What is syphilis?
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by bacteria. The disease is quite curable, especially when it's treated early on. Symptoms of infection usually become appearant after two to twelve weeks.
What are symptoms of syphilis?
- After two to twelve weeks one or more sores where the infection entered the body
- A syphilis sore:
- Usually isn't larger than 1 cm or half an inch
- Feels firm
- Usually doesn't hurt
- Isn't always easy to detect, because often they're inside the vagina or anus
- Nearby lymphe nodes can be swollen (for example in the groin)
Is syphilis serious and should I see a doctor?
Syphilis can be treated quite effectively with antibiotics, but it's important to treat at an early stage. When syphilis stays untreated for a long time it can have serious consequenses.
Contact your doctor:
- To assess the symptoms and prescribe treatment
What can I do about syphilis myself?
- It's important to warn all of your bedpartners you have had sexual contact with since the infection
- With vaginal, oral (with the mouth) and anal (with the anus) sexual contact you can all catch an STD!
- Condoms are the only protection against STD's
- Contraceptives (the pill, IUD's, etc.) don't protect against STD's
- When you're in a relationship and want to start having unprotected sex, always either discuss this with your doctor or get tested for STD's
- When you've had unprotected sexual contact either discuss this with your doctor or get tested for STD's
- Safe sex has nothing to do with trust, don't let yourself get pressured into unsafe sex
How does syphilis affect my body?
Syphilis is caused by bacteria that cn enter the body trought the skin. Often the disease is spread through sexual contact. After the first stage with the sores, there's a second stage with more serious symptoms.
Symptoms in the second stage are:
- Spots over the entire body
- Flu-like symptoms
- Hairloss with bald spots
- Eye complaints
After the second stage comes the latent phase, in which there aren't any symptoms but in which the bacteria are still in the body. This luckily is much less common nowadays, because of better antibiotics and better protection.