Sexually Transmitted Diseases are a common thing and it can occur to anyone who enjoys unsafe sex with their partner. It is important for both the partners to perform necessary tests on time. This way, they can avoid spreading the infection to their sex partner. Many people are unaware about the side effects of having unprotected sex with more than one partner and they suffer from various STDs.
One of the common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) is syphilis. It is dangerous if you do not treat on it because it can progress and develop into more serious and permanent health problems. Being one of the common STDs besides chlamydia and gonorrhoea, it can be transmitted when you enjoy unprotected sexual activity with an infected person. Make sure you have proper knowledge about different STDs so that you can protect yourself as well as your partner from getting infected.
The symptoms of syphilis manifest in a different order in infected people. However, suppose you know the signs and its accompanying symptoms. In that case, you can see your doctor early enough for it to be treated and prevented from becoming very serious.
What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a bacterial STD that is mostly spread through sexual activity with someone infected. It affects different parts of your body like your genital region, such as the vagina and anus for women and the penis, scrotum and anus for men. It can also affect the mouth and the lips. The bacteria responsible for syphilis can be transmitted when your genital region comes in contact with a syphilis sore on the skin of an infected person.
You should know that you cannot get syphilis bacteria through the transfer of body fluids or normal physical contact. This means that you cannot get infected when you carry out the following activities such as:
- Holding hands
- Seating on a toilet seat
- Sharing of food
- Utensil sharing
- Sharing towels
- Coughing or sneezing
What are the signs and symptoms of syphilis in men?
There are different stages of syphilis infection in men. The first stage is the primary stage, then it progresses to the secondary stage and the latent and tertiary stage.
This is the first stage, and it is just after the infection. Here, the infection produces sores called chancres, and it appears on the part of the infected body. These chancres often look round in shape and are firm when touched. They are usually painless and can pop open in some cases. As people experience the symptoms differently, some may have just one chancre, while others may have multiple chancres.
At this stage of infection, the individual is very contagious due to the open sores. Note that the sores or chancres are not easily spotted. They usually appear in hidden areas of the genitals, like inside the anus or in the folds of the vagina. They may also look like pimples, or ingrown hair, making it difficult to be seen as a sore, thereby causing them to be spread easily during sexual intercourse.
The chancres or sores start developing from three weeks to three months after a person has been exposed or infected. They can last from 3 – 6 weeks before disappearing on their own. However, you must note that the disappearance of the chancres or sores does not mean you are free from infection.
This second stage begins after the chancres have disappeared. It begins weeks after the sores’ disappearance, and signs manifest as a rash on your body. The rash can spread to your palms and soles, followed by warts on your genital areas and mouth. The rash is not itchy, but it marks the beginning of the secondary stage.
In addition to the rash, you may also experience symptoms such as the following
- General body weakness
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sore throat
In this stage of infection, the signs you feel can last for about six weeks. However, it can fluctuate for about two years.
This stage is not easy to note because you may not experience any symptoms. Although some people may experience some symptoms, some others may not, which makes this stage dangerous. This stage lasts for months or years, depending on the individual’s immune system. If left untreated, the infection progresses to the last stage.
Tertiary or late-stage
This is the final stage of the syphilis infection. Regardless of it being the last stage of infection, there is still a small chance that it can be treated. However, the chances of reversal or cure are very slim because the infection has spread to other body parts, such as the nervous system. At this point, the infection can cause other problems like paralysis, blindness, and heart problems. It can also contribute to problems in the blood vessels.
Statistics have shown that about 15 to 30 percent of people who do not treat syphilis at the early stages progress to the tertiary stage. Even with proper treatment, it has become late and can cause the individual’s death.
Syphilis might be contagious during the early latent stage even when there aren’t any symptoms. It is not possible to get syphilis when you use same clothing, utensils, toilet seat of an infected person. You will also not get it by touching bathtubs, doorknobs, swimming pools or other such facilities.
It is important to get treated early enough if you are infected. Syphilis is a treatable disease, and the treatment can easily be done by taking antibiotics. Meanwhile, you should be on the lookout for the symptoms of syphilis, especially if you have recently been involved in unprotected sexual activities or if you have multiple sexual partners. Visit a sexual health clinic and get tested to prevent major problems in future and further infections.
You need to get in touch with us at our Sexual Health Clinic London if you want to get tested for syphilis in London. Feel free to contact us via email or you can give us a call directly for more information.