Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a type of sexually transmissible infection (STI) that is caused by a rare and virulent strain of C. trachomatis (the bacteria that is responsible for Chlamydia trachomatis) (1). It is often seen in gay and bisexual men and is especially common with those suffering from HIV. LGV is more prevalent in certain tropical and subtropical regions, but outbreaks in North America, Europe and Australia have occurred in the past decade. As LGV is caused by a strain of the chlamydia bacteria, chlamydia home remedies are effective, however, we have listed below the best home remedies for LGV that have been researched against the particular LGV strain of the disease.
Symptoms of LGV
Besides anal transmission, LGV can be passed from one individual to another via unprotected oral or vaginal sexual contact. The risk of transmission is increased when there is trauma in the mucous membranes or the skin. LGV can also be transmitted via the sharing of sex toys, and can even be passed on when the infected individual exhibits no symptoms.
Symptoms of LGV include:
- anal discomfort or pain
- anal discharge
- proctocolitis – a condition that mimics inflammatory bowel disease
- persistent feeling of needing to void one’s bowels (akin to constipation when there is none) (2).
When the infection occurs on other parts of the body, a sore or tiny painless lump can appear at the site of the infection (typically the vagina, mouth, rectum, penis or cervix) (3).
Most individuals fail to notice this as the lesion usually heals within a few days. The infection then spreads to the local lymph glands (e. g. the groin or the insides of the pelvis) throughout the course of the following two to six weeks. The lymph glands then may become swollen with pus, creating abscesses when they burst open. LGV infections can create scars and deformities across the infected areas throughout the final stages of the infection.
The lymph glands then may become swollen with pus, creating abscesses when they burst open. LGV infections can create scars and deformities across the infected areas throughout the final stages of the infection.
Individuals with LGV may also suffer from fever, weight loss, chills, sore muscles and joints and generally feeling under the weather.
LGV is difficult to diagnose when it is asymptomatic or when the only symptom is a painless papule, pustule, or ulceration (4). Typically, the diagnosis will involve a blood or fluid test. Infections on the anus and lymph glands can be diagnosed by swabs and testing for LGV strains of chlamydia.
If you suspect that you have been infected with LGV, you should avoid all forms of sexual activity and get tested for it (and other STIs) at a nearby sexual health clinic or general practitioner.
Antibiotics (usually doxycycline) are generally effective in treating LGV, but patients need to adhere to their medical prescriptions throughout the entire treatment plan (usually three full weeks). Pregnant and lactating women are treated with erythromycin instead of doxycycline (5). Needles can be used to drain any painful swollen lymph nodes, and surgery may be necessary to address the later stages of the disease.
These home remedies should not be viewed as a substitute for antibiotic treatment plans for LGV, as the infection can cause severe and often irreversible effects (e.g. widespread tissue damage, infertility and, pelvic inflammatory disease) if you fail to obtain adequate treatment during the early stages of the infection.
The following home remedies can nevertheless be used to alleviate the symptoms of chlamydia and help your body combat the growth and activity of the bacteria.
- Magnolia berries (five-flavor berry)
The overuse of antibiotics in treating bacterial infections has led to the development of antimicrobial resistance, where new bacteria strains evolve to resist the various mechanisms of action employed by the antimicrobial agents used to inhibit them.
As a result, researchers have looked towards plant-based antimicrobials as an alternative means to combat bacterial, fungal, protozoal and viral diseases (6).
A 2015 journal article published in The Journal of Antibiotics detailed how the ligands from magnolia berries demonstrated “profound” antichlamydial activity against Chlamydia pneumoniae and Chlamydia trachomatis (7).
To benefit, you can consume standardized Schisandra extract each day, or consume traditional Chinese dishes that incorporate it as a means to boost one’s health and vitality.
Goldenseal has been used as a medicinal plant by Native American tribes for years; researchers have recently demonstrated its ability to modulate macrophage responses and reduce the pro-inflammatory responses, thus indirectly alleviating the clinical symptoms demonstrated during infection (8). Berberine, a quaternary ammonium salt found in goldenseal, was also found to be effective in treating chlamydia of the eye (9).
Consuming goldenseal in the form of tablets each day can thus help combat chlamydial activity in your body.
- Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
A 2017 journal article published in Genome Announcements found that the Arthrobacter sp. strain EpSL2, extracted from the stem and leaves of the medicinal plant Echinacea purpurea, demonstrated strong inhibition activity toward human-pathogenic bacteria – including Chlamydia trachlomatis. It was also an effective home remedy for gonorrhea (10).
