Venereal diseases are in the first place in prevalence. These diseases affect mainly the reproductive part of the population. However, not all diseases are equally known. What is syphilis, many patients will find out only when confronted with it.
What is syphilis and how is it transmitted?
The disease syphilis refers to systemic venereal diseases of a chronic nature. Pathology has an infectious origin - it is caused by pathogens. When the development of the disease affects the skin, mucous membranes, internal organs, the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. The disease is characterized by a prolonged course with periods of exacerbation and remission.
The main way of transmission of infection is sexual. Infection of more than 90% of patients occurs with unprotected intercourse. In this case, the patients themselves learn about the disease only after a while - the disease has an incubation period . Its duration is due to the state of the immune system, the presence of other chronic infectious and inflammatory processes in the body.
Syphilis is a causative agent
To understand what is syphilis, you need to consider the cause of the disease. The causative agent of the disease is pale treponema. This microorganism refers to spirochetes. Inside the human body, it can exist for a long time. As the multiplication, increase in the concentration of the pathogen appears and a characteristic clinical picture. The pathogen quickly affects the internal organs, the spread in most cases begins with the mucous membranes. With the current of the lymph pathogen penetrates the respiratory, excretory, supporting system of the body.
Pale treponema does not tolerate drying, high temperatures. They quickly die by boiling. However, the microorganism is resistant to low temperatures and freezing. It was found that treponema showed activity for a year after freezing and storage at a temperature of -780 degrees. After entering the body, the pathogen does not form a stable immune response. This explains the possibility of repeated infection with treponema, the recurrence of syphilis.
How is syphilis transmitted?
As noted above, syphilis is transmitted predominantly through sexual intercourse. During unprotected contact, the pathogen from the mucous membranes of the affected partner penetrates into the genital tract of the healthy. The use of condoms as a remedy reduces the risk of the disease, but does not exclude it. There are other ways of transmission of this sexual infection, among which:
- blood transfusion - transfusion of the carrier's blood to a healthy patient;
- vertical path - from the infected mother to the child during childbirth;
- with saliva;
- through personal hygiene (rarely);
- through household items (extremely rare).
When there was a syphilis infection, most patients find it difficult to answer. This is due to the presence of an incubation period. After getting into the body treponema for a long time may not let know about yourself. According to observations of venereologists, this period can last 2-4 weeks. At this time the pathogen actively spreads through the body through the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
At the end of the incubation period, a hard, painless formation forms in the body at the site of the pathogen introduction, the ulcer - hard chancre - the first manifestation of syphilis. From this moment, the period of primary syphilis begins. After 10 days, treponema from the ulcer, as described above, penetrates into the nearest lymph nodes. As a result, the inflammatory process develops, and on the patient's body appears a pain from the ulcer in the lymph node. A hard chancre (ulcer), an inflamed lymph node, a lymph from the lymph vessels last for 6-7 weeks (duration of the primary period).
All periods of syphilis are characterized by their clinical picture. So, the distinctive feature of the secondary form is the appearance of syphilitic rash . Hard chancre disappears after 1-2 weeks from the moment of its appearance. A characteristic feature of the rash is its prevalence throughout the body. In this case, the nature of the elements of the rashes may be different: spots, abscesses, nodules.
These elements do not disappear even under the action of anti-inflammatory local remedies (ointments, creams). The period of rashes with syphilis lasts up to 2 months. For a while, the rash may disappear, but then reappear. Telling what is secondary syphilis, doctors pay attention to the duration of this period. It can last 2-4 years, depending on the effectiveness of treatment.
If many know what syphilis is, not everyone has heard about the latent form of the disease. This variant of the development of syphilitic infection is characterized by a complete lack of a clinical picture. Sexual syphilis in this case is detected only during laboratory diagnostics. A blood test for syphilis shows the presence of traces of the pathogen. In this case, the diagnosis is based on:
- data of anamnesis;
- results of specific reactions to syphilis (RIBT, RPR test).
It is difficult to say unequivocally what syphilis looks like, what its manifestations are: the disease can change or not give symptoms at all. In addition, signs of syphilis appear several weeks after infection. However, many patients do not pay much attention to them. Most learn about the presence of the disease in the formation of a solid chancre, which appears after the development of the primary form of infection.
