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What Is Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)?

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by rare and aggressive forms of chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. LGV attacks the lymph nodes around the genitals or anus.

Phases of LGV

The first phase of LGV is known as the incubation phase. During this phase, which usually lasts between two and four weeks, people infected with LGV develop small bumps or ulcers on their genitals.

As these bumps or lesions aren’t painful and disappear after about a week, most people don’t seek treatment until they are in the acute phase. During this phase, people experience swelling and some tenderness around their groin.

If left untreated, LGV can trigger an inflammatory response and cause constipation, rectal bleeding, and other unpleasant side effects. When this occurs, the LGV is classed as chronic.

Chlamydia Trachomatis Bacteria

LGV is caused by chlamydia trachomatis serovars L1, L2, or L3. These are three rare strains of the bacteria that cause chlamydia. These strains are very uncommon in the United States. They are much more prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions.

LGV in the United States

As the strains of bacteria that cause it are uncommon in the United States, rates of LGV infection here are relatively low. It’s unclear exactly how common LGV is in the United States because tests often don’t differentiate infections caused by various strains of chlamydia trachomatis. Cases may also go unreported.

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