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

Use of Home Tests for Syphilis

Syphilis information

Syphilis is just one of the many life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases. It threatens to cause some difficult symptoms that can cause great damage to our bodies and minds. And unfortunately, each year, we only hear about new cases of Syphilis with little to no success rate when it comes to treating it as most individuals ask for help little too late. Today, you get to enjoy the privacy of your own home as you get tested for Syphilis and wait for your results to be delivered in just a few days.

Product: Genital Herpes Test – Right Sign

Product: Genital Herpes Test – One Step

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. There are three stages of Syphilis infection – primary, secondary, and tertiary. As any other sexually transmitted disease, Syphilis, as well, is transmitted by direct contact with a syphilitic sore on the skin or in the mucous membranes during unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Syphilis can also be transmitted during pregnancy and giving birth.

The prevalence of Syphilis in the Cape Coast in Ghana alone is estimated to be around 8.5%, while the prevalence of Syphilis in Ghana, in general, has been estimated to be approximately 2.58% in the period between 2012 and 2016. Syphilis is highly treatable, especially when detected in its early stage, with using strong antibiotics. Left untreated, Syphilis can lead to a great disability, neurological disorders, and even death.

Read more: Syphilis in Ghana

What are the common Syphilis symptoms?

A syphilitic sore can occur on the mouth, lips, vagina, anus, and/or rectum. The first symptom is a painless sore that, as time passes, enters the second stage when other symptoms occur as well. Oral, anal, and/or genital wart-like sores start to occur, along with a fever, muscle aches, sore throat, weight loss, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, etc. After these symptoms appear, as Syphilis enters its third stage, the symptoms will disappear. It will seem as you are cured, when in fact, this is the hidden stage, which is the most dangerous one of them all. Mental illness, blindness, deafness, memory loss, stroke, meningitis, and heart disease are just some of the most dangerous symptoms of the third stage Syphilis.

Read More: Syphilis Symptoms

Why get tested for Syphilis?

The rates of Syphilis cases are only growing, despite all of the information that is available around us on how to efficiently protect ourselves against the dangerous sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to get tested for any sexually transmitted disease, including Syphilis, keeping all of the dangerous symptoms and health risks that these diseases bring in your life. The best way to prevent any sexually transmitted disease is to use contraceptives, especially when you are having sexual intercourse with a new partner. However, sometimes, the disease has its ways to reach into your life. That is why it is of vital importance to get tested whenever any of the following scenarios happen:

  • You have unprotected sex, especially with a new partner;
  • You have multiple sexual partners;
  • You are HIV positive;
  • You are pregnant;
  • You are a man who has sex with men;
  • You have unprotected sex with a partner who has Syphilis symptoms;
  • You have unprotected sex with a partner who has multiple other sexual partners;
  • You are a sex worker;
  • You are experiencing any Syphilis symptoms.

If you do decide to get tested and the test turns out to be positive, you need to consult your healthcare providers as soon as possible. Only a professional healthcare provider can advise you towards the proper treatment plan for your condition. Syphilis should not, by any means, be left untreated! And as we mentioned earlier, when detected in its early stages, the Syphilis treatment has a good success rate.

Read More: Why STD Testing is Important

Why use home tests to detect any symptoms of Syphilis?

Syphilis is usually diagnosed by performing a physical examination and a blood test. If there is a suspicion that it is a case of Syphilis in its tertiary stage, a lumbar puncture or a spinal tap is being performed. Often, people are feeling ashamed of going to the doctor’s office for an issue that involves their reproductive health and sex life, especially when it comes to getting tested for a sexually transmitted disease. In some cases, a doctor is not available, or it is located far away from the place where the individual is living. Although usually, the cost does not play any role since the testing for any sexually transmitted disease must be covered by medical insurance; doing a home test is usually more convenient. This is where the home tests come in handy.

Home tests for Syphilis come with a self-test kit that contains everything that you need to collect a blood sample that you will later send to a laboratory and get your results in just a few days. The self-test kit usually comes with:

  • A sample tube;
  • A lancet to make a cut on your finger;
  • An alcoholic swap to clean your finger before doing the test;
  • Plasters;
  • Instructions.

Another less commonly used option for a home test is asymptomatic lesion test. A swap is being provided as a part of the self-test kit, which you will be required to rub over the present lesion and later send it over to the laboratory. Most providers offer to determine whether it is a stage 1 or stage 2 Syphilis with this home test. The results usually take 4-5 days before they are delivered back to you.

Read More: Syphilis Treatment

Summary

Home tests are the perfect option that allows keeping track of your reproductive health without going to see your doctor. If you have had unprotected sex in the past, do order your home test of Syphilis to make sure that this infection is not a part of your life. The home test is done in just a few minutes, and you will know the results in a couple of days. Do not hesitate to order your first home test for Syphilis.

Read More: Syphilis: A Brief Overview

References

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

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

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276484782_Seroprevalence_of_Syphilis_Infection_in_Individuals_at_Cape_Coast_Metropolis_Ghana

http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/jtm/2018/6574731.pdf

https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/hiv-and-other-stds/syphilis-testing-questions-for-the-doctor

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