Syphilis FAQs – Everything about this STDs

Syphilis FAQs - Everything About This Sexually Transmitted Diseases

All the information you need to know about STDs, STIs, and syphilis. Make sure to read this article if you want to understand all the risks.

Can syphilis be cured?

Yes, syphilis is curable. This bacterial infection is easy to treat during its early stages. Although, no known home remedies and over-the-counter (OCT) medications that can cure it, the key point is it is treatable. One single shot of an Intramuscular (IM) injection that contains a long-acting drug of 2.4 million units of benzathine benzylpenicillin or also known as benzathine penicillin G can cure an individual who has the early stages of syphilis.

So, if your syphilis is at its latent (hidden) early-stage, primary, or secondary, you can get the single shot of the intramuscular injection for the cure. For the late stages or those individuals who don’t have an idea when they got it, the doctor would advise for three shots of the long-lasting IM injection on a weekly basis.

 People who will undergo the syphilis treatment will expect after effects. The intramuscular injection medical procedure can kill the bacteria that caused the syphilis infection, and thus, prevent any further damage that it may cause. However, it will not repair the damage incurred before the treatment.

There are other drugs used to administer for the IM injection treatment, but for pregnant women, penicillin is the only drug to be used. For women who have an allergic reaction to penicillin, will need to go through the desensitization method to allow them to take the drug. Moreover, their newborn babies will still undergo the congenital syphilis test, and when found infected, they will get an antibiotic medication for the treatment.

What does a syphilis sore look like?

Usually, syphilis sore or chancre appears as a hard and round shape bump that is painless. Sometimes it is open and moisty or wet. Frequently, an individual with syphilis infection can get one sore or more. The sore or chancre can appear in the external reproductive areas of both men and women. It may also exist under the foreskin and other places that are hard to notice.

Sometimes a syphilis sore gets mistaken as a harmless bump or pimple, and because most often, it is not painful and can thrive in concealed areas of the body, people who have it may not notice, which may lead to prolonged agony and other complications.

What are the 4 stages of syphilis?

Syphilis comes in four stages that identify the different signs or symptoms that may occur and the required treatment needed to cure it. The four stages of syphilis are primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary or the late stage.

  • Primary Stage

At this stage, a single sore (chancre) or several sores. The sore, which is usually open and moisty or wet, is where the bacterial infection enters the body. Chancre (s) can sometimes be hard and round in shape. The sore is painless, and thus, unnoticeable. Due to that, people will go every day without knowing that they have syphilis.

Normally, syphilis sore can last about three to six weeks. It will heal even without receiving treatment. However, you should still get treatment even if the sore disappears.

  • Secondary Stage

Skin rashes may occur and accompanied by mucous membrane abrasions or lesions during the secondary stage. It is also possible that only the lesions will also show at this stage. The abrasions can happen in the mouth or in the external reproductive organ.

  • Latent Stage

The latent or hidden stage is when you don’t see any symptoms, and can live in your body for years without signs.

  • Tertiary Stage

It’s the most critical and extremely serious stage as it can cause damage to your internal organs that can lead to death.

Hence, getting the Intramuscular (IM) injection syphilis treatment is imperative. By doing so, the bacterial infection will stop progressing to the next stage, and thus, preventing any damage and complication.

Is syphilis a virus or bacteria?

Syphilis is a bacteria caused by Treponema pallidum (T. pallidum) spirochaete bacterium. Commonly associated with the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), syphilis bacterial infection can get passed on or transmitted through blood transfusion, mother to a child, and individuals living in depressed areas or with poor hygiene. Syphilis is endemic and contagious.

Symptoms may show or not and can live for years without signs. So, you can get infected by the T. pallidum bacterium without having any sexual contacts.

What are the signs of syphilis in a man?

Most men who get infected with syphilis do not show any symptoms. Even without symptoms, the bacterial infection will thrive in the body and can stay for years, which creates risks for other health complications. Nonetheless, the usual symptom for men during the primary stage of syphilis is a sore on the reproductive organ, which is painless, hard, round, open, and moisty or wet. The sore can stay for ten days to weeks or even months.

When you leave your syphilis untreated, it can get into your blood and move onto the next stage.  At the secondary stage, men will see reddish-brown rashes and can appear any part in the body.

The rashes will show up to ten weeks after the sore appears. Other symptoms may include body aches, fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and sores in the mouth.  If left untreated, it will develop to the tertiary stage. It’s the critical stage, as syphilis can cause damage to the internal organs and can lead to death too.

Does syphilis make you crazy?

Before any treatment for syphilis came around, there were reports of well-known people who suffered from end-stage syphilis, and among the many symptoms of it being insanity. The tertiary syphilis is the most critical and extremely serious stage of the bacterial infection.

When left untreated, syphilis can develop more complications, and thus, more health problems. It can damage the internal organs, such as the brain, heart, and nerves.

When it happens, people with syphilis at this stage will have higher risks of getting infected by the life-threatening disease, referred to as the neurosyphilis. It’s the nervous system infection that particularly affects the brain and the spinal cord. There are different types of neurosyphilis. It can be asymptomatic (without symptoms) and meningeal with symptoms, such as vomiting, stiff neck, nausea, or headache, which can result in a hearing or vision loss.

The more serious ones are meningovascular, which can lead to stroke, and general paresis, which gives long-lasting health problems. Individuals who have general paresis can develop a loss in the ability to use a language, emotional instabilities, weakened muscles, mood swings, personality changes, and paranoia. This type of neurosyphilis can also lead to dementia. Hence, insanity.

The last serious, but a rare one is the tabes dorsalis neurosyphilis, which can cause abdominal pain, coordination loss, altered walk, vision problems, pain in the legs, trouble in balancing, pain in the arms, and incontinence.  Nevertheless, neurosyphilis is non-existent these days as there are already effective treatment for syphilis, especially if treated early.

Will I always test positive for syphilis?

When you test positive with syphilis, the treponemal antibodies remain active even after treatment, and thus, possibilities of you always getting a positive from the tests is high. Treponemal or Treponema is a kind of pathogen that caused syphilis.

So, when you get tested for bacterial infection, the result will always be positive. From that test, however, it will not indicate or show if the infection is current or previous. So, a Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test will take place to find out.

On the contrary, when an RPR test detected nontreponemal antibodies and get adequate treatment for it, the scars or effects of syphilis in the body will usually disappear after three years.

Read more about syphilis

List of all the STDs and STIs

stds list, syphilis testing faqs

Source:

CDC

NIH GOV

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Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle, every day I ask myself hundreds of questions to doctors, specialists, and physicians. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn every day. Most of our medical sources come from Canada.ca and government research. You can contact me on our forum or by email at info@sind.ca.