What is Syphilis?
When thinking about STDs, Syphilis often comes to mind. Syphilis is indeed one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and it results from the infection with the virus called Treponema pallidum. The disease can affect anyone who has an irresponsible sexual behavior.
Symptoms of Syphilis
Once the virus has entered the body, the disease starts to develop and to manifest itself. The symptoms vary depending on the stage the disease has reached. It is important to know that Syphilis, unlike other STDs, does not cause local symptoms in the genital area, but causes symptoms which may be mistaken for those of a skin disease.
The first stage, called primary Syphilis, usually causes a single ulceration on the patient, which can vary in size and location. Many patients also report swelling of lymph nodes during this stage.
If the disease continues to develop and reaches the stage known as secondary Syphilis, the ulcerations will multiply, spread around different areas of the body and, in some cases, collect pus. The patient may also notice that he has started to lose weight, that his hair has started to fall off, or that he suffers from migraines and fever.
If the disease is still not treated, it will enter its latent stage. This stage is actually characterized by the disappearance of the symptoms of the previous stages. Although the signs are no longer visible, the infection is still present in the body.
Formations resembling tumors may appear years after the initial infection, during the tertiary stage of Syphilis. In this stage, Syphilis can cause other infections in the patient, which will have their specific symptoms, which are still related, however, to Syphilis.
How is Syphilis Transmitted?
The most common way of Syphilis transmission is unprotected sex of any kind. The usage of condoms during sexual encounters minimizes the risk of infection. Although the chances of getting Syphilis through kissing are low, they are not negligible. Myths according to which Syphilis can be acquired from public bathrooms are contradicted by science.
Testing and Diagnosis of Syphilis
The disease must be diagnosed and treated before getting the chance to spread out. Primary Syphilis is not nearly as dangerous as the more advanced stages of the disease. For this reason, anyone who notices a Syphilis related symptom should consult a doctor immediately, in order to get tested.
Due to the fact that the signs of the disease are similar to those of a dermatological infection, the doctor may want to perform two different tests in order to make the diagnosis. Firstly, the doctor may want to visually analyze the plague and collect a biopsy in order to look for any indications of the infection. If he will suspect that it is indeed related to Syphilis and not to some skin disease, he will then perform blood tests in order to confirm the suspicion.
Cures and Treatments for Syphilis
Fortunately, there are many efficient cures for Syphilis. The complexity of the treatment will vary, however, according to the stage of the disease. For primary and secondary Syphilis, one antibiotic injection usually suffices. The most common antibiotic used in the treatment of Syphilis is penicillin.
The situation is more complicated in the case of more advanced infections. Even though the disease can still be cured, it will require a more complex treatment. Penicillin will still be an option for patients with advanced Syphilis, but they will need more doses and may need to follow the treatment for a period as long as two weeks or more.
Just like any other STD, Syphilis can be avoided and prevented with minimal care regarding our sexual lives.