What are The Syphilis Causes, Symptoms & Treatment?

What are The Syphilis Causes, Symptoms & Treatment?


Syphilis, a bacterial infection spreads via sexual contact, is most commonly caused by genital infections. Syphilis initiates as a painless sore, usually on the genitals, mouth or rectum. However, it can spread from one person to another person through skin or mucous membrane contact. In the absence of treatment, syphilis causes fatalities or health issues such as mental health problems, blindness, and harm to the heart, brain, eyes, brain, and nervous system.

As per WHO, syphilis is a very common infection in men who have had sex with other men (MSM) around the world. Out of 25 countries that reported active syphilis, 11 countries had a rate of 5% or higher and seven countries had a rate of 10% or greater.

Further, WHO also states that syphilis is the second most common cause of stillbirth worldwide. It can also lead to prematurity and low birthweight. Pregnant women can prevent this adverse effects by a quick and easy test that is inexpensive, followed by syphilis treatment.

Syphilis causes a small, innocuous sore and is the initial syphilis sign. One can find it within the mouth, or over the sexual organs. The sore is known as a chancre. Many people don’t notice it immediately, or even at all.

It is difficult to diagnose syphilis. However, it is possible to have it for years and not show any symptoms. Also, the better you detect syphilis and syphilis causes, the better to get treatment as soon as possible.

What are The Different Stages and Effects of Syphilis?

Syphilis is a progressive infection and has four stages. Syphilis causes various symptoms at each stage. Further, people in the first and second stages of syphilis are highly contagious. Moreover, they can easily transmit the infection to their partners. These are the stages of syphilis:

Primary Syphilis

The first stage takes place between 2 and 12 weeks after encountering the bacteria. So, a smooth, reddish sore chancre forms on the genitals. Moreover, it usually disappears after a few months or weeks. It is often small and rarely painful, so you may not even be aware it is there.

Secondary Syphilis

An unpleasant, bumpy syphilis-like rash will appear on the body about six to eight months after the chancre disappears. It usually appears on your soles (feet, bottoms) and palms. Other flu-like symptoms include fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. These symptoms may last for months or years.

Latent Syphilis

If the infection doesn’t get medical attention in the first 2 stages, it will progress into the latent phase. While there are no obvious signs or symptoms, latent syphilis causes serious damage to your bones, heart, and other organs. However, this stage can be long-lasting for years.

Tertiary syphilis (late)

Many people don’t feel any symptoms beyond the latent stage. This is because the infection heals or because they aren’t too obvious. About a third of individuals progress to the late stage of syphilis. Moreover, at this stage, Syphilis is a serious health concern. These issues are slow-growing and include:

  • Brain damage, mental health issues, and dementia.
  • Heart disease.
  • Muscle problems and movement disorders
  • Nerve damage.
  • Seizures.
  • Tumors on the bones or skin.
  • Vision problems

Syphilis Causes & Symptoms

syphilis symptoms

Understanding The Causes Of Syphilis

Syphilis causes by the bacteria Treponema pallidum.

Infected people spread the bacteria via vaginal, oral, or anal sex. The bacteria can infect the body via the anus and vagina, penis, mouth, or broken skin. Syphilis can be contagious. Individuals in the first and second phases of syphilis are exceptionally infectious and sometimes even during the early latent periods. Moreover, syphilis can transmit to your sexual partner if you are sexually involved.

Further, you can pass syphilis to your unborn child if you are pregnant.

However, syphilis can’t transmit by touching objects such as toilet seats, doorknobs, cookware, etc.

Syphilis does not return once treated. However, if you contact a syphilis sore, you could become reinfected.

Also, some other causes for syphilis or risk factors are:

  • Sex without protection
  • Sex with multiple partners
  • HIV Infected
  • Gay, bisexual, or a man who has had sex with other men
  • You have had sex with someone positive for syphilis.
  • Positive for another STI, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Syphilis causes severe damage to your body if left untreated. Syphilis can also increase the chance of getting HIV and lead to pregnancy complications. While treatment can prevent future damage, it cannot reverse or repair the damage that has already been done.

Syphilis Symptoms

Syphilis can develop in stages, and the symptoms may vary from one stage to another. The symptoms may not always appear in the same order, and the stages can overlap. Syphilis can be a silent disease. Moreover, syphilis causes no symptoms but may persist for many years.

Primary syphilis

A small sore, “chancre,” is the initial indication of syphilis. The spot where bacteria enter your body will show the sore. Although most people with syphilis have one chancre, some develop multiple.

The chancre develops approximately three weeks after being exposed. People living with syphilis rarely feel the chancre. It’s usually not painful and remains hidden within the vaginal or rectum. Within three to six weeks, the chancre should heal itself.

Secondary syphilis

After the first chancre healing process, you could encounter a rash on your trunk that, in the long run, covers your whole body.

Itching is rare, but it may cause a rash that’s not itchy. Other symptoms include hair loss, muscle aches, and fever. These side effects can vanish in half a month, or they might return for up to one year.

Latent syphilis

Syphilis can progress from the second stage to the latent stage if you don’t undergo treatment. The syphilis disease could progress to the third stage (tertiary), where symptoms and signs may not return.

Tertiary syphilis

If a person with syphilis doesn’t receive treatment at the earlier stages, syphilis causes worse conditions. Passing the latent stage, if a person enters the tertiary stage, they might suffer the more serious and life-threatening condition. The disease can irreversibly damage the brain, nerves, and eyes in the later stages. These issues may develop years later than the original, untreated infection.


