Signs and symptoms
These are only local and no systemic manifestations are present.
The ulcer characteristically:
- Ranges in size dramatically from 3 to 50 mm (1/8 inch to two inches) across
- Is painful
- Has sharply defined, undermined borders
- Has irregular or ragged borders
- Has a base that is covered with a gray or yellowish-gray material
- Has a base that bleeds easily if traumatized or scraped
- painful swollen lymph nodes occurs in 30 to 60% of patients.
- dysuria (pain with urination) and dyspareunia (pain with intercourse) in females
About half of infected men have only a single ulcer. Women frequently have four or more ulcers, with fewer symptoms.
The initial ulcer may be mistaken as a "hard" chancre, the typical sore of primary syphilis, as opposed to the "soft chancre" of chancroid.
Approximately one-third of the infected individuals will develop enlargements of the inguinal lymph nodes, the nodes located in the fold between the leg and the lower abdomen.
Half of those who develop swelling of the inguinal lymph nodes will progress to a point where the nodes rupture through the skin, producing draining abscesses. The swollen lymph nodes and abscesses are often referred to as buboes.