A bacterial infection called syphilis is typically spread through sexual contact. The condition often begins as a painless sore on the mouth, genitalia, or rectum. By touching these lesions on the skin or mucous membranes, syphilis can be transmitted from one person to another.
The syphilis germs can stay dormant in the body for decades after the first infection before coming back to life. Early syphilis can occasionally be healed with a single penicillin treatment.
Let us explain right here that syphilis can cause serious harm to the heart, brain, or other organs without treatment and can even be fatal. Mothers can also transmit syphilis to their unborn offspring.
Syphilis manifests in stages, each of which has a unique set of symptoms. The symptoms don’t always manifest in the same order, and the stages sometimes overlap. It’s possible to have syphilis without ever experiencing any symptoms.
Syphilis comes in various forms, namely: primary, secondary, latent, tertiary, neuro and congenital syphilis.
A tiny sore known as a chancre is the first indication of syphilis when it comes to symptoms. At the site where the germs entered your body, a sore develops. Most syphilis patients only experience one chancre, but occasionally experience multiple ones.
A rash that starts on your trunk and ultimately covers your entire body, including the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet, may appear a few weeks after the initial chancre heals.
With regards to how syphilis could spread, let me quickly state here that treponema pallidum is the bacteria that causes syphilis. By coming into contact with an infected person’s sore while engaging in sexual activity, syphilis is most frequently disseminated. Minor skin or mucous membrane tears or abrasions allow the germs to enter the body. Both the primary and secondary stages of syphilis, as well as occasionally the early latent stage, are communicable.
Syphilis can also less frequently be spread by kissing or other close contact with an active lesion. During pregnancy or childbirth, moms might also transmit it to their unborn children.
Using the same toilet, bathtub, clothing, or dining utensils, as well as from doorknobs, hot tubs, pools, or swimming pools, will not spread syphilis.
There are a lot of risk factors and complications when it comes to syphilis, ranging from when one engage in unprotected sex to HIV infection. But there is one which seems to be very painful and that is pregnancy and complications during childbirth.
We have a lengthy conversation on what syphilis is, the cause, symptoms, risk factors and complications. Now, let’s consider the prevention methods.
Keep in mind that there is no syphilis vaccination as a preventative measure. We can only recommend actions one can take to help stop the spread of syphilis.
The first step is abstinence or monogamy. The only surefire way to prevent contracting syphilis is to refrain from having sex. The second-best choice is mutually monogamous sex, in which both partners only engage in sexual activity with one another and are free from infection.
Endeavor to use a latex condom. If the condom covers the syphilis sores, it can lower your risk of getting the disease.
Steer clear of substance abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse might impair judgment and cause you to engage in risky sexual behavior.
Another method of prevention is partner notification and proactive care. Your sex partners, including current partners and any prior partners you’ve had within the last three months to a year, must be told if testing reveal you have syphilis so they can get tested. They can then be treated if they are infected.
The final step is screening for pregnancy.
People who have syphilis may not even be aware of it. Health officials advise that all pregnant women undergo syphilis screening because the disease can often have fatal effects on unborn children.
The bottom-line is, syphilis has no cure but it could be prevented. So, once you or your partner feel any discomfort in your groin, ensure you see your doctor.