Objective: Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted disease, endemic in tropical and subtropical areas for many years. After 2003 there have been several outbreaks in western countries, especially among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). An important manifestation of LGV is a proctitis, with a clinical presentation and endoscopic findings resembling those of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). LGV is considered new in Scandinavia. This case report focuses on difficulties in differentiating LGV and IBD.
Material and methods: This case report used a systematic search in the literature using PubMed and clinical cases from the Department of Infectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Denmark (Cases 1-3) and the Section of Surgery, Hamar Hospital, Norway (Case 4).
Results: Clinical and endoscopic findings in LGV and IBD resemble each other. All cases were MSM. Three out of four were HIV-positive. Three out of four contacted their general practitioner (GP) due to gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, and were referred to a gastroenterologist (GE) with suspicion of IBD. Because of non-successful IBD treatment, control of HIV status, relapses of GI-symptoms or extended information concerning sexual habits, LGV was suspected and diagnosed. All patients responded with remission of GI-symptoms and endoscopic findings after oral treatment with doxycycline.
Conclusion: Due to similarities between LGV and IBD, LGV should be considered as a differential diagnosis in patients with proctitis or IBD-related symptoms, especially among HIV-positive men. Hence LGV patients may be spared long-lasting examination, mistreatment and surgery.