If you wondered by now how can you catch syphilis, now you have the opportunity of finding out everything there`s to know about this STD.
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How Can You Catch Syphilis?
Syphilis is an infectious disease that is caused by Treponema Pallidum bacteria and which can be transmitted sexually. It can usually be transmitted through sexual contact (oral, vaginal or anal), but can also be transmitted through direct contact with an open wound or other types of lesions (which usually appear in the secondary stage of the disease.
The lesions usually occur around the genital organs, anus and rectum, but also on the lips or around them. Therefore, the infection is possible by kiss with the infected person has cuts around her lips or mouth. This disease can also be transmitted by injection with the same needle that an infected person has used.
In the case of pregnant women who are infected with syphilis, bacteria can pass through the placenta and infect the fetus at any moment during pregnancy or birth (congenital syphilis). This infection cannot be transmitted by chance with toilet seats, a door`s handle, a pool`s water, bathtubs or clothes.
An infection by Treponema Pallidum bacteria don`t offer protection to the fetus against a future infection, although in rare cases there may be a resistance to the disease, which protects the individual from a new infection.
What Are the Symptoms of Syphilis?
The first sign of syphilis is a painless ulcer in the place where the germ has entered the organism. The bacterium penetrates through the skin and mucous membranes and gets all the way to the bloodstream and lymph, and from here it passes through several stages in its evolution.
- Primary syphilis: It doesn`t always show any signs, and even when they exist, they generally don`t occur until 3 weeks after contamination. It`s a characteristic lesion of mucous membranes, known as sancru – a small, red, hard and painless lesion. This ulceration can be found in the penis, gland, vagina or cervix. Other locations may be: lips, tongue, tonsils, etc. This type of syphilis lasts between 28 and 42 days, after which is healed without treatment, leaving a thin scar. Healing the sancru doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is completely healed or no longer contagious.
- Secondary syphilis: At 4 to 10 weeks after the occurrence of the primary syphilis, multiple rashes may appear on the skin or the rest of the mucous membranes: little pink spots on the skin and somehow reddish-brown spots on the mucous membranes of the anus, tongue, lips, gland or pharynx. They are around 2 cm in diameter and they frequently can be confused with other types of lesions. These lesions can be seen on the soles or palms, but on the back or abdomen as well. However, there are also other types of lesions, like cervical adenopathies, hepatosplinomegaly or alopecia. The visible symptoms may disappear without any treatment within 14 to 21 days, but the infection itself remains in the organism and can be transmitted.
- Latent syphilis: It`s actually the stage reached by an infected person who didn`t follow any treatment. Usually, the period of this stage is of 1 year, but there were situations of 5 to 40 years. A pregnant woman who is in a latent state might transmit the infection to the fetus (congenital syphilis), may experience an abortion or may give birth to a dead child. It`s a stage without symptoms that is generally discovered on a routine serological examination (prenatal, before a wedding, etc) – More info!
- Tertiary syphilis: It`s by far the most fatal stage of the infection. It may cause stomach burns, it touches the aorta or the heart resulting in a heart failure that can often be deadly, it may cause mental disorders, nervous system damage or even death. It increases the risk of HIV transmission and leads to various complications and frequent neurological complications for people who are HIV-positive.
One of the complications of this particular stage is Neurosyphilis. Without treatment, between 8 and 10% of people infected may experience serious neurological disorders up to 10 – 20 years after the onset of the infection. A quarter of those who haven`t been treated are victims of meningo-encephalitis. Antibiotic treatment is strong enough to treat this infection and prevent its progression.
- Congenital syphilis: This stage targets future mothers who have a duty to test for syphilis when they found out they are pregnant. If the mother has a primary or secondary syphilis, it can affect the baby in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, leading to serious birth defects after birth or even death. The signs of congenital syphilis include: rhinorrhea (leakage from the nose), contagious eruption in the palms, anemia or retardation in development.
How to Treat Syphilis?
The recommended treatment for syphilis is based on the administration of antibiotics. Prompt treatment is recommended to prevent any complications and passing the infection to other people.
The most common antibiotic used in the fight with syphilis is penicillin. This is usually administered by injection. Penicillin is so strong that most of the times it manages to get rid of the infection in the primary stage with only one dose. Even so, for safety reasons, it`s very likely that the doctor recommends the administration of a new dose of antibiotic in one week from the first dose.
If we already talk about syphilis in the second stage, latent or in other forms, the treatment with penicillin will become more frequent and will spread on a longer period of time. The optimal treatment will be decided by the doctor who will put the diagnosis.
For people who have allergies to penicillin or cannot take the drug from various reasons, it`s usually recommended the administration of oral azithromycin (one time), oral doxycycline (for 14 days) or Ceftriaxone (for 10 days).
Herbal Remedies for Syphilis
Besides the treatment with antibiotics described above, you also have the option of using herbal remedies that will help you relieve the signs and strengthen your organism in the fight with infection. Here are below a few herbal products that are easy to obtained and very efficient against syphilis.
- Japanese Knotweed.
- Cat`s Claw.
- Morinda Citrifolia.
Note: Morinda citrifolia manages to stimulate T-killer lymphocytes, T-cytotoxic lymphocytes and macrophage lymphocytes in a very effective way, with the purpose of establishing a strong and healthy immune system that is able to fight with any type of infection. – Find out more!
How Does Syphilis Affect the Brain?
As already mentioned, syphilis is a STD caused by a bacteria. Even though the disease can be cured, if the infection is left untreated, it may cause severe damage to the brain, nervous system or heart. Sometimes, this disease may lead to death as well.
It`s important to know that there are some things that you can do when you or your partner confront with such an infection.
- Talk together about this subject – It`s concerning that people prefer to go over such subjects in silence than to confront them. If you find out that you suffer from syphilis, you don`t need to be ashamed to talk about this thing with your partner and take the decision together to visit the doctor for more investigations.
- Answer honestly to the doctor`s questions – it`s important for both you and your partner to answer honestly to all the questions the doctor will ask you, no matter how uncomfortable or personal they may be. This way, you will be able to help identify other persons infected without even knowing.
- Stop any sexual contact during treatment – For the treatment to be successful, it`s important to abstain from any sexual contact while you follow the treatment, no matter if you or your partner need to follow it. Ask your doctor which is the exact period during which you need to avoid sexual intercourse and follow his guidelines.