The recommended treatment of donovanosis involves the use of the antibiotic azithromycin, which is administered orally in a dose of one gram weekly or 500 mg daily. The treatment must be continued for a long duration (more than three weeks) to ensure proper healing.
Certain alternative regimens are sometimes recommended, which include:
- Doxycycline 100 mg administered orally two times a day for at least three weeks and until all lesions have completely healed
- Erythromycin base 500 mg administered orally four times a day for over three weeks and until all lesions have completely healed
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole one double-strength (160/800 mg) tablet administered orally two times a day over three weeks and until all lesions have completely healed
The doctor may add other antibiotics (combination therapy) to any of these regimens if no improvement is seen within a few days of starting the treatment.
Relapses have been reported about 6 to 18 months after effective therapy. Hence, regular follow-up is needed until all the signs and symptoms of donovanosis go away.
What are the complications of donovanosis?
Early treatment of donovanosis is necessary to prevent tissue damage. Untreated cases may result in genital tissue damage, leading to scarring, discoloration of the genitals, and permanent genital swelling (lymphedema). Chronic scars or lesions may develop into cancer (squamous or basal cell carcinoma).
What is donovanosis?
Donovanosis or granuloma inguinale is a chronic sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Klebsiella granulomatis (previously called Calymmatobacterium granulomatis).
- The disease is quite rare in the U.S. with only about 1,000 cases reported per year.
- Most infections occur in people who have traveled to the places where this infection is common, such as tropical and subtropical areas (southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Guyana, and New Guinea).
The disease mainly spreads through vaginal and anal intercourse and rarely through oral sex. It affects both males and females and is most commonly seen in people aged 20 to 40 years olds.
Donovanosis may be transmitted from mother to child during the passage of the baby through an infected birth canal.
What are the symptoms of donovanosis?
The signs and symptoms of donovanosis may occur as early as a day to as late as a year after the infection and may include:
- Anal sores (seen in about 50 percent of the affected individuals)
- Bumps (itchy and red) in the anal and genital area
- Ulcerations in the genital and anal areas (painless, beefy-red ulcers that tend to bleed easily)
- Genital swelling
- Change in the color of the genitals and the surrounding skin
- Knife cut-like appearance of the skin folds
The lesions keep progressing with time to damage the genital tissues. There could be narrowing or stricture formation of the genital and urinary passages. The lesions often grow to form masses that may resemble genital warts.
The long-term infection leads to permanent swelling or elephantiasis of the genitals that is more commonly seen in females than in males.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Granuloma Inguinale (Donovanosis). https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/donovanosis.htm
Satter EK. Granuloma Inguinale (Donovanosis). Medscape. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1052617-overview
Ngan V. Granuloma inguinale. DermNet New Zealand. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/granuloma-inguinale
Top How Is Donovanosis Treated Related Articles
Can I Get Any STDs Through Clothing?Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) cannot be transmitted through clothing. Some such as pubic lice, scabies and molluscum contagiosum can be transmitted by sharing clothes with an infected person.
Do Cold Sores Mean You Have an STD?Having a cold sore does not necessarily mean you have an STD. Most of the cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which usually affects the lips and is not generally transmitted by sexual contact.
Sexual HealthSexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
Sexual Health: Safe Sex Mistakes to AvoidEveryone makes mistakes. But when it comes to sex, they can be costly. WebMD explores common safe sex slip-ups.
Sexual Health: Things You Should (and Shouldn't) Do After SexSome simple steps after sex can keep you and your partner clean and healthy. Learn more from this WebMD slideshow.
Sexual Health: Common Sex Injuries and Other HazardsSex is supposed to be pleasurable, but make the wrong moves in the bedroom, and it can hurt.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
STD QuizThere are more sexually transmitted diseases than just the ones you've heard of. Find out what you've been missing with the STD Quiz.
STDs in MenSexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge. Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes. Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
STDs: Common SymptomsSexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are transmitted during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Symptoms may include genital sores, unusual discharge, pain during sex or urination, and itching or discomfort.
What Are the Symptoms of STD In Females?Many women may not show any symptoms of STDs and may be unaware of the need for treatment.
What Are the Top 10 STDs?According to the American Social Health Organization, each year one out of four teens in the United States develops a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Half of all sexually active young adults get an STD by the age of 25 years.
What Tests Are Done for STDs?Testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) includes blood tests, urine samples, and vaginal, oral or rectal swabs. Your doctor will recommend the appropriate STD test based on your sexual history.
Yeast infections vs. STDs in Men and Women