Syphilis

Syphilis information

This sexually contagious disease spreads by the bacteria scientifically known as Treponema pallidum. It is a disease that is making a comeback in many regions where the prevalence was down. Due to its nature, it is the women that inhibit the bacteria for longer before they show any signs. Nonetheless, there is a need for men to have some screening campaigns. Women have mandatory testing during their antenatal visits. The problem with men is it may take years to feel any signs. In the meantime, they are still active in sexual matters. Eventually, they end up infecting several people before finding out their status.

Clinical Stages of Syphilis

There are four medical stages of syphilis

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Latent
  • Tertiary

The first two stages are more visible than the latter two, as you will find out. Generally, the first manifestation is usually a painless sore around the infected area. This may be in your genitals, rectum, or mouth. The sore or chancre in medical terms disappears after a while. Since it does not cause any discomfort, many people may not raise the alarm.

Primary

It commences about two weeks after exposure to the bacteria. Some people may stay for a longer period without the initial sore.

Secondary

It is the time when sever discomfort starts to come in. In other people, the rashes and sores may include

  • Headaches
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

If you do not receive the right diagnosis and treatment, the disease goes to the next stage. If you manage the symptoms, they may go away and continue suffering from the disease.

Latent

It is commonly known as the hiding stage of syphilis. During this time, the disease remains passive in its manifestation. Sadly, the latent stage may take years to enter the last stage.

Tertiary

Few people reach this devastating stage. At this stage, most of your organs are damaged. Symptoms like blindness, heart failure, mental illness, stroke, and defective spinal cord are common.

Read More: Syphilis symptoms

Diagnosis

You may go for a clinical test or opt for the home test kit. It is preferable to visit a specialist, but due to stigma, many go for the self-test kit. Samples of your blood and affected areas go for lab testing. At the clinic, the doctor may request you to have extra venereal disease tests to ascertain the extent of your exposure. In all the two scenarios, you will have authentic results.

Get tested: Right Sign Syphilis Test

Get tested: One Step Syphilis Test

Treatment

Depending on the results, the doctor will discuss with you the next course of action. In most cases, the prescription is a combination of antibiotics. If the damage is severe, the medication will not reverse the situation. But will help clear the bacteria from the system and prevent further health risks.

Read More: Modern treatment of syphilis

References

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2019/4562385/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160511154209.htm

Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis

Syphilis information

This is a sexually transmitted disease that affects the genital and spreads to other parts of the body organs. There are no apparent signs of this disease as it manifests in stages. Usually, one can have the bacteria for many months or even years before noticing anything. This aspect of discreetness is what makes syphilis spread widely. In essence, the clinical signs depend on which stage one is in the disease. Notably, there are four stages.

  • Primary stage
  • Secondary stage
  • Latent (hidden) stage
  • Tertiary (late) stage

Primary Stage

The symptoms of syphilis can incubate in your body for up to 3 months after exposure. In the initial stages, you can develop some discomfort in your lymph nodes. In most cases, the swelling of the lymph nodes does not last for long. Eventually, it disappears. Visibly, you will notice some painless sores on your skin or the entry spot of the bacteria. If the sore develops inside your genitals, you may never notice any anomalies. About half of the people under exposure to the bacteria develop the chancre or sore during this stage.

Secondary Stage

It may take weeks or months for the secondary signs to come out after the initial sores. It is not a must that you have the signs right away. Some start noticing the manifestations after years. Nevertheless, you will still infect others when you do practice safe sex. Some of the symptoms include

  • Reddish-brown sores after skin rashes
  • Ulcer sores in your mouth, genitals, and anus
  • Swelling of your lymph glands
  • Fever and headaches
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Weight loss

These symptoms may disappear and come back later. But it is rare for people to proceed from this stage. Most signs trigger a visit to the doctor.

Latent Stage

This is the stage where the bacteria become passive in your body. You may never develop any signs for years, yet still harboring the disease. Similarly, you may continue transmitting the bacteria to unsuspecting partners.

Tertiary Stage

When the symptoms reappear at this stage, most of the body organs are suffering from the bacteria. This can be way after even a decade. Though there are several signs of this stage, the main categories are

  • Gummatous syphilis
  • Neuro syphilis
  • Cardiovascular syphilis

The combination of the three can manifest symptoms including

  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Inflammation of the spinal nerves
  • Deafness
  • Dementia
  • Heart diseases
  • Damage of the blood vessels
  • Personality changes

Read More: Syphilis symptoms

Read More: Syphilis Overview

Signs in Children

Sometimes the mother may pass the bacteria to her infant during delivery. When that happens, the baby may develop these signs

  • Groin rashes
  • Bone disfiguring
  • Swelling of glands
  • Brain dysfunction
  • Painless sores on the feet and hands

In children, syphilis is fatal. Since their immunity is still developing, the bacteria thrive in the body, causing damage quickly. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5809176/

http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/131-diseases/286-syphilis

Syphilis Symptoms

Syphilis information

Caused by the bacteria called Treponema pallidum, Syphilis represents one of the many common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Like the other common STIs, Syphilis as well is being transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse – oral, vaginal, and anal, and any direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

Read More: Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis

In 2016, there have been discovered over 88,000 cases of Syphilis in the United States alone. Further investigation has also shown that although the Syphilis rates among women have been declining, these very same rates have been increasing at the same time among men, especially men who are having unprotected sexual intercourse with other men.

Read More: Syphilis in Ghana

The common Syphilis symptoms

The Syphilis infection goes through four stages – primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary, with it being most infectious in the first and second stage. Let’s look into a bit more deeply in each of the four stages and the symptoms that are characteristic for them.

Primary stage

The primary stage begins within the first three to four weeks after the infection has been transmitted. The first symptom is a small, painless, yet highly infectious sore called chancre. The sore can occur anywhere on the body, such as on or inside the mouth, lips, genitalia, or the rectum. The present chancre heals itself within three to six weeks.

Secondary stage

The secondary stage begins within a few weeks after the first chancre has healed itself. In this stage, a characteristic rash that covers the whole body, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, develops. In most cases, the rash is painless and may be accompanied by wartlike sores in the mouth or the genitalia. In this stage, other symptoms such as hair loss, muscle aches, fever, weight loss, and a sore throat may develop as well. It is characteristic for these symptoms to come and go away within a few weeks, for as long as one year.

Latent stage

If you have not received proper treatment in the first two stages of the infection, the infection will go into a latent stage. This is a stage in which the symptoms are hidden; however, the bacteria remain in the body. That way, the bacteria can be present in the body for a few years, before it progresses to the last stage – tertiary syphilis.

Tertiary stage

It has been suggested that 15-30% of the patients enter the tertiary stage because they have failed to receive proper treatment before. This stage poses the biggest threats to a person’s health, causing health issues such as:

  • Blindness;
    • Deafness;
    • Mental illnesses;
    • Stroke and meningitis;
    • An infection to the brain and/or spinal cord;
    • Paralysis;
    • Heart disease;
    • Memory loss, etc.

Knowing how easily treatable Syphilis is, thanks to the existence of Penicillin, no patient should risk his life, leaving this infection untreated. Although the symptoms might not sound scary enough, the complications of leaving Syphilis untreated sure do. If you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms, do not hesitate to ask for help and save your life.

Read More: Syphilis Treatment

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1779891/

https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis.htm

https://www.avert.org/sex-stis/sexually-transmitted-infections/syphilis

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/syphilis

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/syphilis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351756