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recommends doses of 10 mg per kilogram of body weight over 10 days for one to benefit from the plant’s immunostimulatory and antimicrobial properties (11).
- Drink peppermint tea
Peppermint tea contains various polyphenols (e.g. eriocitrin, 12-hydroxyjasmonate sulfate, luteolin-O-rutinoside and rosmarinic acid). These compounds exhibit antimicrobial properties against a wide range of bacteria (including types of Chlamydia bacteria).
A 2013 journal article published in Food Research International revealed that seven commercial peppermint tea extracts demonstrated antichlamydial activity against Chlamydia pneumoniae (12).
The secondary metabolites found in peppermint teas (mainly catechins and glycosides of flavanones and flavones) demonstrated significant potency against the chlamydia bacteria. Regular consumption of peppermint tea can thus provide beneficial health effects (i.e. diminishing and preventing) on chlamydial respiratory tract infections.
Regular consumption of peppermint tea can thus provide beneficial health effects (i.e. diminishing and preventing) on chlamydial respiratory tract infections.
Other studies have also found positive antichlamydial effects in corn mint (Mentha arvensis), which contains the phenolic compounds of rosmarinic acid, linarin, and acacetin compounds (13).
- Chinese skullcap
Chinese skullcap has been utilized as a medicinal plant in China for thousands of years, as a means to treat diarrhea, dysentery, hypertension, hemorrhaging, insomnia, inflammation and respiratory infections (13).
In particular, the polyphenolic flavonoid baicalin was found to demonstrate antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects against C. trachomatis (14). As such, it is one of the best home remedies for LGV.
To benefit, you can consume Chinese skullcap in the form of capsules or in bulk powder form. The powdered root can be added to a cup of boiling water and consumed as tea.
- Desert truffles
Desert truffles are a type of mycorrhizal fungus native to the Arabian Peninsula, and have been used as a form of traditional medicine in Bahrain. They have been found to contain proteinaceous compounds that exhibit potent antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria, and Chlamydia trachomatis in particular (15).
Researchers speculate that T. claveryi and other species of desert truffles may even have other undiscovered medicinal uses beyond treating C. trachomatis.
Desert truffles are cheaper than their European counterparts and have a different taste, texture and, aroma. They can often be found in Arabian markets and grocery stores. They can be consumed through various traditional Middle Eastern dishes, such as the Mufaraket Kemeh (sauted dessert truffles sauteed with sauteed lamb).
- Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is a potent home remedy for LGV. It is used to cure several infections. Medicinal-grade oregano is harvested and then distilled into an essential oil to create oregano oil.
Carvacrol and Thymol are the active ingredients of the oil and these compounds are antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant (16). It protects the body by removing all sorts of toxins and fights infection including the chlamydia bacteria that causes LGV.
Very few people are intolerant to oregano oil and daily capsules of 50mg can be taken as a home remedy for LGV with no side effects. You can also apply oil directly to the infected areas.
Note: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid oregano oil.
- Improve Gut health
One of the most recognized biological properties of chlamydial bacteria species is their ability to remain associated with their host over long periods of time. Although it is rare, chlamydia has been known to reinfect individuals as it never really went away after initial treatment.
It is thought that chlamydiae bacteria reside in the gastrointestinal tract for long periods of time in the absence of visible symptoms. (17)
Therefore, any home remedy for LGV or chlamydia should also focus on improving gut health and the balance of bacteria in the lower intestine. There are many probiotics and prebiotics for improved gut health that you can add to your diet that will do just this.
- Use condoms when engaging in oral sex
- Use a new condom, dental dam or glove with each sexual partner
- Wash all sex toys with soapy water after use
- Get tested for other STDs (e. g. HIV, gonorrhea, and syphilis) if you have been diagnosed with LGV
- If you are sexually active, engage in regular sexual health checks to test for STIs (at least once a year; four times per year for MSM)
- Notify any previous sexual partner if you have been diagnosed with LGV to help prevent the infection from spreading further (from the past one month if you were symptomatic, and from the past six months if you were asymptomatic)
- Consume probiotic-rich food and drinks to boost your gut health and combat the infection
- If you have been diagnosed with LGV, abstain from sex until the antibiotic treatment process is over
- After the treatment process is over, avoid sexual intercourse with a previous partner (in the past three months) until he or she has been tested (and treated if infected) to avoid being re-infected