What is Syphilis?
It is a rare sexually transmitted disease caused by bacterium Treponema pallidum. This disease is treatable by a medical professional. It is spread through sexual activity and transmitted during pregnancy or at childbirth from infected mother to her Baby.
This disease is more common in men than women. In India about less than 1 million people suffer from syphilis.
This disease progresses in four stages. With symptoms, one can know the particular stage of illness. Sometimes symptoms do not show up in the same order. 1st stage or the primary stage can be treated with One Penicillin injection.
Here are 8 Symptoms which will help you identify Syphilis illness
and get treatment in early stages:
Chancre or Sores:
In the first stage, you may start noticing small painless sores at the site of infection. They may occur in vagina, anus, rectum and mouth. They don’t hurt, you may not even know that you have a sore. The first stage lasts for 3 to 6 weeks. They are firm, fluid-filled sacs They are larger than a pimple. They heal without treatment and the infection enters into the second stage.
You get a low-grade fever which won’t last long. Fever may occur at any stage of this illness. There may be other reasons for your fever. So don’t panic and look for other symptoms for confirmation of this disease or contact a physician.
In the Secondary stage which starts after 2 to 10 weeks after the appearance of first sore you Amy notice small, rough red bumps which are not itchy. When you see those rashes on your palms of hands or soles of your feet or anywhere else on your body. It means that the bacteria is travelling through blood and affecting parts of the body other than the first site of exposures.
Sores in Mouth, Vagina or Anus:
Large raised, painless, grey or white sore appear in areas like mouth, underarms or groin. This sight secondary stage symptom. These can be sometimes misdiagnosed with other illnesses. Therefore, when you notice these sore / chancre you better contact your physician.
Hair Loss and Weight Loss:
Usually, in secondary stag,e women find patchy bald spots on the scalp. There may be several other reasons for hair loss like hormonal changes, medications, medical conditions. Other symptoms are also considered along with hair loss to confirm this illness.
Other symptoms like weight loss, headache, muscle ache, sore throat, fatigue which disappear without treatment can be seen in the secondary stage.
When syphilis untreated and reaches the tertiary stage, an infected person experiences severe neurological problems. One of them includes Ocular Syphilis where an optic nerve in the brain is affected which leads to fuzzy vision or permanent blindness.
Syphilis can invade nervous system at any stage of infection and causes headache, altered behaviour, paralysis, dementia and sensory deficiency. This invasion of the nervous system is called Neurosyphilis.
Syphilis in Pregnant Women
All pregnant women must be diagnosed with syphilis at first prenatal visit. Untreated syphilis leads to infant death in 40% of cases. If the infected baby is born alive with no signs and symptoms of this disease. Baby should be treated immediately or baby will develop serious problems within few weeks.
If syphilis in babies is left untreated they become developmentally delayed, have a seizure or die. In pregnant women, only effective ( 98% successive rate ) way of treatment is penicillin therapy which cures syphilis and passing the disease to the baby.
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