Syphilis – One of the Oldest Known STDs

SyphilisHow do you get Syphilis/How can you get it? Syphilis Causes:

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has often been called ‘the great imitator’ because so many of the signs and symptoms are indistinguishable from those of other diseases.

Syphilis is spread through skin-to-skin contact when someone touches a sore on a person who has it. The sores are usually on the mouth, penis, vagina, or anus. It is usually transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact.

Although transmission occurs from persons with sores who are in the primary or secondary stage, many of these sores are unrecognized. Thus, transmission may occur from persons who are unaware of their infection.

How to tell if you have it? Syphilis Symptoms:

Often, syphilis has no symptoms or has such mild symptoms that a person doesn’t notice them. There are considered to be four stages of syphilis:

Primary Syphilis

  • Chancre: The primary stage of syphilis is usually marked by the appearance of a single sore, known as a chancre, within 10 to 90 days after contact with the bacteria at the site of infection. It is usually appears as a single, painless sore, that is raised or elevated.
  • Chancres may be found: outside the genitals, including the penis, scrotum and vagina; inside the vagina or rectum; at or around the anus; or, on the lips or in the mouth, though this is not as common. The sore can last from one to five weeks and will go away by itself.
  • The chancre will go away with or without treatment. Without treatment, the person will still have syphilis and can transmit it to others.
Secondary Stage — Other symptoms often appear 3–6 weeks after the sores appear. These syphilis symptoms may come and go for up to 2 years. They include body rashes that last 2–6 weeks — often on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. There are many other symptoms, including mild fever, fatigue, sore throat, hair loss, weight loss, swollen glands, headache, and muscle pains.
Latent Stage

  • Latent syphilis is defined as the time where there are no signs or symptoms of the disease
  • Develops from 2 to 30+ years after infection.
  • Because there are no signs or symptoms, the only way to test for infection during the latent period is by blood test.
  • A relapse of secondary syphilis can occur once the disease has entered the latent stage. This normally will happen during the first two years of latency.

Late Stage — 1 out of 3 people who have syphilis that is not treated suffer serious damage to the nervous system, heart, brain, or other organs, and death may result. This can occur 1–20 years after the start of the infection.

How to know if you have it? Syphilis Tests:

Syphilis is screened for with microscopic examination of fluid from sores, blood tests, and/or examination of the spinal fluid.

Relief spells (Rolaids?!) Syphilis Treatment:

The early stages of syphilis are easy to treat. A single dose of penicillin can usually cure a person who has had an infection for less than a year. Additional doses are needed to treat someone who has had syphilis for longer than a year.

For people who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics are available for treatment.

Keep in mind that any damage caused by syphilis in the later stages cannot be undone. If you are at risk for syphilis, regular testing will help you catch the infection at its earliest, most treatable phase.

What’s going to happen to me?!!?! Syphilis Expectations:

Treatment will kill the bacterium and prevent further damage, but it will not repair damage already done.

Persons who receive treatment must abstain from sexual contact with new partners until the sores are completely healed. Persons with syphilis must notify their sex partners so that they also can be tested and receive treatment if necessary.

Things to be aware of… Syphilis Complications:

People with untreated syphilis may develop neurosyphilis – a potentially serious disorder of the nervous system, blindness, paralysis, and problems with your bones and internal organs, including your heart.

Infants born to mothers with syphilis can be born with very severe mental and physical problems.

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Did this information help you or was this consistent with your experience? Are we missing something pertinent you think should be included in this in-depth description? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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