No one plans to contract an STD from their sexual partner. But the truth is, sexually transmitted diseases and infections are very common. In fact, the CDC estimates that 1 in 5 people residing in the U.S. are infected with one or more STDs.
One of the most common sexually transmitted infections is syphilis. Knowing the symptoms and long term effects of syphilis can help women prioritize routine health exams and tests.
What Is Syphilis
Syphilis is classified as a bacterial infection that is passed from person to person via sexual contact. Unlike other STDs, syphilis has four distinct stages.
The primary phase begins with a simple sore on the genitals, rectum or mouth. Sometimes women can be unaware of the initial stage because the sore is hidden inside the vagina. Syphilis is spread by contact with the sores.
As syphilis progresses, the secondary stage causes a rash that can cover one area or the entire body. The rash is typically not itchy and sometimes can be very faint and unnoticable. Some people have also documented symptoms of fever, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches and fatigue in the secondary phase of syphilis.
The third phase of syphilis is when the disease becomes latent inside the body. Individuals can have this latent phase of the disease in their bodies for years to decades if not treated.
According to the CDC, most individuals with untreated syphilis will not develop the tertiary phase. Tertiary syphilis is very serious and can damage the heart, brain, blood vessels and nervous system. Medical providers can typically diagnose tertiary syphilis with a series of tests.
Testing And Treatment Options
Syphilis is diagnosed with a simple blood test. Treatment for syphilis in all stages is penicillin. Syphilis in the early stages is very easy to treat and cure. In the primary stage, individuals may only need one dose of penicillin to cure the disease.
For those who have had syphilis for many years, additional doses of penicillin may be necessary to effectively treat the infection.
As mentioned above, some people can be infected with syphilis and show little to no signs of the disease. Because of this, it is recommended that anyone who is sexually active be tested regularly for STDs.
Our center is licensed through the state of Indiana and operates as a full-service STD clinic. We offer testing of all the common STDs/STIs, including syphilis.
Appointments are easy and confidential. Diagnosing STDs early is the key to healthy sexual relations. Call 812-393-3938 today and get the answers you deserve!