General info about syphilis
Such infection as syphilis is defined as a sexually transmitted one. The bacteria denominated Treponema pallidum normally becomes the cause of its occurrence. In 2013 there were approximately 56400 cases in the USA (the data was represented by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Moreover, Mayo clinic reports that the number of women having this infection gradually starts to go down, but it is the opposite way for men: the number of males with a disease grows all the time, especially speaking of homosexuals.
The first evidence of syphilis is linked to the occurrence of a small sore which doesn’t involve any pain syndrome. It has a tendency to appear on the reproductive organ, colon or in the mouth. The sore has a modification of ulcer. Moreover, it’s hard to recognize it as soon as it appears.
In general, syphilis isn’t easy to reveal. The infection may hide inside your body and go absolutely unnoticeable for a continuous period of time. But it’s understandable that the sooner you find out about having a disease, the more successful the treatment will be and the sooner you will return to the normal condition. Syphilis, that hasn’t been revealed for a long time has a tendency to bring damage to important life organs, for instance brain and heart.
The only way to transmit syphilis is through the contact with syphilitic ulcers. Sharing a lavatory with somebody, using the same dishware and sharing clothes are the risk factors of getting syphilis.
Syphilis: the disease developing process
There are four main stages in the process of developing syphilis. They are represented by primary, secondary, dormant and tertiary stages. The first two ones are the most threatening ones and it’s easy to infect people around you when undergoing them.
When syphilis is represented by the latent stage, the infection is active, but you may not notice any symptoms to occur and you aren’t able to infect anyone. The most ruinous stage to your body is experiencing tertiary syphilis.
Primary syphilis (the stage number one)
You’ll experience this stage in approximately three and a half weeks after having been infected by the bacteria which causes the disease. The first sign of the stage is the occurrence of the little ulcer. It’s very contagious but the patient doesn’t feel any pain syndrome. The sore has a tendency to appear on any body part, but the most common parts to be exposed to the sore are the rectum, reproductive organs and mouth mucous membrane.
In general the sore emerges in about three weeks after being infected. Anyhow, it isn’t always the same and it may take some time between just ten days and ninety days for the sore to pop up. It stays on the patient’s body for about three to six weeks or so.
Another person can get syphilis in case of the close contact with sore. The most commonly appeared case of transmitting the disease is the sexual intercourse, which includes oral sex too.
Secondary syphilis (stage number two)
When facing this stage of the infectious disease, you’ll notice the eruption over your skin and have a sore throat. The eruption doesn’t cause scratching, and is spread over the hands and soles, but still it may choose any part of the body to emerge on. Some people may even ignore the rash and miss its occurrence until it completely disappears.
Anyhow, there are some different symptoms of the second stage, which are represented by:
- Constant headaches;
- Swelling of the lymph nodes;
- Extreme level of tiredness;
- Immense weight loss and loss of hair;
- Frequent aches in the joints.
It’s useful to know that these symptoms will disappear irrespectively from getting the therapy. But if you don’t get that treatment needed you will still have the infection inside your body.
This stage is frequently confused with some other medical conditions.
Latent (hidden) syphilis (stage number three)
The first stage of the disease is called hidden or latent. There are no evident signs during this stage and the initial and secondary symptoms vanish by the beginning of the stage too. But unfortunately you stay infected during the stage. Nevertheless, the secondary signs may appear anew or you will stay in the stage for quite a long time before you will shift to the tertiary stage.
Tertiary syphilis (the concluding stage)
It is the last stage of developing the disease. The approximate number of patients represented by twenty percent of the ones not receiving any treatment move into this stage. This stage may take place only after some years (sometimes the number exceeds 10 years) after being infected. Tertiary syphilis can cost you life. The consequences except death may be the following ones:
- Becoming blind and deaf;
- Loss of memory and various mental disorders;
- Soft tissues and bones disintegration;
- Neurological issues, for instance meningitis and heart attacks;
- Problems with heart;
- Infection spreading to the brain and spine.
The ways, most frequently used to diagnose syphilis
If you guess that may experience syphilis, consult your doctor immediately. The doctor will have you checked up generally and will have your blood and urine tested. If there’s already a sore on your body the doctor will take it’s tissue in order to approve or disapprove the presence of bacteria.
If there’s a suspicion that you experience the tertiary stage of the disease the doctor will have to do a lumbar puncture in order to make sure what going on. During the arrangement the doctor has to collect the spinal fluid and test it for bacteria presence.
When the case is the pregnancy, the doctor will screen the patient because there may be bacteria present in the body. This is done to prevent the contagion of the embryo with inborn syphilis, because such disease can be very threatening to the newborn baby and may even lead to an early death.