Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is highly contagious. It is caused by a bacteria known as Treponema pallidum. It can also be contracted from person to person through prolonged kissing as well. Sometimes a person can have syphilis without even knowing it. While one of the symptoms includes open sores on or around the genitals and inside the mouth, these are often unrecognized as syphilis. When a person has syphilis they normally go through several stages that can lead to death if the condition is left untreated. These are the stages of syphilis.
The first stage of syphilis is known as primary syphilis. This stage begins shortly after being infected with this disease. It is in this stage that the first sores from the infection occur. The sores can develop in the genitals, inside the mouth or anywhere on the body that contact was made with another infected person.
The second stage, known as secondary syphilis, starts if the infected person is not treated -- even if the original sores from this disease heal and go away. During this stage, the person may notice a rash on the palms of his or her hands and on the soles of his or her feet. Those who are in this stage of syphilis also may suffer from a sore throat, frequent headaches, fever, aching joints, swollen lymph nodes and weight loss.
The symptoms of secondary syphilis go away on their own even if the person is not treated. However, the person is still infectious and can transmit the disease to others through sexual contact. Unfortunately, this stage is commonly misdiagnosed and some people do not receive the right treatment to cure the disease.
During the latent stage, the symptoms of syphilis are often hidden. While some of the symptoms of secondary syphilis may return, it is not uncommon for the person to have no symptoms at all. In fact, during this stage the infected person may not believe they are ill because they haven't had any symptoms for several years.
The final stage of syphilis is known as the tertiary stage. During this time, the infected person normally becomes very ill. This stage often does not occur until years (even decades) after the person has become infected. If treatment is not sought, this stage of syphilis may cause permanent damage.
The symptoms of tertiary stage syphilis can include mental illness, memory loss, blindness, deafness, neurological disorders, damage to soft tissues and bones, heart disease and even death.
However, syphilis is a type of sexually transmitted disease that can be cured. If you suspect you may have contracted it, it is important to be tested as soon as the first symptoms begin. The early stages can be easily treated with penicillin injections. Getting this treatment prevents having to go through the much more serious symptoms of the later stages. For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of syphilis, contact a gynecologist like Darin L Weyhrich.