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Syphilis can be defined as a bacterial infection that usually escalates through sexual contact. Disease typically initiates from a painless sore on your mouth, genitals, or rectum area. 

Syphilis spreads in people through mucous membrane or skin by these sores. Bacteria of syphilis remain dormant or inactive in your body parts after the infection. They take a long duration of time to become active again.

You can recover from early syphilis sometimes after taking a single injection of penicillin. Syphilis can cause severe damage to your brain, heart, and other body organs if you leave it untreated. 

It can prove life-threatening for people. Take care of your children if you are suffering from syphilis. The disease can be passed to unborn children from their mothers.

Symptoms

The development of syphilis occurs in stages and its symptoms vary with the specific stage. The stages of this disease may overlap. Symptoms of syphilis do not always appear in the same pattern. You may have this disease without symptoms for years.

Primary Syphilis

A small sore is the first symptom of syphilis that is called a chancre. Soreness can be present at the specific spot from where bacterias enter your body. Most people who carry this disease develop one chancre only. But others may contain several chancres.

Chancres develop within the duration of three weeks after getting exposed to bacteria. People do not notice chancre because it usually does not induce pain in the rectum or vagina. The good news is that chancre can be healed within the time duration of three to six weeks.

Secondary Syphilis

A rash begins at the area of your trunk after the healing of the original chancre. It covers your whole body. Even it becomes spread on the soles of your feet and hand palms. The rash does not cause itching. The wart like sores can develop in your genital and mouth area.

People experience fever, hair loss, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a sore throat. The symptoms come and go for months or even a year.

Latent Syphilis

The disease progresses from secondary to latent or hidden stage if you do not treat syphilis in the right way and when symptoms do not appear. This stage remains for many years. The symptoms do not return sometimes and the disease moves to the third stage that is called a tertiary stage.

Tertiary Syphilis

Approximately, 15 to 30% of people do not take proper treatment of syphilis, and their disease moves to the tertiary stage. They develop several complications at this stage. 

The disease can damage your nerves, eyes, brain, liver, blood vessels, joints, and heart. The problems appear many years after your exposure to the original infection that is untreated.

Neurosyphilis

Syphilis can damage your eyes, brain, or nervous system at any stage.

Congenital Syphilis

Babies can get syphilis disease from their infected mothers during birth or through the placenta. Most newborn babies do not have symptoms of syphilis. Some experience rashes on the soles of feet and palms of hands.

Later symptoms include teeth deformities, saddle nose, and deafness. Babies with syphilis can die after birth, be born dead, or take birth from premature delivery.

Causes

A bacterium named Treponema pallidum is the cause of syphilis disease. When you come into contact with the sore of an infected person during sexual intercourse then you might get syphilis. 

Bacteria enter your body through an abrasion in the skin or minor cuts. It also enters the human body through the mucous membrane. 

It rarely spreads through direct close contact with a lesion that is active or through infected mothers to babies during childbirth or pregnancy. Using the same bathtub, toilet, clothing, or eating utensils does not spread this disease also.

Treatment

Cure of syphilis is easy if it is diagnosed at early stages. Penicillin is preferred for treatment at all stages. It is an antibiotic medication that works to kill the organism that is causing the disease. The doctor may prescribe you other medicines if you are penicillin-allergic.

Your doctor can also treat you with penicillin desensitization. A single injection of penicillin is recommended treatment if you are diagnosed with primary, early-stage latent, or secondary syphilis.

People may suffer a Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction on the first day of their treatment. Symptoms include achy pain, fever, nausea, chills, and headache.