Syphilis – The STD With Sores

By on November 20, 2012

Syphilis is one of the most common venereal diseases that can turn fatal if medical treatment is ignored. It tends to appear in 3 stages – Primary Stage syphilis, Secondary Stage syphilis and Late & latent stage.

One of the most common venereal diseases (or sexually transmitted diseases), Syphilis is a severe medical complication that can also lead to death. In the United States of America alone, there were more that 45,000 cases of syphilis in the year 2010. This makes it one of the most common venereal diseases, coming third to HIV and gonorrhea.

Among the new cases that were reported, more than 13,000 cases were of primary and secondary syphilis, with both being severely infectious stages of syphilis. More than 60% of the cases were due to sexual intercourse between men. The disease was not limited to adults as 300 cases were that of congenital syphilis.

Causes of infection:
Syphilis is a communicable disease that can be transmitter from an infected person to a healthy individual during sexual intercourse with syphilis sores. Some of the most common places for these sores to occur are:
?    Outer part of the genitals
?    Vaginal orifice
?    Anus
?    Rectum
Any form of sexual contact, be it vaginal, anal or oral can lead to this disease.
Duration taken for the symptoms to appear – in most cases, the symptoms can appear within 3 weeks. However, there are times, it can occur within 10 to 90 days.

The 2 stages of syphilis are as follows:
?    Primary Stage – A single sore marks the onset of the primary stage, however there could also be a quick onset of multiple sores. The sore appears at the spot where the body was exposed to an infected persons syphilis sores. These sores are round, firm and in 90% of the cases, painless – one of the reasons due to which they can go unnoticed for a long time. These sores can be present for 21 to 40 days and tend to heal on their own, only to resurface a few weeks later to the secondary stage.
?    Secondary Stage – The presence of skin rashes with or without the sores marks the onset of secondary stage. These tend to occur on the mouth, vagina or anus. These rashes tend to appear during the healing of the primary sores of several weeks after the primary sores appear to have been healed. They tend to occur in two forms:
•    Secondary Palmer rash – appear on the palms
•    Generalised body rash – appearing on the rest of the body with the back being the most common area

The rashes of the secondary stage do not generally cause itching and have a reddish brown rough appearance on palms and feet. They may have different forms of appearance on other locations of the body. In orifices that are warm with liquid discharges (such as the lips, axilla or groin), there may be occurrence of large, raised or white lesions. In rare cases, the rashes may have an extremely faint appearance as a result of which they may go unnoticed.

Some of the uncommon symptoms of syphilis are:
•    Fever
•    Swollen lymph nodes
•    Sore throat
•    Hair loss in patches
•    Headaches
•    Weight loss
•    Fatigue

If the symptoms are treated well, they tend to go away without reaching the late stage of the disease, most of which is latent with no external symptoms.
?    Late and latent stage – this stag may occur after years of secondary stage subsiding. The symptoms are muscle movements, numbness, blindness and heart diseases.

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