Syphilis can develop at whatever stage in life and cause serious harm to the sensory system, brain, and eye.

Congenital syphilis

Congenital syphilis is a rare condition in which most newborns experience no symptoms. However, some may feel itchy on their palms or feet.

Deafness, tooth deformities, and saddle nose are possible later signs and symptoms. The saddle nose is where the bridge of your nose collapses.

Moreover, syphilis causes premature births, leading to death in the womb or after birth.

Syphilis Diagnosis

You must be straightforward with your medical caregiver during this conversation. Your supplier will want to survey your risk and may suggest testing for other Sexually transmitted diseases.

Syphilis diagnosis test includes:

  •  Blood Testing: Testing can confirm the antibodies present in your body to defend against infection. You may have antibodies to syphilis, causing bacteria for years. The test can help you determine whether or not there is a current infection.
  •  cerebrospinal fluid: The doctor may recommend a lumbar puncture if the doctors suspect that you might have nerve system complications due to syphilis causes.

syphilis treatment

Treatment Of Syphilis

Healthcare providers often prescribe penicillin for the treatment of syphilis. Even if the rash or chancre disappears, you must continue with the whole course of antibiotics. It is important to notify anyone who has had sex in the past two years that they must also do a diagnostic test.

Your doctor might recommend another antibiotic or penicillin desensitization if you show an allergic reaction to penicillin.

Single penicillin injection would be the best treatment for syphilis if any infection occurred within the past year. You may require additional penicillin if you have had syphilis causes longer than one year.

For pregnant women having syphilis, penicillin is the best treatment. Even if you receive treatment for syphilis caused in pregnancy, your baby must undergo testing for congenital syphilis. If the child has syphilis, they will undergo antibiotic treatment.

After completing a course in syphilis treatment, your healthcare provider can ask you for a blood test to check the syphilis presence. Syphilis can return even after treatment. If you are at high risk for syphilis causes, make sure you get checked regularly and practice safe sex.

You should avoid having sexual contact while receiving treatment until your body heals and your doctor permits you to resume sex. Your partner should also undergo treatment if you are sexually active.

Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions (JHR) are short-term side effects of the treatment of syphilis. Within 24 hours, JHR symptoms may occur in a few individuals with primary or secondary syphilis.

The immune system reacts to JHR. The symptoms can range from mild to severe.

  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Chills
  • Gastrointestinal problems like nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain

Symptoms of JHR usually disappear within a few hours.

Treatment Follow-Up Tips

Following the treatment for syphilis causes, note the following tips:

  • Regular blood tests and examinations are necessary to ensure that you respond to the prescribed dose of penicillin. The stage of your syphilis will decide the sort of treatment and medical attention you require.
  • Keep your new partner from having sexual contact until the completion of the treatment, and the blood tests confirm the infection’s absence.
  • Inform your sex partner, so they test themselves for syphilis and receive treatment if necessary.
  • Get an HIV infection test.

Prevention Against Syphilis

For the prevention of syphilis causes, there is no immunization. These are some suggestions to help stop the spread of syphilis.

  • Be monogamous or abstain from having sex. The best method to avoid contracting syphilis is to avoid sex. Or else be monogamous. Ensure both of you don’t have syphilis and don’t have sex with multiple partners.
  • Use a condom. using a condom during intercourse reduces the chance of getting STIs. Further, the condom must cover any syphilis sores if having sex with an infected person.
  • Don’t use recreational drugs. Intoxication can affect your judgment and cause unsafe sexual behavior.

Bottom Line

Treatment for syphilis causes is possible. Treat syphilis early so that it doesn’t cause other chronic health issues. Moreover, have an honest conversation with the doctor about your sexual history. They will help you to assess your risk and take preventative measures.

At Ohman, our specialist offer online consultation for men’s sexual health concerns. Also, Ohman offers FDA-approved sexual wellness medications and products for individuals suffering from any sexual concerns.

If you are encountering any sexual concerns like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction that is affecting your life, our experts are here at your help. Book an consultation today. Also, get medicines for Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction medicines delivered at your doorstep with discrete packaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is syphilis treatable?
    Yes. Syphilis treatment is possible with the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. Antibiotics cannot undo the damage that syphilis causes.
  2. What are the symptoms of syphilis among men?
    Men may find the chancre appearing on their penis, anus, or scrotum. The sore usually heals itself and is painless. Rashes can emerge on various body parts, including the palms and bottoms of the feet.
  3. What are the prospects for people living with syphilis in the future?
    If detected early, syphilis treatment is possible and won’t lead to long-term problems. However, whenever left untreated can prompt severe medical conditions. Syphilis causes severe damage to the heart, bones and brain, nerves, and muscles.
  4. Can you get syphilis non-sexually?
    It doesn’t matter if you have had sexual intercourse to contract syphilis. You can get syphilis by getting into close contact with syphilis affected individual’s mouth, privates, or rectum.
  5. How do you catch syphilis?
    Syphilis can spread from one to another through direct contact with a sore, known as a chancre. Having sex with a person having syphilis will get you syphilis.
  6. What causes syphilis in a woman?
     A bacteria called Treponema pallidum leads to syphilis. Like other STIs, syphilis also spreads via sexual contact or even non-sexually.

reference – Who Data on syphilis

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