What is syphilis? Stages and symptoms of syphilis

Contribution: Rachna Arya

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that spreads through syphilis sores during direct contact during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. This disease is not only highly contagious but also insidious. Usually, an infected person does not experience any symptoms and passes it on to a partner. This sexually transmitted disease (STD) is caused by the pathogen Treponema pallidum.

It is important to remember that syphilis is not spread through casual contact.

  • Sharing food or drink
  • the kiss
  • hug
  • holding hands
  • Sharing towels
  • Cough or sneeze
  • Sitting on the toilet seat
  • Touching the doorknob

This potentially fatal disease can cause a variety of cardiovascular, neurological and psychiatric problems. If left untreated, it can progress to serious health problems. Without proper treatment, syphilis can contribute to life-threatening health problems as well as death.

In this blog, let’s understand this infection and identify the stages of this disease and the signs and symptoms associated with each stage of the illness.

Stages and symptoms of syphilis

The disease develops in four stages:

  1. primary
  2. Secondary
  3. dormant
  4. Tertiary

The disease has different symptoms depending on the stage of the disease. Understanding the signs and symptoms of syphilis can help you get preventative treatment. In the first two stages, the symptoms may be so mild that you don’t notice them. The latent or hidden stage of syphilis does not show any noticeable symptoms.

Primary stage

In the early stages of syphilis, a painless sore and multiple sores appear at the site of infection. These sores usually occur around:

  • gender
  • vagina
  • the anus
  • the right
  • On the lips or mouth.

The sores are highly contagious and they usually heal on their own after 3 to 6 weeks.

At this stage, the disease is easily treated and cured with penicillin injections.

secondary stage

At this stage, a rough red or reddish-brown rash develops on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Other flu-like symptoms may occur, including:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • gray hair loss
  • Headache and body aches
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lose weight.

These symptoms will eventually go away, even if you don’t get treatment. However, if the disease is not treated, the infection will worsen.

dormant stage

The third stage of syphilis can be considered as the latent stage. At this stage, the syphilis bacteria is still alive in your body, but there is an absence of visible signs or symptoms of infection. You are not contagious at this stage, but syphilis can still affect different parts of your body, such as your heart, brain, nerves, and bones. This stage can last for months or years before progressing to tertiary syphilis.

third level

This late stage occurs years or decades after the initial infection. Secondary symptoms disappear at this time. This is a life-threatening stage and although the disease is not contagious at this point, the infection has started to affect your organs.

Symptoms of tertiary syphilis may include:

  • Problems controlling muscle movements
  • numbness
  • vision problems
  • deafness
  • memory loss

It is important to understand the risk factors of the disease and the early signs of infection in order to stop its spread. Untreated syphilis can result in potentially serious health problems. So, if you have the above symptoms of syphilis infection or have had sexual contact with someone who may have syphilis, you are advised to see a doctor immediately for a syphilis diagnosis.

It is important to remember that home remedies or symptomatic treatment are ineffective in treating this ailment. It is important to follow the entire recommended course of treatment prescribed by the doctor.

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