Syphilis, also known as syphilis, is a systemic disease caused by the microbe called Trepanoma Pallidum, which can lead to multiorgan involvement. It is a sexually transmitted infection. If left untreated, it can cause death by causing damage to internal organs.
How is it transmitted?
Syphilis is sexually transmitted. It can be transmitted through leaks from fresh lesions on the skin, semen and vaginal secretions, vaginal, oral and anal route. It can also be passed from mother to her baby. It can also be transmitted during transfusion in patients receiving blood transfusions. Using the belongings of a patient with syphilis can also cause transmission. Shared needle use in drug addicts is another way. The infection is very contagious especially in the first year and becomes less contagious as it progresses.
Who can get infected?
It can occur in people of any age who have unprotected sexual intercourse. It can be seen in those who have more than one sexual partner, those who come into contact with syphilis lesions and those with weak immunity. Those who have sexual contact with sick people are the most common group.
What are the stages of syphilis? What are the symptoms of the disease according to the stages?
Syphilis initially presents with mild symptoms. The patient may think that he is cured. However, there are 3 stages of the disease.
Approximately 3 weeks after contact, a smooth-edged, painless, red swelling forms around the genital organ infected by the bacteria. There may be a lymph node in the neighborhood. Even without treatment, the swelling disappears within 3-6 hf. The patient thinks that he/she is cured, but the bacteria spreads throughout the body. Thus, the 2nd period of the disease begins. During this period, flu-like symptoms are seen; fever, weakness, muscle joint pains, sore throat. After this period, the disease goes into a dormant phase. The patient has no complaints. Stage 3 occurs approximately 3-15 years after onset. This stage can be seen in 3 different ways;
Soft tumor-like swellings called gomlu syphilis can be seen on the skin, even on the bones and internal organs. In neurosyphilis, the disease affects the nervous system and can cause paralysis, loss of sensation, dementia and psychiatric disorders. In cardiovascular syphilis, it can involve the aorta and cause an aneurysm. This stage can be fatal. Also, if syphilis is present in pregnant women, the risk of premature birth, deformity and death in the baby is very high.
How is it diagnosed?
It is detected by taking a fluid sample from the lesions called chancre and a blood sample from the patient. Lesions and physical examination are helpful in diagnosis. In advanced syphilis, the spread to the nervous system is also checked by taking spinal fluid.
In patients with suspected syphilis, other sexually transmitted infections are investigated. Such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, hiv etc.
How is the treatment?
Antibiotics are used in treatment. Treatment does not remove the damage caused by the infection. Complications caused by syphilis are treated separately. Penicillin is the antibiotic usually used in treatment. Patients’ partners should also be treated. Treatment does not protect against syphilis. The patient can get syphilis again.
What can it cause if left untreated?
Brain and central nervous system damage, eye, cardiovascular, liver, bone and joint diseases. As a result of nerve damage, weakness, difficulty walking, imbalance, memory difficulties, delusions, delirium may occur.
What should a person with syphilis pay attention to?
If you are going to have sexual intercourse, protection methods must be used. Condoms must be used and make sure that they are not torn. It would be right to inform your partner. Monogamy reduces the risk. Avoid sexual intercourse if there is an active lesion.
What to do for protection after treatment?
Syphilis is sexually transmitted and patients can transmit the disease even if they have no visible lesions. Therefore, it is difficult to recognize who is infected. It is necessary to avoid unprotected sexual intercourse, not to be polygamous, to use condoms, not to use sex toys. A doctor’s check-up is necessary in any suspicious situation.