Syphilis is a disease (infection) caused by the bacteria (Treponema pallidum) and it is transmitted through direct contact with a syphilitic sore on the skin, and in mucous membrane. Sometimes, a sore occurs on the vagina, anus, rectum, lips, and mouth. It is most likely to spread during oral, anal, or vaginal sexual activity. Rarely, it can be passed on through kissing.
The first sign one will observe is a painless sore on the genitals, rectum, mouth, or skin surface. Some people do not notice the sore because it doesn’t hurt. These sores resolve on their own, but the bacteria remain in the body if not treated. The bacteria can remain dormant in the body, sometimes for decades, before returning to damage organs, including the brain.
• Engage in unprotected sex
• Have sex with multiple partners
• Are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
Causes of Syphilis
• The cause of syphilis is a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. The most common route of transmission is through contact with an infected person’s sore during sexual activity. The bacteria enter body through minor cuts or abrasions in skin or mucous membranes. It is contagious during its primary and secondary stages, and sometimes in the early latent period.
• Less commonly, it may spread through direct unprotected close contact with an active lesion (such as during kissing) or through an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth (congenital syphilis).
• Syphilis can’t be spread by using the same toilet, bathtub, clothing or eating utensils, or from doorknobs, swimming pools or hot tubs.
• Once cured, it doesn’t recur on its own. However, you can become re infected if you have contact with someone’s syphilis sore.
The Stages and Symptoms of Syphilis
The first sign of syphilis is a small sore, called a chancre. The sore appears at the spot where the bacteria entered body. While most people infected with Treponema pallidum develop only one chancre, some develop several of them. The chancre usually develops about three weeks after exposure. Many people who have syphilis don’t notice the chancre because it’s usually painless, and it may be hidden within the vagina or rectum. The chancre will heal on its own within three to six weeks.
Within a few weeks of the original chancre healing, you may experience a rash that begins on your trunk but eventually covers your entire body even the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. This rash is usually not itchy and may be accompanied by wart-like sores in the mouth or genital area. Some people also experience hair loss, muscle aches, a fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. These signs and symptoms may
disappear within a few weeks or repeatedly come and go for as long as a year.
If one is not treated, the disease moves from the secondary to the latent (hidden) stage, when one has no symptoms. The latent stage can last for years. Signs and symptoms may never return, or the disease may progress to the tertiary (third) stage.
Tertiary (late) syphilis
About 15 to 30 percent of people infected with Treponema pallidum who don’t get treatment will develop complications known as tertiary (late) syphilis. In the late stages, the disease may damage your brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints. These problems may occur many years after the original, untreated infection.
Babies born to women who have syphilis can become infected through the placenta or during birth. Most new-borns with congenital syphilis have no symptoms, although some experience a rash on the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet. Later symptoms may include deafness, teeth deformities and saddle nose where the bridge of the nose collapses.
Complications of Syphilis
Without treatment, it can lead to damage throughout your body. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy. Treatment can help prevent future damage but can’t repair or reverse damage that’s already occurred.
Small bumps or tumors
Called gummas, these bumps can develop on your skin, bones, liver or any other organ in the late stage of syphilis.
Gummas usually disappear after treatment with antibiotics.
It can cause a number of problems with your nervous system, including:
• Hearing loss
• Visual problems
• Loss of pain and temperature sensations
• Sexual dysfunction in men (impotence)
• Bladder incontinence
• Sudden, lightning-like pains
These may include bulging (aneurysm) and inflammation of the aorta your body’s major artery and of other blood vessels. It may also damage heart valves.
Adults with sexually transmitted syphilis or other genital ulcers have an estimated two- to five fold increased risk of contracting HIV. A syphilis sore can bleed easily, providing an easy way for HIV to enter your bloodstream during sexual activity.
Garlic: including garlics in diets is helpful
Khal Tuffah: having it diluted with warm water in cleansing
Hulba: taking it boiled with water
Contact your Dr (herbal) if no changes after a month
Pregnancy and childbirth complications
If you’re pregnant, you may pass syphilis to your unborn baby. Congenital syphilis greatly increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or new-born’s death within a few days after birth.
Prevention of Syphilis
• Abstinence from sex
• Long-term mutual monogamy with an uninfected partner
• Condom use, although these protect only against genital sores and not those on the body
• Use of a dental dam, or plastic square, during oral sex
• Not sharing sex toys
• Avoiding alcohol and drugs that could potentially lead to unsafe sexual practices