Syphilis is a bacterial illness spread through sexual contact. It is treated in the early stages, but if not, it can cause disability, neurological disorders, and even death. Syphilis is caused by a type of bacteria known as Treponema pallidum.
How is syphilis diagnosed?
If you suspect you have syphilis, see your doctor as soon as possible. You can also utilize a local health clinic for testing if you like.
Your doctor or healthcare professional will collect a blood sample and do a comprehensive physical examination. If there is a sore, they may take a sample from it to see if the syphilis germs are present.
If your doctor or healthcare professional believes you have tertiary syphilis and you have positive screening blood tests, you may need a lumbar puncture, often known as a spinal tap. During this operation, your doctor will sample spinal fluid to test for syphilis germs.
Symptoms of syphilis
- Warty white or grey growths are most usually found on your penis, vagina, or around your anus.
- a rash on your palms and soles of your feet that can occasionally extend all over your body
- flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headaches and tiredness
- unexplained weight loss
- patchy hair loss on the head, beard and eyebrows
- swollen lymph nodes
- small sores (ulcers) on your penis, vagina, or around your bottom (anus) – these are usually painless and you may only have one of them
- sores in other areas, including in your mouth or on your lips, hands or bottom
Treatment for syphilis
Antibiotics are used to treat syphilis, and they can be administered as injections, pills, or capsules.
Treatment may begin before the results of your tests are known. The duration of your treatments will be determined by the stage of your syphilis.
Treatment can induce flu-like symptoms in some people, such as a high fever, headache, and aching muscles. This often lasts up to 24 hours.
You’ll need to return to your doctor’s office or a sexual health clinic 6 and 12 weeks after commencing therapy to get retested.
WARNING!! Do not have sexual encounters (vaginal, anal, or oral) until you and your partner have completed treatment and tests demonstrate that the treatment was successful.