What is Syphilis – Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes

What is syphilis? Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by bacteria called Treponema pallidum. Generally, this infection spreads through sexual contact with an infected person that enters the body. This sexual disease can take the form of vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

In some cases, syphilis can be acquired after sharing sex toys, via a blood transfusion, or through direct unprotected contact with an active lesion. This infection occurs worldwide and can cause death. So, syphilis treatment is needed. Furthermore, syphilis can cause neurological problems such as stroke, hearing loss, visual problems, and meningitis.

What is Syphilis - Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes

Syphilis Causes

The main cause of this contagious disease is bacteria called Treponema pallidum. It is usually transmitted through direct contact with the sore of an infected person during sexual activity. Moreover, there are some risk factors to have higher risk such as:

  • Unprotected close contact or unprotected sex
  • Baby from an infected mother
  • Sexual intercourse with multiple partners
  • A man who has sex with other men
  • A person who is infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Sharing needles whether for injecting drug users or tattoos and ear piercing

Syphilis cannot be transmitted from one person to another by:

  • Hugging
  • Sharing clothing or towels
  • Sitting on toilet seats
  • Touching same doorknobs
  • Using the same swimming pools or bathtubs
  • Sharing cups, plates or cutlery

Syphilis Symptoms

The symptoms in men and in women are similar. The sufferers can easily transmit this disease because many of them only experience mild symptoms. So, they are not aware that they have been infected. The main symptom is chancre which is usually found on the penis, vagina, and around the anus. This symptom can appear in the mouth, on the lips, fingers or buttocks too.

Syphilis symptoms develop according to the stages of syphilis experienced. After knowing that you are infected with this disease, you should do the right treatment immediately. The following are the stages of this disease symptom.

Primary Syphilis

The most common symptom of this stage is the appearance of a wound or ulcer with no pain. This wound appears 10-90 days after the bacteria enter the body. This wound develops in parts of the body where the bacteria first enter such as the penis, vagina, or around the anus. It can also appear on the lips or mouth, tonsils, and fingers.

The wound recovery takes about three to six weeks. In most of the sufferers, only one wound appears but there is also more than one wound. This primary syphilis can be characterized with swollen glands in the neck, armpits, or groin.

What is Syphilis - Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes

Secondary Syphilis

A few weeks after the wounds disappear, the secondary symptoms will appear. Rashes can appear in any part of the body, especially on the palms and feet. Another symptom is genital warts. Aside from these symptoms, other indicators that syphilis patients can develop include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • A sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Patchy hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue

These symptoms will last for several weeks and can appear and disappear repeatedly over the next few months. If you do not do the treatment at this stage properly, the infection will progress to the next stage.

Latent Syphilis

At this stage, bacteria remain, but syphilis does not cause any symptoms. During the first 12 months of this stage, an infection can still be transmitted. After two years, the infection is still in the body but cannot be transmitted to others. If not treated properly, this stage can change to tertiary syphilis (the most dangerous stage).

Tertiary Syphilis

The symptoms of tertiary stage begin several years after the first infection infects the body. At this stage, this disease can be very dangerous and even cause death. Tertiary syphilis can affect the eyes, brain, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. As a result, sufferers can experience blindness, stroke, or heart disease due to this sexually transmitted infection.

Congenital Syphilis

Pregnant women with syphilis can pass on the infection to their baby either during their pregnancy or while in delivery. Babies born with congenital syphilis usually do not have any symptoms, but there is a possibility of a rash on the palms and soles of the feet. Babies with CS can also have:

  • Deafness
  • Saddle Nose
  • Teeth deformities
  • Anemia
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Enlarged liver and spleen
  • Risk of failing to thrive
  • Painful inflammation of the bone coverings

Syphilis Treatment

For syphilis treatment, Penicillin is quite successful and can be used to treat primary and secondary stage. Penicillin is usually given by injection. Other types of antibiotics are also available that can also kill the bacteria that cause this sexual disease.

Conventional Treatment

This treatment by consuming penicillin or antibiotics have the potential to be highly problematic given the side effects linked to them over the years. In the case of pregnant women, the treatment also uses antibiotics. This drug does not affect the condition of the baby is conceived.

Antibiotics drugs should only be considered for the treatment if natural remedies fail to work on the patient. Make sure to take a probiotic supplement that contains species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria a few hours before or after taking the antibiotic to assist with maintenance of good gut bacteria health.

Natural Remedies

Instead of relying on conventional treatments, you can utilize natural remedies such as:

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  • Gokulakanta leaves. This decoction of these leaves can help to disinfect blood
  • Astragalus. The capsule of Astragalus can assist with protecting the immune system
  • Essential oils. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that can be useful in soothing symptoms by diluting it into the infected area
  • Indian pennywort. This herb has been suggested to be an effective remedy for syphilis sores by assisting with the prevention of syphilis ulcer development
  • Copaiba oil. It may help relieve inflammation and speed up the healing process
  • Rooibos tea. Drinking this tea may aid in preventing inflammation and pain usually linked to syphilis

Supplements

The patients can also benefit from taking supplements such as

  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Colloidal silver
  • Vitamin K

Conclusion

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by bacteria called Treponema pallidum through sexual contact and other risk factors. If this disease does not treat well, it may lead to a dangerous stage and even cause death.