Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. It infects the genital area, lips, mouth, or anus of both men and women. You usually get syphilis from sexual contact with someone who has it. It can also pass from mother to baby during pregnancy.

The early stage of syphilis usually causes a single, small, painless sore. Sometimes it causes swelling in nearby lymph nodes. If you do not treat it, syphilis usually causes a non-itchy skin rash, often on your hands and feet. Many people do not notice symptoms for years. Symptoms can go away and come back.

The sores caused by syphilis make it easier to get or give someone HIV during sex. If you are pregnant, syphilis can cause birth defects, or you could lose your baby. In rare cases, syphilis causes serious health problems and even death.

Syphilis is easy to cure with antibiotics if you catch it early. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading syphilis.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Symptoms of Syphilis

The following features are indicative of Syphilis:
  • chancre
  • rash
  • wart-like sores in the mouth or genital area
  • hair loss
  • muscle aches
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • damage to brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones and joints
  • deafness
  • teeth deformities
  • saddle nose
It is possible that Syphilis shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

Get TabletWise Pro

Thousands of Classes to Help You Become a Better You.

Common Causes of Syphilis

The following are the most common causes of Syphilis:
  • Treponema pallidum bacteria

Risk Factors for Syphilis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Syphilis:
  • unprotected sex
  • sex with multiple partners

Prevention of Syphilis

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Syphilis. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • abstain or be monogamous
  • use a latex condom
  • avoid recreational drugs

Occurrence of Syphilis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Syphilis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Syphilis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Syphilis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Syphilis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Syphilis:
  • Blood tests: To confirm the presence of antibodies that the body produces to fight infection
  • Cerebral spinal fluid test: To help diagnose syphilis

Doctor for Diagnosis of Syphilis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Syphilis:
  • Infectious disease specialist

Complications of Syphilis if untreated

Yes, Syphilis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Syphilis is left untreated:
  • increased risk of HIV infection
  • small bumps or tumors
  • stroke
  • meningitis
  • hearing loss
  • visual problems
  • dementia
  • loss of pain and temperature sensations
  • sexual dysfunction in men
  • bladder incontinence
  • sudden, lightning-like pains
  • cardiovascular problems
  • risk of miscarriage
  • stillbirth
  • newborn death within a few days after birth

Self-care for Syphilis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Syphilis:
  • Abstain or be monogamous: To help prevent the spread of syphilis
  • Use a latex condom: To reduce risk of contracting syphilis
  • Avoid recreational drugs: To help prevent the spread of syphilis

Is Syphilis Infectious?

Yes, Syphilis is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • sexual contact
  • mother to her baby during pregnancy or childbirth

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 10/10/2019.
This page provides information for Syphilis.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sign Up


Share with friends, get 20% off
Invite your friends to TabletWise learning marketplace. For each purchase they make, you get 20% off (upto $10) on your next purchase.