Syphilis: General Information
Syphilis is caused by an organism under the name “spirochete”. It is a sexually transmitted decease. Sometimes, no signs of the infection are present, which can result in either lack or total absence of adequate treatment. This can cause an array of serious complications.
Whenever any suspicions of infection exist (or any contact with a decease-stricken person has occurred), the mandatory action is to take standard tests that will enable to deliver a clear answer.
Syphilis: Contacting It
The urban myth that you can contract the decease via sharing clothes, using the same toilet seat or cutlery is wrong.
The only way for the infection to transmit is via a direct contact with the infected person, including coitus.
At the same time, a pregnant woman can infect the unborn child via placenta. This can have grave consequences for the child.
Syphilis: Incubation Periods and Symptoms
The decease development is generally divided into the two stages:
- Primary Infection
- Secondary Infection
At each stage, a set of particular symptoms can be observed. However, in some cases these symptoms may be extremely mild or non-existent altogether. In this case, the test is the only way to go (learn more in the Section “Syphilis: Tests” below).
At the primary stage, ulcers may appear within 2-3 weeks from the intercourse with an infected person. At the same time, the first signs might come about only after 3 months. There’s usually more than one ulcer on the body. The ulcers are typically located in the mouth, rectum, vagina, penis, but might also show on any other parts of the body.
A number of factors (the main one being the health conditions of the patient) impact the incubation period duration, which makes it hard to extrapolate a generic length of time for larger populace.
If not treated, the symptoms may give way to the deterioration.
At the second stage, a spread of ulcers on other body parts may occur, while these symptoms may also present:
- sore throat;
- loss of hair;
- inflammation of liver, eyes or brain;
- feeling of tiredness.
In addition, sores or open ulcers may show on the anus, vagina, penis or inside the mouth. Sometimes, sores may be found on other body parts.
During this stage (ongoing anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months from the time, when the first symptoms were identified), the person may experience hair loss, rash on hands and feet and symptoms that are similar to a flu infection.
Notably, some of the stages of the infection may complete with no symptoms occurring.
There’s a large number of procedures that seek to determine any presence of syphilis virus in the patient’s body. However, in some cases, the time is of essence. If taken too early, the test might not reveal the presence of the harmful organism because the incubation period has yet to be completed. Please refer to the section “Syphilis: Incubation Periods and Symptoms” above to find out more.
Currently, the doctors use the following two methods:
- Swab test. It is taken from a sore or ulcer (if present). This enables the specialist to visually identify the germs that have caused the sore to appear.
- Blood tests. These are used when no sores are present. The antibody testing helps to see whether a harmful organism is present in the blood.
In the event that you had sexually contacted an infected person, but the test came back with a negative result, there’s some sense in taking a new test in a couple of weeks, since the incubation period might still be ongoing.
The negative result may also point to the fact that you’ve had been infected with the virus some time ago with no imminent danger currently present.
Syphilis is fully treatable with antibiotics, capable of destroy the germs at fault.
There’s a number of widely used medications with benzathine leading the pack.
Most commonly, an infected person is treated with an antibiotic injection that helps eviscerate the germs and full block any complications.
As a rule, a single injection is fully sufficient to treat any symptoms at either of the stages. At a later stage in the decease development, a number of injections would be needed.
In addition, Neurosyphilis can be used to help alleviate any symptoms.
If a patient has allergies to particular medications (for instance, penicillin-based), there’s a number of potent alternatives to use. The best course of action and treatment solutions should be ultimately left to the doctors to choose, avoiding any wrong choices based on advertising and promotions.
Syphilis: Bottom Line
Should this decease be untreated, it can wreak havoc on the person’s body, inflicting damage on a number of internal organs, cutting longevity and resulting in a loss of balance, vision or sensation.
A pregnant woman, infected with syphilis, may contract the decease to the unborn child through placenta, which can have devastating consequences for the baby’s health.