Granuloma inguinale (Klebsiella granulomatis)

Granuloma inguinale is a sexually transmitted infection caused by Klebsiella granulomatis, a bacteria. Klebsiella is still found in Papua New Guinea, Australia, southern Africa, the Caribbean, and parts of Brazil and India. Klebsiella causes chronic inflammation and scarring of the genitals.

Symptoms of Klebsiella

  • Begin 1-12 weeks after infection
  • Painless, red nodule that grows into a round, raised lump
  • The lump then breaks down into a sore near the site of initial infection
  • This can be the vulva and vagina and surrounding areas in women
  • Or the face in either gender
  • Anus, buttocks in those having anal sex
  • Sores can spread to other areas
  • Slow healing, cause scarring
  • Infection may spread through the bloodstream to bones, joints or liver (rare)

Treatment of Klebsiella

Antibiotics are used (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole or doxycycline by mouth for at least three weeks), and both sex partners must be treated. Improvements are seen within seven days, but if the infection has spread into the lymph glands in the groin, healing is slower and lumps may reappear. Treatment is therefore required for longer. Once treated, checkups should be done bi-annually. 

Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)