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Saturday, March 22, 2008


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease or infection which is caused by bacteria. If this disease is not treated, it will pass through the blood cells and can cause damage to the brain, nerves and body tissues. This disease can also be caused by the close physical contact. If in one person infection is active, one can see the symptoms of syphilis very easily.

Cause of Syphilis

Syphilis is an infectious disease which is caused by the bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. This infection enters the body through the mucous membranes. This disease is easily caused when a person comes in contact with an infected person through sexual activity. This disease is mostly found both in men and women who are 15-39 years. Men get syphilis more than women.

Symptoms of Syphilis

Symptoms of syphilis cannot be noticed and it can be the cause for other diseases. If the person does not seek medical care at the right time, his/her diagnosis will be difficult. There are four stages and their symptoms are:-

Primary stage - During this stage, a chancre (which is a painless open sore) develops. This is mainly found in the genital area, anus or mouth and which enters the body wherever there is bacteria.

Secondary stage – After the chancre develops, the secondary phase develops for about 4-10 weeks. Secondary syphilis is caused when a person has a direct contact with the mucous membranes. Various other symptoms of secondary phase are:-


  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Joint pain
  • Sore throat

Latent stage – This stage is the hidden stage in which no symptoms are found in the early phase and are not infectious.

Late (tertiary) stage – If this disease is not detected and treated in the early stages, various problems can arise such as blindness, heart disorders, mental disorders and many other associated with the nervous system and it will result in death.

When to Seek Medical Care

The person should immediately contact the doctor if he/she experiences any sores on vagina or penis. A person can also contact the doctor if the rashes on their body did not go away. When during treatment, the person develops other symptoms like fever, swelling or sore throat; in this case also he can contact a doctor. Syphilis can also cause strokes.

Diagnosis of Syphilis

While diagnosing the syphilis, the doctor discusses the history of the symptoms and sexual activities and recommends a physical examination. In this case, whether the patient is having syphilis or not, it is checked by performing various blood tests. A syphilis infection is diagnosed by the following tests:-

  • VDRL (venereal disease research laboratory)
  • FTA-ABS (fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption)
  • RPR (rapid plasma regain)

Treatment of Syphilis

The infection, complications and spread of infection to others can be cured by the use of antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment for syphilis can prevent the patient from the complications developed in the last stage. Regular check up is required for the patient which is one of the parts of treatment.

Penicillin should also be given to the patients for treating syphilis. It is also used for the treatment of congenital syphilis or neurosyphilis. The treatment of syphilis is complicated as its symptoms are similar to other diseases.

Prevention of Syphilis

The patient should take the following preventions:-

  • Self care should be taken to prevent from syphilis.
  • Extra protection for women
  • Patient should use condoms.
  • Condoms should be bought and stored.

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