What Is Syphilis Infection? Expert Explains Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

What Is Syphilis Infection? Expert Explains Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

What Is Syphilis Infection? Expert Explains Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Treponema pallidum is the bacterium responsible for syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that progresses through distinct phases and, if left untreated, can lead to significant health complications.

Dr. Arun Goyala, Consultant and General Physician at Ivory Hospital, Greater Noida, explains, “This bacterial infection initially manifests as a minor sore, causing little discomfort. However, over time, it can become increasingly uncomfortable and disrupt everyday activities. Syphilis can affect various organs, including the rectum, genital area, back, and mouth. While it may start as a mild ache, it can rapidly progress to a more serious condition.”

Symptoms and Signs of Syphilis in the Primary Stage

Canker sores are a common occurrence during the primary stage of syphilis. According to Mayo Clinic, canker sores manifest as small, shallow lesions appearing on the soft tissues inside the mouth or near the base of the gums. Unlike cold sores, which appear on the surface of the lips, canker sores are not contagious.

The infection initiates with these painless sores at the site of infection, which can be genital, anal, or oral. Although highly contagious, these sores may go unnoticed by the affected individual.

Different Stages Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis

Secondary Stage

When left untreated, syphilis advances to the secondary stage, characterized by skin rashes that may affect the palms and soles. Additionally, mucous membrane lesions can develop in the mouth and genital areas during this stage.

Latent Stage

During this stage, known as latent syphilis, no visible symptoms are typically present. Despite the absence of symptoms, the bacteria persist in the body and can advance to the tertiary stage if left untreated.

Tertiary Stage

Dr. Goyala explains that tertiary syphilis represents the ultimate and most severe stage of the infection. By this stage, the infection typically affects all parts of the body, impacting approximately 15-30 percent of individuals. Without treatment for this bacterial infection, there’s a significant risk of serious consequences.

Tertiary Stage

Tertiary syphilis can lead to various health complications, such as damage to internal organs, the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints.

How Syphilis Spreads

Syphilis is mainly spread through direct contact with syphilis sores during vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. Pregnant women infected with syphilis can pass it to their unborn child, resulting in congenital syphilis.

Furthermore, as reported, cases of syphilis are increasing, prompting doctors to recommend preventive measures and treatment for this age-old sexually transmitted disease.

The most prevalent way to diagnose syphilis is through a blood test, which detects antibodies produced in response to the infection. Additionally, examination of syphilis sores under a microscope may be conducted for diagnosis.

Ways to Minimize the Risk of IT Issues

Ensuring proper and consistent condom usage can lower the risk of syphilis transmission. Regular testing for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is crucial, particularly for individuals engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners.

While syphilis can pose serious health risks, it is treatable with timely and appropriate medical care. Incorporating routine STI screenings, practicing safe sexual behaviors, and maintaining open communication about sexual health are vital in preventing and managing syphilis. If there is suspicion of exposure to syphilis or experiencing symptoms, seeking prompt medical assistance is imperative for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.