Why is Syphilis so Dangerous?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is spread through direct contact with a resulting sore. These sores can be found around the genitals, anus and mouth. Similar to other STD’s such as Chlamydia, a person that has syphilis can not show any symptoms or the symptoms can go unrecognized. You can transmit this disease during stage 1 and stage 2 when the sores are present.
The primary stage of this sexually transmitted disease is marked by the appearance of a single sore. This sore can be described as firm, round, small and painless. If treatment is received during the primary stage, the person can be cured and the disease would not progress. If left untreated the disease will progress to the secondary stage and become more dangerous. Just because the sore goes away does not mean that you have been cured of the disease. Syphilis will continue to spread throughout your body.
The second stage is characterized in both men and women by skin rashes or lesions in the mucous membranes. The rashes associated with Syphilis can appear on any part of the body and do not cause itching. They can last for a few weeks or a few months. Other signs of the secondary stage are swollen glands, fever, hair loss, weight loss and sore muscles. Since these signs are fairly common to multiple illnesses they can be easily ignored which can lead to the latent stage of syphilis. As with stage 1, if left untreated these symptoms may go away in 1 to 9 months, but this does not mean that the disease has been cured.
The latent stage of Syphilis can cause many serious issues including muscle, joint and organ damage. During the beginning of this stage the person will be symptom-free and probably believe that whatever they had just went away. During the late stages they can start to have difficulty with muscle movements, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness and dementia which could lead to death. Similar to Chlamydia, a pregnant mother can spread the disease to her newborn child. The child can develop seizures, developmental delays or even possibly die from this disease.
No matter what STD you may have, from genital herpes to HIV, it is important to see a doctor as quickly as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Many of these conditions can be treated and cured with antibiotic drugs if they are caught in time. Syphilis can be cured, but if severe damage has occurred to the body it can be almost impossible to repair. As with many other sexually transmitted diseases you are more susceptible to other more serious illnesses such as HIV/AIDS when you have them. You need to stop sexually activity immediately if you feel you may be at risk. Therefore, if you have Syphilis it is a good idea to be tested for other diseases such as gonorrhea and HIV. In order to determine when you have been cured, you will need to go back to the doctor for repeated blood tests. Once they have determined that there are no more diseased cells in your blood you will know that the Syphilis is gone. It is extremely important to follow-up with your doctors as they request.
The only means of prevention from Syphilis is to not have sex with someone that is infected. If you are sexually active, condoms may help but they are not 100% effective. This is why regular testing of both yourself and your partners is extremely important to your long-term health.