Everything You Need to Know About Syphilis

The number of women infected with syphilis has decreased, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 56,400 cases were reported in the U.S. in 2013. If left untreated, syphilis can cause serious health damage, some of which can be fatal.

The disease can also be spread to the fetus during pregnancy. Congenital syphilis can severely damage or kill a newborn.

What Are the Symptoms?

There are four phases of syphilis. The primary and secondary phases are when the disease is most infectious. In the latent and tertiary stages, the disease is still active but has no symptoms and is no longer contagious. At the tertiary stage, syphilis is extremely dangerous to your health.

Symptoms of syphilis vary, depending on its stage, but may include:

  • A chancre sore on the genitals, mouth, or rectum
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Hair and weight loss
  • Achy joints

Once syphilis reaches its later stages, the symptoms are quite serious. If untreated, the STD can cause deafness, blindness, memory loss, and mental illness. It even puts you at a higher risk of meningitis, stroke, and heart disease.

How Can I Get Tested?

If you have symptoms of syphilis, immediately schedule an appointment with Choices, a comprehensive women’s health center. Your doctor will take urine and/or blood samples to diagnose you. A physical exam is also used to locate any chancre sores.

For later stages of syphilis diagnosis, you may require a spinal tap. Your doctor will test spinal fluid for syphilis-causing bacteria.

How Is Syphilis Treated?

Syphilis treatment requires the use of antibiotics. Most often, penicillin is used to treat the disease, but other antibiotics can also be used successfully. It’s also important that your partner is treated as well. Otherwise, you can become re-infected.

If you’re in later stages of the disease, you’ll require daily injections of penicillin. Later stages of the disease often require treatment to be conducted at a hospital. Your doctor will also focus on treatment to ease pain and discomfort. Treatment kills bacteria that cause syphilis and prevents further damage, but existing damage is permanent.

After treatment, you must avoid sexual contact until all sores are fully healed. You may want to get clearance from your healthcare provider before having sex. To prevent syphilis and other STDs, practice safe sex. This includes using a condom, as well as minimizing sexual partners.

Trust Us for Women’s Health Services

If you are sexually active, routine STD testing will ensure your female reproductive health. Being aware of your status, as well as having responsible sex, keeps you and your partners at a lesser risk to contract an STD.

At Choices Women’s Medical Center, we want to become your go-to STD testing center. Not only do we offer STD testing, we also provide a variety of gynecologist services, including pap smears.

Are you ready to take your health into your own hands? If so, visit our office at 147-32 Jamaica Ave.

Sources

1. http://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/stdfact-syphilis-detailed.htm