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Syphilis and Gonorrhoea

Syphilis and Gonorrhoea are both sexually transmitted diseases and are also known as venereal diseases.

Syphilis is caused by a bacterium called treponema pallidum which is capable of infecting any organ or tissue in the body. Its transmission occurs most frequently through sexual contact with sexual organs or secretions. It can be caught from blood from infected persons and can be transferred across the placenta from mother to foetus after the fourth month of pregnancy producing congenital syphilis.

There are three stages of syphilis: The first or primary stage, the secondary and then the final or tertiary stage.

Primary Syphilis is characterised by the appearance of a chancre which is a hard painless ulcer developing at the site of infection usually on or close to the sex organs but also on the fingers and lips. It appears 9 to 90 days after the first contact, with an average of 3 to 4 weeks. The lymph glands draining the area of infection, which is usually the genital area, become enlarged and tender. The primary chancre which is highly infectious completely heals without treatment in 2 to 6 weeks, normally a scar.

If secondary bacterial infection occurs, the chancre will become painful and will heal with a scar. Your doctor can diagnose syphilis at this stage and treatment will result in a complete cure.

If untreated, secondary syphilis an develop within 6 weeks to 6 months after catching the original infection. The secondary stage of syphilis is very infectious. It is characterised by the appearance of a sore throat, a generalised skin rash which is not itchy and varies in its appearance and can include the soles of the feet and the palms of the hand.

Headaches, swollen lymph glands, elongated rather than round ulcers in the mouth, the tongue and mucous membrane of the anus can occur. At this stage, spread can also be to the meninges of the brain, the liver, the kidneys, the joints and bones. The eyes can be affected and also there can be some temporary involvement of the heart.

Your doctor can diagnose and treat the secondary stage of syphilis which is also completely curable.

The third or tertiary stage of syphilis can develop many years later although in between there may be indications of relapsing syphilis with symptoms and signs of the signs of the secondary stage.

A latent or hidden stage of syphilis can develop with no obvious clinical manifestations following on the relapsing stage which can last 3 to 5 years after the initial infection. Syphilis can be diagnosed and successfully treated during this latent period. The latent period may last from months to a life time. Many years later, the third or tertiary stage of syphilis can appear.

This stage is characterised by the appearance of gummas which is a rubbery sort of lump. They may involve any organ in the body including the eyes but are more frequently seen on the skin or in long bones. The heart and blood vessels and the basis can be affected by a more insidious third stage which is often fatal if untreated. General paralysis due to degeneration of the spinal cord, blindness, massive haemorrhage from an aneurysm in a blood vessel can all be part of this third stage of syphilis.

The diagnosis of syphilis can be made in the third stage. Treatment is not always successful and death can occur.

In the case of pregnancy, intense treatment of the mother can prevent congenital syphilis in the new born baby in more than 90% of cases

- Ageing - AIDS
- Anorgasmia - Barrier Methods of Contraception
- Frigidity - Genital Herpes
- Impotence - Loss of Libido
- Masturbation - Miscarriage
- Post Natal Depression - Pregnancy
- Premature Ejaculation - Retarded Ejaculation
- Sex and Disability - Sexual Activity during and after Pregnancy
- Smoking and Pregnancy - Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
- Syphilis and Gonorrhoea - Termination (Abortion)
- The I.U.D. (or Intra Uterine Device) - The Pill (Oral Contraceptive Pill or OCP)
- The Rhythm Method of Birth Control
or Natural Family Planning
- Tubal Ligation
- Vasectomy - What is Normal??

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