Syphilis is a type of STI. It is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. According to reports, the US reported 129,813 cases of syphilis in 2019. In addition, the rate of transmission is increasing, especially among women. In men, the transmission rate is lower but surging in recent times.
A painless sore (chancre) is usually the first sign of syphilis. It can appear on sexual organs, rectum, or inside the mouth. Most people fail to notice the change.
Furthermore, one can experience it without showing any symptoms for years. Therefore, its diagnosis is challenging. When someone is left untreated for a long time, the infection can cause damage to the brain and the heart.
The disease can only spread through syphilitic chancres. It can’t be transmitted through other means such as sharing the toilet, cloth or utensils.
Aster Hospital is one of the premium hospitals in the UAE for the treatment of syphilis.
Causes and risk factors of Syphilis
Someone can get the infection through direct contact with a syphilis sore on someone else’s body. The majority of people get it through sexual contact but can also get it through cuts on the skin or mucous membranes.
The infection can’t be transmitted by
- Toilet seats
- Swimming pools
- Hot tubs
- Shared clothing
- Eating utensils
Here are the factors that increases the chances of getting Syphilis:
- Unprotected intercourse
- Have HIV
- Have multiple sex partners
- If you are a male and have sex with another men
The symptoms of the infection depend on its stage. There are four stages: “primary,” “secondary,” “latent,” and “tertiary. Sometimes, the stages can overlap, and symptoms won’t develop in the same order.
One can get STD and not have any symptoms for many years. However, the symptoms can be passed to another sexual partner. Consult a doctor immediately if you think that you’re exposed to syphilis.
Symptoms of primary syphilis
- Chancre can appear in the body part wherever the infection has spread
- Swollen lymph node in some cases
According to reports, the Chancre shows up around three weeks after infection and can remain for 2 to 6 weeks. The Primary stage lasts for 3 to 4 weeks after a person contracts the infection.
Symptoms of secondary syphilis
- Skin rashes
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Hair loss
- Weight loss
- Aching joints
This stage of syphilis is known as the hidden stage because there won’t be any noticeable symptoms at this stage like the first two stages. But, the infection can remain inside the body before progressing towards the final stage.
Symptoms of tertiary syphilis
According to reports, 14 to 40 per cent of the people with syphilis experiences the tertiary stage. This stage is can often be life threatening and can occur after many after initial infection. Here are the symptoms:
- Hearing issues
- Memory loss
- Heart disease
- Neurological issues
- Bone and soft tissue damage
- Neurosyphilis, which is an infection of the brain or spinal cord