Treatment of Syphilis

It is easy to cure syphilis at the early stage. You must consult your doctor or gynecologist immediately if you believe that you may have syphilis or if you have had sexual intercourse with someone who may have syphilis. Sometimes it becomes quite difficult to spot the chancres. So it’s essential to go for a check up regularly, particularly if you have had unprotected sex and/or have had more than one sex partner.

The doctor performs the diagnosis of the disease depending on the stage by examining a sample from chancres under a special microscope known as a dark-field microscope. The doctor may also perform a blood test to look for signs of infection. The doctor knows the best way to arrive at you confidentially with any test results and let the doctor handle the matter.

Antibiotics are used at the early stages to cure syphilis and are quite effective. A single intramuscular injection of penicillin will cure a person who has had syphilis infection for less than a year. If anybody has been infected for a while then the treatment will continue for a longer period of time. Additional doses are needed for the treatment. Other antibiotics are also available for treating syphilis for people who are allergic to penicillin. There are no home therapeutics or over-the-counter drugs for curing syphilis. Though the treatment kills the syphilis bacterium and stops further damage but it cannot repair the damage that has already been done. Since affective treatment is handy, it is necessary for people to persons be screened for syphilis and other STDs on an on-going basis if they are engaged in unprotected sex or have multiple sex partner.

While undergoing a treatment a person should abstain from sexual intercourse with new partners till the syphilis sores are totally healed as this may increase the chances of spreading the syphilis infection to other persons. If a person is diagnosed with syphilis he or she must notify their respective partner(s) and the partners also must be tested and receive treatment if necessary.

Unfortunately, during the last stage of the syphilis infection the damage to the body cannot be treated. Nevertheless, even in the late stage, it is essential to get treatment. This prevents additional damage to the body. Anyone with whom the person have had unprotected sex should also undergo a syphilis test and diagnosis examination immediately.

It is better to prevent the disease rather than to suffer and cure it later. The best way to prevent syphilis any STD is abstinence from sex. And people who decide to have sex must use protection, practice safe sex and have as few sexual partners as possible.

Diagnosis of Syphilis

Syphilis is sometimes referred to as “the great imitator” sometimes since its early symptoms are similar to indistinguishable from many other diseases. Since syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease people who are sexually active should consult a doctor or other health care worker if they notice any rash or sore in their genital area. People those who have been treated for other STDs, such as genital warts, herpes or gonorrhea, should be test to confirm that they don’t also have the syphilis infection. Though syphilis can be detected by its symptoms, but since its symptoms are indistinguishable from other disease it becomes difficult to diagnose the disease from its symptoms. Diagnosis and confirmation can only be done by certain tests at the laboratory.

There are 3 ways for the diagnosis of the syphilis.

  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms
  • Examining blood samples
  • Identifying syphilis bacteria under a microscope

The doctor generally uses all these methods for diagnosing syphilis and decides upon the stage of bacterial infection. The first steps in diagnosis of syphilis are discussing the history of the symptoms and sexual activities of the patient by a health professional and having a physical examination. Some health care providers perform syphilis diagnosis by examining sample from a chancre or the infectious sore by means of a special microscope called a dark-field microscope. When observed through the microscope, if the infection is present in the chancre or sore then the syphilis bacteria will show up

A blood test is one of the methods to determine whether a person has syphilis infection or not. Shortly after a person is infected with syphilis bacteria, detection of the disease can be done by the antibodies that the body produces by a precise, safe, and low-cost blood test.

There are several blood tests options available and generally one of several blood tests is done for the confirmation of the infection. Though Blood tests provide confirmation of infection they may sometimes give false-negative results and may not show signs of an infection even if the infection is present. This may happen for up to 3 months after infection. False-positive results may also occur where the tests may show signs of an infection when it is not present. Hence, two blood tests are generally done for diagnosis. Analysis of blood tests for syphilis infection can be difficult. Repeated tests are sometimes done and are necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Even after the disease has been successfully treated, for months or years a low level of antibodies is likely to stay in the body.

What Are the Symptoms of Syphilis?

Syphilis still is among the most common and more fatal sexually-transmitted diseases (STD). Though sometimes it is quite difficult to recognize but it can be easily treated. The bacterium Treponema pallidum, a spirochete (long, spiral bacterium) is sexually-transmitted and the cause for the infection. For centuries it existed and remained a common ailment. Syphilis is perhaps blamed more for historically significant deaths than scientifically probable–it is, for example, much more interesting to let you know that Mozart died of syphilis than, perhaps, pneumonia. Anyway it still is amongst the most common deadly sexually-transmitted diseases. Syphilis can potentially lead to insanity and premature death if it is left untreated.

