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How Syphilis Kills You Slowly But Surely

19 July 2017 Health News


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can have very serious complications when left untreated for a long time according to Dr. Princewill Nwajiobi, a Clinical Biologist at the National hospital Abuja.

He said syphilis is a great mimicker and it’s not easily detected, which is why a lot of people have syphilis without knowing.

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Syphilis, though a sexually transmitted disease can be transmitted from a mother to a child and can also be gotten through blood transfusion.

Syphilis presents itself in three stages.

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Tertiary stage.

Primary Stage : – One of the notable symptoms at the primary stage is a swollen at the genital area of the man or the woman.  When you have unprotected sex with an affected person, it takes three weeks on the average before the primary symptoms begin to manifest. 

For those who practice oral sex, the swollen may appear on the mouth and for those who practice anal sex, it may appear in the rectum. The swollen lasts for a while and eventually breaks into a sore which may last for weeks. Unfortunately, most affected persons often overlook it at the primary stage because the sore is usually not painful and some mistake it for fever blisters.

When syphilis is not treated at the primary stage, treponema pallidum (the organism that causes syphilis) moves to the secondary stage where it begins to affect other parts of the body like the kidney, the liver and the lungs, presenting different symptoms.

Secondary stage: – At this stage, some people may develop rashes on the skin, some may come down with hepatitis, body pains, frequent urination and many other symptoms depending on the area that is affected.

The secondary symptoms begins to manifest after a year when you have had the primary symptoms and then disappear after sometime even if not treated, the patient feels normal but not free from syphilis.

After the secondary stage the patient may not see any symptom of syphilis for a long time, some could be as long as 10-years before it begins to manifest again when it has moved from the secondary to the tertiary level.

Tertiary Stage: – The tertiary stage is the most dangerous stage,  at this point the syphilis targets three major organs in the body, the brain, the heart and the spinal cord (The central nervous system) and when it begins to affect the central nervous system, the liver, the kidney and the lungs are also at risk and it becomes a threat to life.

According to Dr. Nwajiobi, syphilis can be passed to another person at any stage, whether at the primary, secondary or tertiary stage, when engaged in unprotected sex.

He advised that when you notice any of the symptoms, you should seek medical care, adding that using condom is the best way of preventing syphilis.

The expert also mentioned that when you  engaged in unprotected sex, you should try and get screened for sexually transmitted diseases.


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