SYPHILIS AND INFERTILITY (Part 1)
Infections that can be transmitted through contact and sexual activity are called sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than one million people contract an STI every day. If left untreated, STIs can cause serious health problems including cancer, liver disease, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), conception / pregnancy problems, and infertility. Some examples of these STIs include chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhea, herpes, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.
Today the focus is on syphilis and its impact on fertility.
WHAT IS SYPHILIS?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that was once a major threat to public health. This is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection that can be spread through sexual activity (including oral and anal sex) with an infected person without using a condom or latex barrier. Often the infected person does not know they have the disease and transmits it to their sexual partner.
CAUSES OF SYPHILIS
Syphilis is caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. It is spread through contact with the wound of an infected person during sexual activity. Bacteria enter the body through minor cuts in the skin or mucous membranes. Less commonly, syphilis can be spread through direct contact with an active lesion, such as during a kiss.
Syphilis cannot be spread using the same toilet, tub, clothes, or kitchen utensils, or from doorknobs, swimming pools, or hot tubs. Once cured, syphilis does not come back on its own. However, one can be re-infected if contact is made with a syphilis sore. Some of the consequences of syphilis on fertility are the possibility of mother-to-child transmission which can cause miscarriages and birth defects, male and female infertility, and increased risk of HIV infection. .
STAGES AND SYMPTMS OF SYPHILIS
Primary Syphilis: The first symptom of syphilis is the appearance of a painless sore (chancre). The sore appears where bacteria enter the body. An infected person can have one or more chancre sores that usually develop about three weeks after exposure. Many people with syphilis may not notice the chancre because it is usually painless and hidden. The chancre will heal on its own in three to six weeks.
Secondary syphilis: A few weeks after the wound has healed, you may start to experience a rash that begins on the trunk and eventually covers the entire body, including the palms and soles of the feet. This rash is usually not itchy and may be accompanied by wart-like sores in the mouth or genital area. Some people also suffer from hair loss, muscle pain, fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. These signs and symptoms may go away within a few weeks or come and go repeatedly for a year.
Latent syphilis: If left untreated, the disease goes from the secondary stage to the hidden (latent) stage, when it becomes asymptomatic. The latent stage can last for years. Signs and symptoms may never return, or the disease may progress to the tertiary stage.
Tertiary syphilis: Complications from untreated syphilis infection develop when syphilis is left untreated. These complications are known as tertiary syphilis. At this stage, the disease can damage the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. These problems can develop several years after the initial untreated infection.
Neurosyphilis: At any stage, syphilis can spread and cause damage to the brain, nervous system, and also to the eyes.
COMPLICATIONS OF SYPHILIS
Left untreated, syphilis can lead to damage throughout the body. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and can cause problems during pregnancy. Treatment can help prevent future damage but cannot repair or reverse damage that has already occurred.
Small lumps or tumors: In the advanced stage of syphilis, lumps (gums) may develop on the skin, bones, liver, or any other organ. The gums usually disappear after antibiotic treatment.
Neurological problems: Syphilis can cause a number of problems with the nervous system, including: headache, stroke, meningitis, hearing loss, visual problems (blindness), dementia, loss of pain and temperature sensations, dysfunction male sex and bladder incontinence.
Cardiovascular problems: These can include swelling and swelling of the aorta (the main artery of the body) and other blood vessels. Syphilis can also damage heart valves.
HIV infection: Adults with sexually transmitted syphilis or other genital ulcers have an increased risk of getting HIV. A syphilis sore can bleed easily, which allows HIV to easily enter the bloodstream during sexual activity.
Complications of pregnancy and childbirth: Syphilis can be passed to an unborn baby. Congenital syphilis is extremely dangerous for a newborn baby, with a significant risk of death if left untreated. It dramatically increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death in the days after birth. Getting tested for syphilis before getting pregnant or at the start of the first trimester is extremely important as symptoms are not always obvious ………………………………………… ..