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Overview

Syphilis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Syphilis is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. This first sign of this deadly sexually transmitted infection is just a small, painless sore, which people fail to notice right away. This sore, which is medically known as chancre can appear in your rectum, in the sexual organ or even inside the mouth. Diagnosis of syphilis can be really challenging. You can get infected with this disease, without showing any signs or symptoms for several years. Nevertheless, the earlier you can spot this disease, the better it is for the patient. If kept untreated for a long time, this illness can cause major damage to the patient’s brain, heart and other major organs within the course of several years. Syphilis can only spread through direct sexual contact with the syphilitic chancres. The syphilitic bacteria cannot be transmitted by wearing another person’s cloths, sharing the toilet, or by eating in another person’s utensil.

This disease, syphilis, can be divided into four stages:

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Latent and
  • Tertiary
  • When this disease is in its latent mode, the disease remains active, but shows no symptoms and is not contagious. However, tertiary syphilis is the most destructive part of the disease. Primary syphilis occurs within three to four weeks once you are infected with this disease. It begins with a small, round sore, which is known as chancre. The chancre is painless, but it’s highly infectious. This sore appears where the bacteria entered your body, which can be your genitals, inside of your mouth or your rectum. This sore stays anywhere between 2-6 weeks.

    During the second stage you can experience sore throat, skin rashes, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, aching joints, and fever and weight loss. Syphilitic rashes which don’t itch are found in palms and soles, but then again, they can appear anywhere in your body. Most people don’t notice these rashes as these symptoms go away whether or not you have received any treatment. But you still remain infected. In the latent phase, the disease remains hidden. You can remain in this stage for several years, before you progress to tertiary syphilis.

    In the last and tertiary phase (generally only 15 to 30 percent patients who have not done any treatment enters this stage), which can occur after several decades after the primary infection, the manifestations of this illness can be life-threatening. Tertiary syphilitic patients often get blind, deaf, suffer from neurological disorders and even bear the pain of destruction of bones and soft tissues. Primary or secondary syphilis is easily treatable and the drug of choice for curing this disease is penicillin.

  • Treatable by medical professional Require medical diagnosis Lab test required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Spread by sexual or direct blood contact
    Symptoms
    Painless chancre or sore in the affected area of the body. Fatigue, fever or malaise Rashes on the body, which do not itch, especially on the palms on the sole of the feet. Swollen lymph nodes that are painful along with weight loss.

    Popular Health Tips

    4 Stages Associated To Syphilis

    Dr. Duraisamy 89% (308 ratings)
    MD - Physician
    Sexologist, Coimbatore
    4 Stages Associated To Syphilis
    Syphilis is one of the most common STD and can affect both men and women. This bacterial infection can be easily treated, but if left unattended it can cause serious problems. Syphilis can be caught by mere skin to skin contact with an infected person s genitals or mouth. Hence even if you do not have intercourse with an infected person, you can still get infected from them. If a woman who is pregnant gets infected with this disease, she could pass it on to her unborn child as well. A person suffering from syphilis may not always exhibit symptoms of the disease. This disease goes through active as well as dormant phases with symptoms being present only in the former. Even its dormant phase, this disease can be transmitted from one person to another. There are four stages of syphilis and each of them have their own symptoms. Primary stage: In its first stage, syphilis is marked by the presence of open sores called chancres. This can occur in the mouth, genitals are or around the anus. It can also be seen in other parts of the body where bacteria may have entered the body. These chancres are painless and may be accompanied by a swelling of the lymph nodes around it. This is the most contagious stage of the disease. Without treatment, these sores will resolve themselves in 3-6 weeks but the syphilis bacteria itself will remain in the body. Secondary stage: Anywhere between 2 weeks to 12 weeks after coming in contact with the bacteria, this infection may move into its second phase or secondary stage. At this point, you will notice a rash on your skin. This rash can be seen as a collection of small, flat or raised skin sores along with small, open sores on mucous membranes. These sores may contain pus. Dark-skinned people may notice that these sores are lighter than the surrounding skin. Along with this, the patient may also have fever, a sore throat, headaches, weakness, irritability and suffer from weight loss. Latent stage: Once the rash clears, this disease moves into its dormant or latent phase. This is also known as the hidden stage and can last anywhere from 1 to 20 years. It is very difficult to diagnose syphilis in this stage as there are no visible symptoms. Late (tertiary) stage: If the disease is not diagnosed and treated by the time it reaches this stage, it can cause a number of serious health problems. This includes blindness, cardiovascular problems, mental disorders and even death.
    4 people found this helpful

    Syphilis - How to Diagnose And Treat It?

