Syphilis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

By: Juliet Cohen

Syphilis is a transmitted disease caused by a spirochaete bacterium, Treponema pallidum. Syphilis has a myriad of presentations and can mimic many other infections and immune-mediated processes in advanced stages. Syphilis is passed from person to person through direct contact with a syphilis sore. Sores occur mainly on the external genitals, anus, or in the rectum. Syphilis can also be passed from mother to infant during pregnancy causing a disease called congenital syphilis. Any active person can be infected with syphilis, although there is a greater incidence among young people between the ages of 15 and 30 years. It is more prevalent in urban than rural areas. Syphilis can be frightening because if it goes untreated, it can lead to serious health problems and increase a person's risk for HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS.

Syphilis can be acquired or congenital. Primary syphilis occurs within 3 weeks of contact with an infected individual. Syphilis has many alternate names, including syph, Cupid's Disease, the Pox, lues , and the French disease. The signs and symptoms of syphilis are myriad; before the advent of serological testing, diagnosis was more difficult and the disease was dubbed the "Great Imitator" because it was so often confused with other diseases. Syphilis cannot be spread through contact with toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, or eating utensils. The final stage of syphilis is called tertiary syphilis and is characterized by brain or central nervous system involvement, cardiovascular involvement with inflammation of the aorta, and gummatous syphilis. Left untreated, syphilis can lead to serious complications or death. But with early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be successfully treated.

Causes of Syphilis

The common causes and risk factor's of Syphilis include the following:

A bacterium called Treponema pallidum.

Transfusion of infected blood.

Direct contact with a syphilis sore on the body of an infected person.

An infected pregnant woman can also pass the disease to her unborn child.

Having with more than one partner.

Symptoms of Syphilis

Some sign and symptoms related to Syphilis are as follows:

The first symptom of syphilis is often a small, round, firm ulcer called a chancre ("shanker") at the place where the bacteria entered your body.

Fever.

Enlarged lymph nodes in your groin.

Positive serology.

Extragenital chancres occur most commonly above the neck, typically affecting the lips or oral cavity.

Rash - Bilaterally symmetric.

Soreness and aching.

Fatigue and a vague feeling of discomfort.

Treatment of Syphilis

Here is list of the methods for treating Syphilis:

Penicillin, an antibiotic, injected into the muscle is the best treatment for syphilis. If you are allergic to penicillin, your health care provider may give you another antibiotic to take by mouth.

In patients with allergy to penicillin, skin testing and desensitization are recommended.

Pregnant women with a history of allergic reaction to penicillin should undergo penicillin desensitization followed by appropriate penicillin therapy.

Avoid having while being treated, to reduce the chances of getting the infection again or transmitting it to someone else.

Bed rest, pain relievers (such as aspirin, acetaminophen , or ibuprofen ), and liquids can help.

Alternative treatment regimens should be used only in cases of documented penicillin allergy.

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