transmitted (acquired).


Where does Donovanosis come from?

Caused by the bacteria called Klebsiella granulomatis, which was previously called Calymmatobacterium granulomatis. Donovanosis was discovered in 1882 by an army doctor called Colonel Donovan.

At that time it was called a ‘serpiginous ulcer’ (a sore with raised edges that creep like a snake as it grows and destroys normal skin).


How is Donovanosis passed on?

Donovanosis is usually acquired sexually; but it may also be passed in faeces, (pronounced fee-cees) meaning solid waste (poo).


How long does Donovanosis take to show?

Donovanosis usually shows between three and 40 days (within six weeks) of transmission. But it sometimes takes up to a year to present. Some people may even be in prolonged contact without becoming infected.


What might be noticed if I have Donovanosis?

The following may be noticed with Donovanosis:

* a large painless ulcer that spreads slowly, most commonly in the genital area;

* an itchy red lump or nodule, with raised, fleshy edges;

* flattish raised patches that gradually expand (dry ulcers);

* unusual vaginal or anal discharge when Donovanosis is on the cervix (neck of the womb) or in the rectum;

* that it destroys healthy skin while it painlessly enlarges at the site of infection;

* pseudo-buboes (nodular or lumpy lesions) may appear, which are like lymph nodes;

* it may break through the skin, forming sores that appear ‘bee* red’ in colour;

* it may bleed easily when aggravated;

* sores that are usually located in areas of skin folds, e.g. the groin, which allows ‘auto-inoculation’ (self infection) to occur;

* further sores that may develop next to the original sores;

* the scalp, lips, mouth, arms, legs, bones and/or abdomen may also become involved;

* a foul smell, if the sores become infected;

* rarely, lymphoedema (swollen lymph glands) and occasionally large, multiple growths, like a mass of genital warts;

* the lymph glands (circulatory drainage system) may swell in the external genital organs – sometimes described as appearing like ‘elephantiasis’.


What tests are there to check if I’ve been passed Donovanosis?

Tests for Donovanosis include:

* clinical assessment — looking at the sores and listening to the patient’s story about their symptoms, lifestyle, sexual and travel history;

* swab tests and/or skin samples — through which rod-shaped Donovan bodies (tiny cells) may be seen under a microscope;

* a blood test — (although it is not widely available);

* tests to exclude other causes of GU


Which other medical conditions can appear in a similar way?

Other condition which may present in a similar way as Donovanosis include:

* Bejel;

* Chancroid;

* Genital Warts;

* Herpes;

* Molluscum;

* Pinta;

* Syphilis;

* Yaws.


Can Donovanosis be cured?

Yes. Donovanosis can be cured, but it may recur for up to 18 months after treatment ends.

As it is a bacterial infection, it can be transmitted and contracted again.


What complications can happen if Donovanosis is not treated?

Complications of Donovanosis include:

* progressive enlargement of the ulcers;

* destruction of large areas of skin;

* bleeding and mutilation (damage);

* scarring;

* genital swelling.

Less commonly it can:

* spread to the bone and gut through the bloodstream;

* damage the spleen, liver, kidneys and spinal cord;

* pass to a baby during pregnancy;

* possibly lead to two types of skin cancer (in the long term);

* sometimes, result in death.

NOTE: someone with open sores is at increased risk of contracting HIV and other infections.


What treatment is there if I’ve got Donovanosis?

Treatment for Donovaosis is with a full course of antibiotics.


What should I do after I finish the treatment for Donovanosis?

After treatment for Donovanosis, you should be seen by the doctor treating you until all your symptoms have resolved — and until they tell you they don’t need to see you again.


Will my partner(s) need to be treated, too?

Yes. Any sexual partner(s) that you had during the six weeks before your symptoms started should be screened and treated appropriately.


Does Donovanosis affect the baby?

Yes. Donovanosis may affect the baby if a woman has it during pregnancy.


If I’ve had Donovanosis, will I still be able to have a baby?

Donovanosis is not associated with infertility. if you experience internal symptoms, speak to your doctor about this topic.


How soon can I have sex again?

You should avoid sex until you are completely healed and until your partner has also been appropriately treated and healed if they have symptoms, too.

See the section on Safer Sex.


How can I avoid catching Donovanosis?

Avoid sexual contact with anyone who has an open genital sore or ulcer and always use a condom when you are sexually active.


What should I be aware of if I am travelling to countries where Donovanosis is quite common?

When travelling, make sure you take your own condoms with you and be aware of the medical facilities that are available, in case you need to seek assistance.

Be sensible and careful when you are visiting other countries and don’t be too trusting. Be extremely careful if you choose to have sex with a new partner — especially if they have been sexually active with other people.

See the section on Safer Sex.


When I use hormonal contraception, will the treatment interfere with my protection?

See the section on Safer Sex.


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