    Mr. Nitin Sharma 83% (66 ratings)
    BASM, NDYSE, Mater of Yoga
    Sexologist, Delhi
    Syphilis - How to Diagnose And Treat It?
    Syphilis is a STD caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It has several stages, like primary, secondary, latent and tertiary and is common in homosexual men. It should be remembered that Syphilis is curable. It can be treated, if diagnosed in early stage. It can be cured, if medical help is sought for. Sharing toilets, clothes, or utensils doesn t cause this disease. It will vanish forever, if treated at once. However, it can be reinfected if exposed to the bacteria through new syphilis sore. It can also spread, if transmitted by direct touch or contact with Syphilitic sore via anus, skin surface, vagina, mouth and lips. It is very rare though that syphilis can be spread during a kiss. Syphilis can live within the body for months, even years or decades. Initially, it remains as a painless sore on the genitals like anus, vagina, mouth or skin surface. If present for many years, there is an increased risk of contracting HIV. Causes The major causes of syphilis are unsafe sex with homosexual partners and the practice of having unprotected sex like anal, vaginal and oral sex. Individuals who have multiple sexual partners and are specially sexually linked to HIV-infected persons have the highest risk of contracting Syphillis. It can not only be spread through multiple sexual unsafe intercourses, but also has its high risk in spreading from mother to baby during pregnancy; commonly unknown as congenital syphilis. In such cases, the baby has low birth weight and can develop cataract, deafness or seizures. In some cases, even new born babies die from the disease. Diagnosis The doctor will first conduct a physical examination of the patient. Thereafter, blood and urine are collected for bacterial test. If a sore is found on the body, the doctor may collect a sample from the sore to examine the presence of syphilis bacteria. If there are nervous system disorders in the patient, a spinal tap or lumbar puncture is done to collect the spinal fluid. The fluid is then tested for syphilis bacteria. Treatments for syphilis Initially, syphilis is treated with penicillin. It has to be kept in mind that long-term exposure to the disease can have life-threatening consequences. Patients suffering from syphilis are either given a single dose or multiple doses of penicillin. The quantum of the dose depends on the nature of symptoms and the infection. Individuals must use condoms to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease while having sexual intercourse. In the case of penicillin allergy, the patient is recommended to have alternative medicines. Infants and newborns born with syphilis undergo antibiotic treatment.
    6607 people found this helpful

    7 Common STDs and their Symptoms!

    Dr. Shamik Das 95% (166 ratings)
    MD - Dermatology, MBBS
    Sexologist, Kolkata
    7 Common STDs and their Symptoms!
    STD or Sexually Transmitted Diseases are incurred by sexual intimacy or intercourse. Some of these diseases are even life threatening at times while others may be milder but annoying . They affect your sexual life. These should not be ignored and require treatment and medication. Some of the common STDs are: HIV Hepatitis B Genital Herpes Chlamydia Syphilis Gonorrhea Chancres The most dangerous are HIV and Syphlis and Hepatitis B. Everyone who had unprotected sex with unknown partner should get themselves checked after 2 weeks of exposure. Early treatment is crucial. Others like Herpes, chancres, chlamydia and gonorrhea are not so dangerous in people with normal immunity but in elderly, diabetics and immunological weak persons may be affected more seriously. It may cause infertility in females STDs have visible symptoms such as: Painful urination: A burning sensation or pain while urinating is a symptom for a number of STDs. There may also be a change in the colour of urine. Some STDs associated with painful urination as Chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis. However, this may also be triggered by kidney stones or a urinary tract infection. Abnormal discharge: Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis can be a symptom of a number of infections not all of which are STDs. Strangely coloured and odorous vaginal discharge can be a symptom of yeast infections or a sexually transmitted disease like trichomoniasis or gonorrhea. Bleeding in between periods can also be a symptom of a STD. Abnormal discharge from the penis can be a sign of Chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis. Skin rash: A rash in the genital area is most often a sign of STDs. This can be in the form of bumps, sores or warts. It may or may not be accompanied by itchiness. A rash caused by a STD usually results in redness and inflammation. Herpes sores may subside within a week or so but just because the rash is gone does not mean the infection has been treated. Hence even if the rash disappears before your doctor's visit, ensure you mention it. Painful intercourse: Pain during intercourse is one of the most overlooked symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease. While a little pain may be normal, any sudden increase in pain or new type of pain should not be ignored. This should be kept in mind especially when having intercourse with a new partner or if there is a change in sexual habits. When it comes to men's sexual health, pain at the time of ejaculation can be a symptom of a STD.
    5149 people found this helpful

