Syphilis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterial infection. If not treated quickly and appropriately, this disease which is often also called the lion king can damage the brain to the point of being life threatening. Check out a full explanation of the signs of this disease to how to prevent it in the following review.
What is Syphilis?
Syphilis or often also called syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterial infection through sexual intercourse, either vaginal or oral. This disease can be transmitted through the skin or mucous membranes with wounds.
This disease is characterized by painless sores on the genitals, anus and mouth, so people often do not realize that they have this disease and can transmit it to their sexual partners. This condition can also be transmitted from mother to fetus in her womb.
Early or early syphilis can still be treated, sometimes with penicillin injections. However, without treatment, this lion king disease can damage the heart, brain or other organs to cause death.
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Signs and symptoms depend on several types, including primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary.
If you have the latent type, the disease remains active but usually shows no symptoms. While tertiary is the most damaging to health.
Here are some symptoms of syphilis by type:
Syphilis is an illness that occurs about three to four weeks after contracting the bacteria Treponema pallidum. Signs and symptoms are small round sores or so-called chancre which is not painful, but can be contagious. Sores appear on the genitals, rectum, and inside the mouth.
This type is marked skin rash and sore throat. The rash does not itch and usually appears on the palms and soles or anywhere on the body.
Other symptoms of secondary syphilis include:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Joint pain.
- Hair loss.
- Weight loss.
This type is also called hidden because it does not show the characteristics of syphilis even though a person has the bacteria Treponema pallidum inside his body. Bacteria can even persist for years before developing into tertiaries.
This last stage usually occurs if the sufferer does not get treatment and will eventually experience damage to the brain, heart, other organs, and become life-threatening. The tertiary type can last for years or decades after the initial infection.
When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?
Immediately consult a doctor if you or your child experience symptoms such as vaginal discharge (men and women), unusual rash or pain, especially appearing in the genital area.
Causes of Syphilis
Syphilis is caused by bacteria Treponema pallidum which enters the body through breaks in the skin or mucous membranes (mucosa), especially during sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Sometimes the disease can be transmitted through close direct contact with skin lesions or rashes (eg when kissing) or transmitted from an infected mother to the fetus in the womb (congenital).
this disease cannot be transmitted through the use of the same toilet, tub, swimming pool, clothing or eating utensils, or from doorknobs.
Syphilis that recovers will not relapse on its own because relapses occur when direct contact with an infected person.
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The following are several factors that can increase the risk of developing syphilis, including:
- Having sex without using a condom.
- Have sex with multiple partners.
- Have HIV.
- Have sex with other men.
Diagnosis of Syphilis
In order to ascertain the symptoms of the disease, the doctor will perform a physical examination and ask about sexual history before carrying out clinical tests to diagnose syphilis.
Here are some tests that may be needed to make a diagnosis:
- Blood test. This test requires taking a blood sample to detect current or past infection because antibodies to the bacteria will persist for years.
- Cerebrospinal fluid test. If neurosyphilis (infection of the brain or spinal cord) is suspected, the doctor will test fluid drawn from around the spinal cord to check the effect of the disease on the nervous system.
- Body fluid test. The doctor can evaluate the fluid from chancre as long as it has a primary or secondary type.
- Dark field microscopy. This test makes it easier for the bacteria that causes syphilis to be seen under a microscope in fluid taken from a skin wound or lymph node.
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Early stages of syphilis, both primary and secondary, can be treated with injections of penicillin, which is one of the most widely used and usually effective antibiotics.
Meanwhile, people who are allergic to penicillin may be treated with other antibiotics, such as doxycycline, azithromycin, and ceftriaxone.
If you have neurosyphilis, the sufferer will be given penicillin every day by injection. However, damage caused by advanced syphilis or having a tertiary type can be difficult to treat.
While the bacteria can be fought, syphilis treatment will most likely focus on relieving pain and discomfort.
During treatment, avoid sexual intercourse until the wound has healed or until your doctor says it is safe to resume sexual intercourse.
If sexually active, treatment also applies to partners. Do not resume sexual activity until you and your partner have finished treatment.
If you don’t get treatment and treatment for syphilis quickly and precisely, this disease can cause complications throughout the body, including:
- Small bump. The so-called lump gumma It can appear on the skin, bones or organs. These lumps can destroy the surrounding tissue.
- Nervous system problems. This infectious disease can cause several health problems, including headaches, brain damage, meningitis, paralysis, or loss of hearing and vision.
- Cardiovascular problems. This sexually transmitted disease can damage heart valves or cause enlargement of blood vessels (aneurysm) or inflammation of the aorta (aortitis).
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Until now there is no vaccine to prevent this disease. However, syphilis transmission can be prevented by the following steps:
- Not changing partners. Having monogamous sex or having only one sex partner and neither partner is infected.
- Using a condom. The use of these contraceptives can reduce the risk of transmission of syphilis, but only if the condom covers the syphilis sore.
- Avoid using drugs. Abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs can lead to unsafe sexual practices and shared needles.
- Anonymous. 2019. Syphilis. https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/syphilis#1. (Accessed July 3, 2020)
- Anonymous. 2019. Syphilis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/syphilis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351756. (Accessed July 3, 2020)
- Johnson, Shannon. 2019. https://www.healthline.com/health/std/syphilis#prevention. (Accessed July 3, 2020)
- Smith, Lori. 2019. What to know about syphilis. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/186656. (Accessed July 3, 2020)
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