Most of the people infected with syphilis do not show any symptoms for years; however they remain at risk for late complications if they are left untreated. Even though the infection is spread from persons having sores who are in the primary or the secondary stage, many of these sores are unnoticed. Thus, infection may spread from persons who are not aware of their condition.

Syphilis occurs in several different stages and each stage has its own distinct signs and symptoms. Sometimes a person may detect the disease from its symptoms but it’s rather a difficult task as the symptoms of Syphilis is indistinguishable from many other diseases. The stages of syphilis are:

Primary Stage
The primary stage of syphilis is generally noticeable by the occurrence of a single sore or a chancre (pronounced: shang-ker), but there may be numerous sores. It takes 10 to 90 days, 21 days on average between infection with syphilis and before the first onset of the symptoms to appear. The chancre is usually stiff, round, tiny, and pain free. It appears at the point where the infection got into the body. The sores last 3 to 6 weeks, and generally heal with no treatment. Though, if sufficient treatment is not done, the infection advances to the secondary stage.

Secondary Stage
The secondary stage is distinguished by skin rash and mucous membrane lesions. In this stage the growth of a rash generally begins on one or more areas of the body. The rash generally doesn’t cause itching. In the secondary syphilis the rashes generally occurs as the chancre heals or a few weeks after the chancre has healed. During the second stage of syphilis a typical rash may emerge as rough, red, or reddish brown spots on both the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet. However sometimes they are so faint that they are not noticed. Additionally fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, patchy hair loss, weight loss, headaches, muscle aches, and weakness may also constitute the symptoms of secondary syphilis. The signs and symptoms of will resolve with or without treatment. But if left untreated, it may progress into the next stage.

Late and Latent Stages

As soon as the primary and secondary syphilis symptoms disappear, the late and the latent stage of syphilis begin. Syphilis continues to remain in the body if it is left untreated. Infection remains in the body even when there are no signs or symptoms. This latent stage can sometimes last for years. In about 15% of people if they have not been treated for syphilis, the last stage of syphilis develops. Syphilis can occur 10 – 20 years after the infection was first transmitted. During the late stage of syphilis the signs and symptoms that may occur are difficulty coordinating muscle movements, numbness, paralysis, dementia and gradual blindness. Later it may even lead to death if it is left untreated.

Syphilis the spirochete Treponema pallidum bacterium

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis (pronounced: siff-ill-iss) is one of the most one of the more prevalent sexually transmitted disease (STD). Syphilis is caused by a kind of bacteria known as a spirochete also called Treponema pallidum. It has often referred as “the great imitator” since most of the signs and symptoms of syphilis are identical to those of other diseases. The bacterium has a shape of a corkscrew or spiral and can be seen under a microscope. The bacterium is very small and can subsist almost everywhere in the body.

Syphilis progresses in stages and can damage many parts of the body. If syphilis is left untreated, it can progress to an advanced state where it creates serious health problems. Syphilis infection alternates with periods of being active and inactive (latent). The symptoms of the disease occur when the infection is active. But when the infection is inactive, no symptoms are visible albeit you still have syphilis.

Spirochetes, the bacterium that causes syphilis can be spread from person to person by means of direct contact with syphilis sore(s). Such direct contact usually happens during sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral sex). A person is infected with syphilis by touching the blood or sores of a person who is infected with syphilis, particularly sores on the person’s mouth, penis, vagina or anus (the opening to the rectum).

A pregnant woman suffering from syphilis can also infected the newborn baby during the childbirth. Syphilis is not spread from a towel, doorknob, or toilet seat.

The rate of Syphilis infection is not constant and tends to go up and down. In the U.S., new cases of syphilis infection are now at their lowest rate in 40 year. In more than 70% of U.S. counties no new occurrence of the disease were reported in the year 1996. Even the syphilis cases which occurred were confined to a few regions which included Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Richmond, and several other cities and counties, particularly in the South. Each year, most of the cases likely go unreported to the health officials

During the 1990s there was a fall in the rate of people with syphilis infection. Though more recently there has been an increase in number of cases of syphilis. Most of these cases were particularly in young adults and in men who have male sexual partners.

During the early stages it is easy to treat syphilis. But if it is left untreated, severe health problems may occur due to the disease. It may even cause death. So it’s necessary for everybody to understand about the disease as much as one can.