    Genital Tract Infection - Common Causes Behind It!

    Dr. Prabha Singla 90% (124 ratings)
    MBBS, DGO
    Gynaecologist, Gurgaon
    Genital Tract Infection - Common Causes Behind It!
    While genital infections are an uneasy topic to discuss and seek treatment for, ignoring them leads to severe complications like infertility and even death. Most of these can be treated with a regular course of antibiotics and some topical treatment when identified early. Genital infections can be broadly classified into sexually transmitted and non-sexually transmitted. Read on to know some more common infections in both the categories. Sexually transmitted diseases: Chlamydia: Caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, it is the most common STD and affects about 10% of 20 to 30 year olds. It is often asymptomatic, but in few cases, there could be increased vaginal discharge. Left undetected, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and subsequently infertility. Gonorrhea: The bacteria Neisseria gonorrhea causes this STD, which is very common. There could be some irritation or discharge, but is mostly asymptomatic. Like Chlamydia, if not treated, it can lead to PID and infertility. HIV: The most dangerous of all, it causes AIDS, with immunosuppression as a major effect and affecting overall health. The women affected by HIV are more prone to candida and other genital infections. Genital warts: This viral infection is caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) and manifests as multiple warts on the vulva, vagina, and cervix and can cause cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (precancerous). Genital herpes: This virus again causes multiple small vesicles and ulcers around the vagina, painful urination, and swelling of the lymph nodes. Caused by type 1 herpes virus more commonly than type 2, it has a high chance of recurrence. Trichomonas: This STD manifests with very few symptoms and can go undetected for a long time. It can lead to PID and infertility. Syphilis: Caused by Treponema pallidum, there are 3 stages. The primary stage presents with an ulcer. The secondary presents with a rash, multiple genital warts, and oral warts/ulcers. It then goes into a latent phase and may subside without progression. In some cases, it reaches the tertiary stage and can affect various body organs including the liver, heart, or brain. Non-sexually transmitted diseases: There two major genital infections not transmitted by sex are bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis. Bacterial vaginosis (BV): Constant change in the bacteria mix present in the genital area produces an imbalance and leads to altered pH and therefore BV. Pregnancy, intrauterine device, and frequent douching are proven risk factors for developing BV. Candidiasis: The genital tract usually has yeasts, and Candida vaginalis is present in the vagina. An overgrowth of this leads to infection. This can be caused by use of antibiotics (which destroy the good bacteria), diabetes, pregnancy, and birth control pills. Early diagnosis and intervention of these infections can prevent severe symptoms in most cases.
    2634 people found this helpful

