What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Through sex without a condom, sharing needles and injection devices, and transmitting this bacterial infection from mother to child during pregnancy. Affected syphilis can lead to death or serious health problems, consider blindness, mental health disorders, and damage to the brain, heart, eyes, and nervous system.
Causes of syphilis
It can be transmitted through all forms of sexual contact, including oral and anal contact, as well as through kissing.
It causes a painless lesion on a part of the body that comes into contact with an infected person. That throat slowly loses a clear fluid, which contains this bacterial infection. If you touch someone else’s broken skin or mucous membrane (such as the inside of the vagina), a new sore is likely to develop the infection will go away. These early sores are painless and often found in hidden places, so people can pass it on without knowing they have this bacterial infection.
Congenital syphilis occurs when a pregnant mother with this bacterial infection infects her baby. It can cause serious and significant health problems for the baby, including the death of the fetus. The occurrence of congenital syphilis has also grown in recent years. All pregnant women should be screened for this bacterial infection routinely to be treated if they have an infection.
If left untreated, it goes through a series of stages that affect different parts of the body, although the stages overlap:
- Primary syphilis: In this early stage, this causes a painless sore called a chancre, usually the syphilis bacteria that enter the body in the genital area.
- Secondary syphilis: In this stage, this bacteria spread throughout the body. It usually causes fever, aches, and pains, as well as a rash over most of the body.
- Latent syphilis: This phase begins when the second phase ends. Even if there are no symptoms, the person remains infected.
- Tertiary syphilis: At this stage, this bacteria can cause serious damage to many internal organs, including the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms of syphilis
Syphilis symptoms vary depending on the stage of infection. In the first stage, a chancre (small, painless throat) develops on the genitals. In the second stage of syphilis, a bumpy, pink rash appears on the body, usually on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. You may further have flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, sore throat, and muscle aches.
In the first and second stages of this disease, it becomes very contagious. You can spread the infection if your partner is in contact with hives or armpits during sexual intercourse.
Diagnosis of syphilis
If your doctor suspects you have syphilis, he will look for typical symptoms of the disease, especially an opportunity in the genital area. Your doctor can diagnose this bacterial infection by taking a sample of fluid from a suspicious lesion and examining that fluid under a microscope for the presence of the syphilis bacteria.
Your doctor may also order blood tests to look for certain antibodies in people with this bacterial infection. However, in some cases, people without this bacterial infection will test positive for these antibodies. A positive test must be confirmed with a second blood test.
- Blood tests: These can detect a current or past infection because antibodies to the syphilis bacteria have been around for many years.
- Bodily fluid: A doctor can evaluate the fluid from a chancre in the primary or secondary stage.
- Cerebrospinal fluid: A doctor can collect this fluid through a lumbar puncture and examine it to monitor the effects of the disease on the nervous system.
Because the risk of HIV infection is more important in people with this bacterial infection, public health officials suggest that all people infected with this bacterial infection be tested for HIV infection.
Treatment for syphilis
Treatment of this disease is especially successful in the early stages. The treatment strategy depends on the symptoms and the length of time an individual has been exposed to the bacteria. However, in the primary, secondary, or tertiary stages, people with this bacterial infection usually receive an intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin G.
Those in the later stages need more penicillin treatment. Other antibiotics, such as doxycycline, azithromycin, or ceftriaxone, may be effective for people with a penicillin allergy.
To treat this bacterial infection, healthcare providers use antibiotics, usually penicillin. You must complete the entire course of antibiotics even if the chancre or rash is gone. It is important to contact the people with whom you have had sex within recent years and let them know that they need to be tested.
To help prevent syphilis:
- Always use condoms with a water-based lubricant during sex
- Always use dental implants for oral sex.
- Limit the number of people you can have sex with or have sex with an already infected partner
- Avoid having sex with people with syphilis or with this bacterial infection until treatment is complete.
- Get regular STI checkups
Antibiotics can treat this disease in the early stages. Early treatment of this bacterial infection does not cause chronic health problems.
Without treatment, this bacterial infection can cause serious health problems. It can damage the heart, bones, brain, eyes, muscles, and nerves and can be fatal. Antibiotics can cure the infection, but there is no way to repair organs damaged by this bacterial infection.
Departments to consult for this condition
- Department of dermatology