Syphilis – What is it, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments!

Syphilis – What is it, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments for what is one of the most dangerous sexually transmitted diseases  or STDs . In addition, Syphilis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases ( STDs ) in the world and its main sign is a painless genital ulcer.

What is:

Syphilis , or lues, is an infectious , sexually transmitted disease  caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It can also be transmitted vertically, from mother to fetus, by blood transfusion or  by direct contact with  contaminated blood . If not treated early, it can compromise various organs such as eyes, skin , bones, heart , brain  and nervous system. The incubation period, on average, is three weeks, but can range from 10 to 90 days.

The disease manifests itself in three different stages: primary, secondary and tertiary syphilis . In the first two, the symptoms are more evident and the risk of transmission is greater. Then there is a practically asymptomatic period, in which the bacteria remains latent in the body, but the disease  returns aggressively, accompanied by serious complications, causing blindness, paralysis, heart disease  , mental disorders and even death.


Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum, which is usually transmitted via sexual contact and enters the body  through small cuts in the skin  or mucous membranes. So check out the  Causes of Syphilis now:

Bacteriology:  One of the Causes of Syphilis is the transmission by the subspecies pallidum of the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which is a spiral bacterium, gram-negative and highly mobile. The three other human diseases  caused by other subspecies of Treponema pallidum are yaws (subspecies pertenue), pinta (subspecies carateum) and bejel (subspecies endemicum).

Unlike the pallidum subtype, these subspecies do not cause neurological disease  . Humans are the only known natural reservoir of the subspecies pallidum. Without the presence of a host, this subspecies is not able to survive more than a few days. This is because its small genome (1.14 MDa) cannot encode the metabolic pathways necessary to produce most of its macronutrients. The bacterium also has a doubling time of more than 30 hours.

Transmission:  One of the main Causes of Syphilis  is by sexual contact or during pregnancy from a mother to the fetus. The bacterium is able to cross intact mucous membranes or  compromised skin . However, other Causes of Syphilis  are from kissing a sore, as well as from oral, vaginal and anal sex. Between 30 to 60% of people exposed to primary or secondary syphilis contract syphilis .

Although syphilis can also be transmitted by blood products , this risk is reduced due to the screening that these products are targeted in many countries. The risk of transmission through needle sharing appears to be low. It is generally not possible to contract syphilis on toilet seats, in bathtubs, through day-to-day activities or by sharing clothes or kitchen utensils. This is because the bacteria die very quickly outside the host’s body  , making transmission through objects very difficult.


Syphilis develops in different stages, and symptoms vary as syphilis  progresses  . However, the phases can overlap each other. Symptoms, therefore, may or may not follow a certain order. Generally, syphilis  evolves through the following stages: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary.

Symptoms of Primary Syphilis: Primary  Syphilis is  the first stage. About two to three weeks after infection, painless sores (cancers) form at the site of infection. It is not possible to observe the sores or any symptoms, especially if the sores are situated in the rectum or cervix . The sores disappear in about four to six weeks later, even without treatment. The bacterium becomes dormant (inactive) in the body at this stage.

Symptoms of Secondary Syphilis: Secondary  syphilis happens  about two to eight weeks after the first sores form. Approximately 33% of those who have not treated primary syphilis  develop the second stage. Here, the patient may experience muscle pain, fever , sore  throat and difficulty swallowing.

These symptoms usually go away without treatment and, once again, the bacteria are inactive in the body. In addition to these symptoms, secondary syphilis  can be manifested by a reddening of the skin  (rash), the presence of tongue (ganglia) in the armpits , in the inguinal region, among others, and by the enlargement of the liver  and spleen.

Latent Syphilis Symptoms:  This is the period corresponding to the inactive stage of Syphilis , when there are no symptoms. This stage can last for years without the person feeling anything. The disease  may never manifest itself in the body again, but it may be that syphilis  develops to the next stage, the tertiary – and the most serious of all.

Symptoms of Congenital Syphilis:  Syphilis can  also be congenital. In it, the infected mother transmits syphilis  to the baby, either during pregnancy, through the placenta, or at the time of delivery. Most babies born infected do not show any symptoms of syphilis . However, some may have cracks on the palms and soles of the feet. Later, the child may develop more serious symptoms such as deafness and tooth deformities .


Syphilis  is treated with penicillin, an antibiotic that over the years has proven to be effective in combating the Treponema bacteria. Usually, in early stages, the patient will get an injection of penicillin that will stop syphilis  from developing.

If the patient is in a more serious stage of the disease , he may need to take more than one dose of the injection. The earlier the treatment is carried out, the greater the chances of success. This highlights the importance of carrying out the diagnosis of the disease as  early as primary syphilis  , when the infection has just happened.

When undergoing treatment, the patient should see the doctor regularly to check the progress and treat possible side effects of the penicillin injection. The patient will also have to undergo tests up to two years later to certify that the infection has been cured. The remedies used to treat syphilis are:

  • Benzetacil
  • Bepeben
  • Chlordox
  • Doxycycline
  • Erythromycin

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