STD

Syphilis

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Learning About Syphilis Can Help to Guard Against It

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial condition which has four distinct phases. Syphilis signs, symptoms and treatment depend largely on what stage the infection has reached. Knowing more about syphilis and how it is contracted can help people protect against it. In addition, knowing the symptoms of syphilis can help people determine whether they may have the infection.

Syphilis is most often contracted through sexual transmission. Like most sexually transmitted diseases, the infection can also be passed from mother to child or through blood.

Specific syphilis symptoms depend on the stage of the infection. The first phase of a syphilis infection is called the primary stage. After contracting the infection a chancre, a type of lesion, appears where the contact occurred. This lesion usually first appears as simply a firm area, often with a red or brown coloration, and is usually small, but can be nearly any size. The lesion eventually turns into an open ulcer-like sore. Looking at syphilis pictures can often help patients determine whether or not they may have the infection.

The secondary phase of the infection occurs several weeks after the initial infection. During this phase, patients may experience flu-like symptoms. They may also experience hair or weight loss. In addition, during this stage, more infection lesions occur, often in the form of a rash. These lesions can vary in size and appearance, but are often slightly swollen and red or brown in color. Lesions often occur on the arms, leg and back.

The third syphilis phase is the latent phase. During this phase, which occurs one to two years after the initial infection, many patients show no symptoms, but are still carriers of the bacteria.

The fourth stage is called the tertiary stage. This phase happens several years after the initial infection. The tertiary stage of the infection can take different forms. Some patients may experience the growth of large, inflamed nodules, which often look like tumors, on the skin and bones, as well as some internal organs. Other patients may experience damage to the eyes of central nervous system.

If a person feels that they may have syphilis, treatment should be sought immediately. Usually, syphilis treatment involves strong doses of penicillin or another antibiotic. This can actually cure the condition. However, during the later phases, the condition is less manageable. Antibiotic treatment can halt the disease, but can’t reduce damage, such as the growth of nodules, already caused by the condition.