Syphilis Symptoms

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It can have serious health consequences if gone untreated, making it essential to recognize the symptoms and seek prompt medical attention. Syphilis progresses through several stages, each characterized by distinct symptoms and complications.

The primary stage of syphilis typically begins with the appearance of a painless sore or ulcer known as a chancre. Chancres can develop anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the genitals, anus, or mouth. Because chancres are painless and may go unnoticed, people may not seek medical attention during this stage. However, the bacterium remains active and contagious, increasing the risk of transmission to sexual partners.

Stage 2 Symptoms

If left untreated, syphilis progresses to the secondary stage, which is characterized by a variety of symptoms that can affect multiple organ systems. Common symptoms of secondary syphilis include skin rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue.

The rash associated with secondary syphilis often appears as reddish-brown sores on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet but can also occur on other parts of the body. These symptoms may come and go over several weeks or months, making them easy to overlook or dismiss.

In some cases, syphilis may progress to the latent stage, during which the infection remains dormant and asymptomatic. Latent syphilis can last for years or even decades without causing any noticeable symptoms. However, the bacterium remains present in the body and can still cause serious health complications if left untreated.

Final Stage

In its final stage, known as tertiary syphilis, the infection can cause severe damage to the heart, brain, nerves, and other organs. This can lead to a wide range of complications, including cardiovascular problems, neurological disorders, vision loss, and even death.

Detecting syphilis typically involves a combination of UK laboratory tests and clinical evaluation. Blood tests, such as the UK Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test and the Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test, can detect antibodies produced by the body in response to the syphilis infection. These tests are often used to screen for syphilis in patients who may be at risk or who are experiencing symptoms.

Additionally, UK healthcare providers may perform a physical examination to look for signs of syphilis.

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