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What is Syphilis? An Overview

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. The disease typically begins with the development of painless sores, known as chancres, which commonly appear on the genitals, rectum, or mouth. Syphilis can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn child during pregnancy or childbirth, resulting in congenital syphilis. Here we bring out a complete guide to Syphilis – Causes, Symptoms, Types, Prevention and Facts!

Syphilis Causes

Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. The primary mode of transmission is through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The infection can spread when the bacteria from an active syphilis sore or rash come into contact with mucous membranes or breaks in the skin of a healthy individual.

Syphilis can be transmitted through various sexual activities, including unprotected intercourse with an infected person. It can also be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her unborn child during pregnancy or childbirth, known as congenital syphilis.

It’s important to note that syphilis cannot be transmitted through casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sharing utensils, or using the same toilet seat. The infection requires direct contact with the syphilis sore or rash.

Complete Guide to Syphilis Stages, Signs and Symptoms

Syphilis can progress through different stages, each with its own set of signs and symptoms. It’s important to note that the symptoms may vary from person to person, and some individuals may not experience any noticeable symptoms at certain stages. Here are the general signs and symptoms associated with each stage of syphilis:

  1. Primary Syphilis:
    • The primary stage typically begins with the appearance of a painless sore called a chancre.
    • The chancre usually develops at the site of infection, such as the genitals, anus, or mouth.
    • The sore is firm, round, and may go unnoticed, causing little or no discomfort.
    • The chancre can heal on its own within a few weeks, even without treatment.
  2. Secondary Syphilis:
    • Secondary syphilis occurs when the infection spreads throughout the body.
    • Common symptoms include a rash that may appear on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or other parts of the body.
    • The rash can be accompanied by fever, fatigue, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, headache, muscle aches, and weight loss.
    • Other symptoms may include patchy hair loss, genital or mouth sores, and flu-like symptoms.
  3. Latent Syphilis:
    • Latent syphilis is characterized by the absence of visible symptoms.
    • The infection remains present in the body, but no visible signs or symptoms are present.
    • Latent syphilis can be early (less than 1 year since initial infection) or late (more than 1 year since initial infection).
  4. Tertiary Syphilis:
    • Tertiary syphilis is the most severe and potentially life-threatening stage of the disease.
    • It can develop many years after the initial infection if left untreated.
    • Symptoms may include damage to the heart, blood vessels, brain, spinal cord, and other organs.
    • Neurological problems, paralysis, blindness, and dementia can occur at this stage.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms can overlap or be similar to other health conditions. If you suspect you have been exposed to syphilis or experience any concerning symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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This Sexually Transmitted Disease Varies at every level – Silent sickness 

Syphilis develops in degrees, and symptoms vary at every level. But these levels may additionally overlap, and signs and symptoms do not constantly remain in the same order. You’ll be infected with the infectious bacteria without noticing any symptoms.

If this isn’t handled at the initial stage, it may cause serious health problems, which include neuralgia (mind and nerve) troubles, eye problems, and even blindness. Further, syphilis is related to a prolonged danger of transmission of HIV contamination. 

Also Read: All About Genital Herpes: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Facts

Risk Factors

Factors that cause Syphilis include age and unprotected sex. Unprotected sexual activity includes contact with oral, genital mucosa, or anal. Participants 25 years and older had more odds of getting syphilis than people in their 15–24 years. Even though simplest contributors ages 35–49 and a while 50+ were appreciably associated with syphilis.

Complete Guide to Syphilis Treatment

Early syphilis can be cured, now, with a single shot (injection) of penicillin. An antibiotic medicine that may kill the organism that motivates syphilis. If you’re allergic to penicillin, your doctor may use different antibiotics or use penicillin desensitization.


  • The only certain way to prevent this STD is to keep away from having unprotected intercourse.
  • Use a latex condom. Condoms can reduce your chance of contracting syphilis, but best if the condom covers the syphilis sores.
  • Avoid leisure tablets.

Congenital Syphilis

Infants born to women who have syphilis can end up infected through the placenta. Maximum newborns with congenital syphilis have no signs, even though a few feel rashes in their palms and the soles of their toes. Later signs and symptoms may include deafness, tooth deformities, and saddle nostril in which the bridge of the nose collapses.

Looking for detailed information on different sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? We have a wealth of knowledge and resources to provide you with comprehensive insights into various STDs at Sexual Health

Also Read: What are the 10 Major Sexually Transmitted Diseases – STDs