Syphilis is a bacterial Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), caused by the bacteria named as Treponema pallidum. It is highly contagious and spreads through sexual activities like vaginal, anal and oral sex. However, in the rarest of rare cases, this disease gets transmitted to other people through prolonged kissing or close body contact. But, this STD highly affects the fetus of an infected mother. Henceforth, one must be very careful and take the necessary precautions against Syphilis, especially during Pregnancy.
SYMPTOMS OF SYPHILIS:
Like any other STD Syphilis also do not cause any symptoms or signs at an early stage. However, Syphilis occurs in three distinct stages. The three stages have different symptoms, each of which is described below.
1. Early or Primary Syphilis:
People suffering from Primary or Early Syphilis have the following symptoms:
• Develops one or more red sores
• The sores are small painless ulcers
• The sores develop in the genital part and mouth around 10-90 days after exposure
2. Secondary Stage:
Following are the symptoms and signs of Syphilis in its Secondary stage:
• Begins around 6 weeks to 6 months after exposure
• Experience a pinkish “copper penny” shaped rash usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
• Rashes with a different appearance may develop on other parts of the body
• Presence of moist warts in the groin
• White patches inside the mouth
• Swollen lymph glands, fever, and weight loss are subsidiary symptoms of Syphilis
3. Latent Syphilis:
People, who are existent in the stage of Latent Syphilis, do not possess any particular symptoms. In this stage, the disease lies dormant.
4. Tertiary Syphilis:
Following are the complications of Tertiary Syphilis:
• Severe problems with the heart, brain, and nerves
• Can cause paralysis, blindness, dementia, etc.
How Syphilis affects Pregnant Women?
Syphilis can be transmitted to the babies whose mothers are infected during pregnancy. The disease as named as Congenital Syphilis can be spread to the fetus through the mother’s womb. Syphilis can cause the following problems to the newborns:
• Having syphilis can increase the potential risk of causing Miscarriage. Miscarriage means when a baby dies within the womb itself before 20 weeks of the pregnancy.
• Problems affecting the placenta and umbilical cord present in our womb. During pregnancy, the placenta grows in the uterus (womb) and supplies food and oxygen to the baby through the umbilical cord. Congenital syphilis may affect the placenta to grow outsized and the umbilical cord to get swollen, which can pose life-threatening problems to the fetus.
• Syphilis may cause stillbirth. Stillbirth refers to the death of a baby while still being inside the womb.
• The disease can induce Foetal Growth Restriction in the newborn. This is referred to as a condition after birth when the weight of the baby is much lower than normal.
• Syphilis gets transmitted to the infants during childbirth also. It can cause fatal infections to your child. Newborns are often born prematurely. Untreated children, who survive, develop problems in multiple organs like brain, heart, eyes, bones etc.
Thus, to prevent your child from getting the above said fatal infections, immediate treatment of Syphilis is of utmost importance.
DIAGNOSIS OF SYPHILIS:
To diagnose Syphilis a simple blood test named Syphilis Rapid Plasma Reagin Test (RPR) is performed. The blood test determines the presence of the antibodies that fight the infection. However, at times, you may result in a false positive reading if you had been treated for Syphilis before. In such a case, another test will be followed by the previous one to confirm the results.
TREATMENT OF SYPHILIS:
The best and most effective medicine to treat Syphilis is Penicillin. If you have contracted Syphilis for less than a year, then a single dose of Penicillin is perfect. For people having an allergy to Penicillin, other antibiotics would be prescribed. However, if you are in the later stages of Syphilis infection, then a higher amount of doses would be recommended by the doctors.
People who are undergoing the treatment for Syphilis must refrain from sexual activities unless the infection is eradicated completely. In fact, the sexual partners must also be tested for Syphilis infection and get treated, if found to be Syphilis infected.
Syphilis is a curable STD if diagnosed early and treated rapidly. Nevertheless, if treated too late, the infection can cause permanent damage to the heart and brain of the patient as well as the baby, in case the patient is pregnant.
In a case, if you have any symptoms from given above, You want to test nearby, visit the local Rapid STD Testing center.