SyphilisSyphilis is a rare infection caused by bacteria. Symptoms of syphilis can be mild and they may go unnoticed for several years.
Symptoms of primary syphilis usually appear in a period after ten days or three months after you became infected. These symptoms include small painless sores on the area when the infection started, such as genitals, lips or tongue. You may also notice swelling of the lymph nodes. Sores may go away on their own, but the infection is still present and it moves to the second stage if you do not receive treatment for syphilis.
Secondary syphilis includes symptoms such as skin rash which is the most common on palms or soles, swelling of the lymph nodes, headache, fatigue, sore throat, fever, pain in the joints, weight loss and loss of hair. The next stage of syphilis, latent phase, usually does not involve any symptoms and it may last for years. If you have not received treatment, syphilis will move to the tertiary stage. In this stage, syphilis is a very dangerous disease which can affect your brain, heart, bones, and nerves and cause serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, dementia, paralysis and blindness.
Causes of SyphilisThe cause of syphilis is Treponema pallidum, bacteria which can betransmitted through sexual intercourse, by sharing contaminated needleor by direct contact with the open sores. Syphilis is a contagiousdisease and a person can pass it on to the others after about threeweeks after they were infected. Pregnant women infected with syphiliscan pass it on to the baby. Treponema pallidum cannot be spread bysharing the same toilet seat, clothes or touching an object previously touched byan infected person, because the bacteria cannot survive outside thebody.
TreatmentSyphilis is successfullytreated with penicillin, especially in the early stages. In the laststage, damage to the organs cannot be reversed. Your doctor willdetermine the dose of penicillin according to the stage. Penicillin isadministered in a form of injection and some people may experience sideeffects which resemble flu symptoms. These side effects are usuallyjust temporary and they disappear after a day or so.
PreventionInorder to prevent syphilis or any other sexually transmitted disease,you should practice safe sex. Men should always put a condom beforesexual activity. You should be careful who you sleep with because aperson may not know if they are infected with syphilis.