At carrying out of laboratory researches already at early stages changes in the formula of a blood (growth of leucocytes, depression of a hemoglobin) can be observed. These phenomena are of a general nature, and it is impossible to identify syphilis from them. By the end of the primary period, patients complain about:
- weakness and malaise;
- pain in muscles and joints;
- increase in body temperature to 38 degrees.
The first signs of syphilis
When syphilis develops, chancre is one of the first symptoms of infection. This formation is a sore of small diameter. It is formed directly at the site of the introduction of treponem into the body: in women - in the labia or on the cervix, in men - in the region of the glans penis. Formation can hurt, but often does not cause painful sensations. At the base of the chancre there is a solid infiltrate, so it has received such a name. Among other early manifestations of syphilis can be identified:
- Indurative edema is the formation of the labia or foreskin. In most cases it has a cyanotic or pinkish tinge.
- Amygladalite - defeat of the syphilis of the tonsils by the carrier of treponema. Occurs as a result of oral sex. Pain during swallowing, high body temperature, weakness, severe headache are observed.
Stages of syphilis
Depending on how syphilis manifests, what symptoms are observed, doctors can identify the stage of the disease:
- The first stage (primary syphilis) - begins with infection, includes the incubation period when the symptoms are absent. The duration of this stage is up to 7 weeks. Characterized by the formation of chancre, described above, enlarged lymph nodes.
- The second stage (secondary syphilis) is characterized by eruptions throughout the body, which periodically disappear and reappear.
- The third stage - develops a few years after infection in the absence of proper therapy, referral to a doctor. Recently, tertiary syphilis has become more prevalent because of the latent flow.
What is dangerous for syphilis?
If the syphilis is not treated for a long time, the consequences of the disease can adversely affect your health. The list of possible complications is great, and it is not always possible to establish exactly what became the consequence of the presence of treponema in the human body. Among the most common consequences of the disease:
- narrowing of the foreskin;
- disorders of the motor apparatus;
- CNS lesions - neurosyphilis;
- damage to the brain;
Syphilis - diagnosis
Having understood what syphilis is, how it manifests itself, it is necessary to find out in what way it is possible to diagnose the disease. It is difficult to detect pathology independently - often the disease proceeds in a latent form, is detected with an accidental preventive examination. The basis of the diagnosis is the laboratory methods. Improvement of existing techniques makes it possible to identify the presence of an agent in the body in the absence of external manifestations. Blood serves as a material for the study. The analysis for syphilis can be carried out by one of the methods:
- RW ( Wasserman test );
- RIF (enzyme immunoassay);
- reactions of passive agglutination;
Syphilis - treatment
Treatment of syphilis is carried out in a hospital. The course of therapy is selected individually and is determined by the stage of the disease, the presence of concomitant pathologies, the patient's condition. The basis of treatment is antibacterial drugs. Pale treponema is sensitive to antibiotics of the penicillin series. However, these drugs have increased allergenicity. As substitutes can be used:
- macrolides (Azithromycin, Erythromycin);
- tetracyclines (Doxycycline, Tetracycline);
- fluoroquinolones (Levofloxacin, Sparfloxacin).
In the complex treatment of syphilis, other groups of drugs are often used:
- immunostimulants (Immunal, Immunomax);
- anti-inflammatory (naproxen, surgam);
- vitamins (B6, B12, ascorbic acid).
Is it possible to cure syphilis?
This question is often asked by those placentas in whom syphilis after treatment has developed anew. As noted above, immunity to this pathogen in the human body is not produced, as a result, sometime after the end of the course of treatment, the symptoms of syphilis may appear again. However, timely begun therapy, full compliance with medical prescriptions and recommendations from the patient are a guarantee of full recovery. Statistics on how syphilis is treated are shown in the table below.
Syphilis - drugs
In each case, how to treat syphilis - determines the venereologist. Therapy is completely dependent on the form, stage of the disease. In this case, the effect of treatment depends largely on the correct selection of the therapy regimen. There are several generally accepted schemes that guide physicians in the treatment of syphilis. The main international standards for the treatment of this venereal disease, indicating the medicines and dosages are given in the table below.
Syphilis - prevention
Prevention of venereal infections is aimed at eliminating the transmission of the disease.
To prevent household syphilis, you need:
- Use separate utensils (carefully process them after eating).
- Use personal hygiene products.
- Avoid sexual contact, kissing with a sick person.
In the case when the sexual intercourse with the patient has occurred, it is necessary:
- Treate the external sex organs with a solution of Chlorhexidine.
- After 2-3 weeks pass a control examination for syphilis.