    Know Everything About Female Condoms

    Dr. Sayeed Khan 92% (170 ratings)
    MDEH, BUMS
    Sexologist, Delhi
    Know Everything About Female Condoms
    It is important that you protect yourself from various types of diseases and infections as much as possible. Female condoms are used to have protected intercourse so as to avoid contact with ejaculatory fluids. These condoms help a person to steer clear of blood, semen and vaginal fluids as well. Female condoms fall under the category of barrier contraceptives. They are considered to be less effective in comparison to male condoms, but are nonetheless good for preventing any kind of infection. Ensuring fine health through safe sex is your due responsibility. Hence, a little knowledge about these contraceptives is helpful if you wish to shun chances of unwanted pregnancy or Sexually Transmitted Diseases. What is it like? A female condom looks like an ill fitting hollow cylinder. It is a thin sheath with a closed end, that goes inside the vagina and an open end that remains outside the vagina covering other external, genital parts. The covered end has to be inserted into the vagina or into the anus. It is a misconception, that female condoms can only be used by females. It is predominantly used by females, but can also be used by any receptive partner during sexual intercourse. The ends have circular rings to keep the condom in place. What are they made of? Femidoms are usually made up of polyurethane. This material is expensive, making the product costly. The need for a cost effective product was immediately felt to encourage the use of condoms among females. Thus, the next generation of female condoms were made with synthetic Nitrile. Nitrile proved to be a competent substitute as it did away with the annoying noises polyurethane made during sex. It also reduced condom pricing considerably. Researchers have also come up with natural latex female condoms that retain the feel of a male condom. Benefits of using a female condom It is a great barrier in thwarting the flow of semen into the womb. Thus, they reduce the risk of accidental pregnancy. It also protects you against sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea, Syphilis, and HIV. Sex partners should be careful to refrain from any sexual contact before the insertion of a female condom. Only after the condom has been placed properly, the penis should enter the vagina or the anus. Femidoms are available in varied sizes, but the average sized condom fits most females. Large sized condoms can be used by new mothers. It is advised to buy condoms that bear the CE mark on them. The CE mark represents European Safety Standards and thus, leaves you least vulnerable to accidents or diseases.
    3388 people found this helpful

    Popular Questions & Answers

    Hello Doctor, I went through a visa test they told me that VDRL is positive and TPHA is negative. VDRL in 1: 2 ratio. Consulted the doctor they said no medicine for this. please help me out. I am very scared.

    Dr. Rishabh Kumar Rana 93% (531 ratings)
    MBBS, MD - Community Medicine, CCIP
    Sexologist, Ranchi
    Hi lybrate-user, VDRL test is a non confirmatory test it’s a screening test. To check of The Treponema is in the blood or not they do the confirmatory test which is TPHA test. So as your doctors have told you don’t worry about anything. For more details do consult me online.

    Tpha test can be negative after treatment? first stage ofsyphilis If yes how many month need to become negative, and what about vdrl the titer 1: 23 ,(5 month ago) Note: I took about 40 picilin injections 12000000.

    Dr. N S S Gauri 94% (9368 ratings)
    Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery (B.U.M.S)
    Ayurveda, Kanpur
    sootshekhar ras 125 mg twice a day heerak bhasm mukta shukti bhasm vyadhihar rasayan gandhak rasayan avleh take all these for 60 days only to get completely cured

    Tpha test can be negative after treatment? If yes how many month need to be negative after treatment?

    Dr. Girish Dani 90% (2114 ratings)
    MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
    Gynaecologist, Mumbai
    No that will not become negative. If you had also done VDRL earlier that will go down in strength and may become negative.
    1 person found this helpful

    Tpha test can be negative after treatment I took the penicillin injection 4 month ago ?if I do tpha test now it will show negative?

    Dr. Jayvirsinh Chauhan 92% (5416 ratings)
    MD - Homeopathy, BHMS
    Homeopath, Vadodara
    It can show negative but I don't think it means you are free from syphilis. It is more than just positive test. According to homoeopathic theory. It affects all the cells and system of the body and also gets pass on to the next generation. Just giving antibiotics will not cure it. You have to take homoeopathic antimiasmatic medicine. You can consult me through Lybrate for the treatment and healthy future.

    1-Vdrl test can be negative after treatment? 2-how many month if the titre 1: 32?

    Dr. Col V C Goyal 94% (8553 ratings)
    CCEBDM, PG Diploma In Clinical cardiology, MBBS
    General Physician, Ghaziabad
    it will decline gradually and become -ve ,after successful treatment , there is no time limit. u can keep checking it every 6 months , check the rate of declining if there is 4 fold decrees in titre it is good indicator of successful treatment
    Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice