Everyone knows about sexually transmitted diseases. Each of these diseases is dangerous in its own way, but there are pathologies that threaten serious health complications and even death. One of them is syphilis ( Lewis ) – an infectious disease, the lack of treatment reduces the life of the patient by half.
And although the disease is equally often diagnosed in both sexes, syphilis in women has more severe consequences, especially for future offspring.
Features of the disease
A few years after the virus enters the body, dysfunctions are already observed in the cardiovascular, digestive systems, respiratory organs, liver, and kidneys. The fibers of the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system suffer.
If the signs of syphilis in women at this stage did not force her to see a doctor, the disease will go into the third, terminal stage, when the bacteria will infect the brain and spinal cord, lead to the death of vital organs, appearance defects, mental and mental degradation.
Syphilis is transmitted in three ways:
- with unprotected sexual contact with a carrier of the virus (bacteria are transmitted instantly and they immediately begin to actively multiply);
- when sharing household items with an infected person;
- during childbirth, from an infected mother to the fetus or still in the womb (treponema easily crosses the placental barrier).
Lewis is divided into several stages. After the penetration of a pathogenic microorganism into the body, the incubation period begins. At this time, the treponema actively multiplies, increasing its colony, for which it takes from two to six weeks.
IMPORTANT! The incubation period directly depends on the strength of the girl’s immune system: if the natural defense is weak, the first signs may appear in a week, and with strong immune armor – after 3-4 months.
Incubation may be prolonged by the patient taking antibiotic drugs against another disease, if the timing of such therapy and infection coincided.
This will negatively affect the course of the disease, since it can go into a latent form, and its first manifestations will occur already at a secondary, more severe stage. The danger of this stage is that a girl can easily infect her partner with a severe virus that she does not even know about.
Manifestations of syphilis: the primary stage
The first symptoms of syphilis in women occur at the end of the incubation period. A striking sign of primary Lewis is a syphilitic ulcer, which is a hard chancre that resolves after a few weeks even if untreated. Usually, the first chancres appear directly at the site of infection.
If the infection occurred during intimacy (vaginal or anal), the woman may not notice the presence of ulcers on the genitals or in the anus, since they do not cause pain or discomfort. When infected by household means or with oral caresses, ulcers can affect the mouth, but such a manifestation of the disease can be attributed to herpes.
The next external sign of primary syphilis is skin rashes, similar to allergic urticaria, but not manifested by itching and flaking.
1-2 weeks after the formation of an ulcer, the lymph nodes located next to it begin to increase. It is the lymph nodes that become the “home” for treponema pale: in them it actively multiplies for several months, and then penetrates into the bloodstream.
Signs of secondary syphilis
The spread of bacteria throughout the body gradually leads to an increase in all lymph nodes, which is characteristic of secondary syphilis. It shows up:
- temperature rise to 38 degrees;
- frequent headaches;
- aching joints, muscle pain.
How does syphilis appear in women in the secondary stage? This period is characterized by a chronic course of the disease: a change of exacerbations and remissions. Vivid symptoms occur 4-10 weeks after the formation of the first sore, that is, after 2-3 months of penetration of the bacterium into the body. Rashes (syphilides) during this period look different: they can be roseola, papules, pustules, etc. Hair loss begins: focal or general, diffuse.
A serious consequence of the lack of treatment in the early stages of the disease is the development of tertiary syphilis. Chancres at this stage affect the deep layers of the skin and mucous membranes, have a dense abscess in the middle, and after healing form charms and deep scars. At this stage, all vital organs have already been destroyed by the microorganism, so they begin to work incorrectly, manifesting themselves with severe, specific symptoms.
Syphilides that affect the mucous membranes of internal organs do not heal, but gradually lead to the death of all the cells from which they are lined. The patient literally “rots alive”, and soon becomes disabled or dies.
The most dangerous symptoms of syphilis in women are the formation of syphilitic gums and pathology of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx. The former are specific tumors with purulent, highly infectious contents. The latter can manifest as through destruction of the palate and nasal bone, as a result of which the nose falls into the cranium.
What does syphilis look like in women? These are various rashes, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss, fever, weakness. But all these signs of the disease are also characteristic of many other, less dangerous pathologies, so the diagnosis of Lewis is difficult even for experienced infectious disease specialists or venereologists.
Lewis ‘ influence on the reproductive system
Another indirect sign of Lewis is the failure of the menstrual cycle. Such a violation is not a confirmation of the preliminary diagnosis, but it cannot be ignored. The incubation and primary periods usually do not affect menstrual bleeding, but with the onset of the secondary stage, severe pain in the perineum or lower abdomen, discomfort, burning and itching during discharge are possible.
IMPORTANT! Painful menstrual flow with syphilis in women is considered a sign of the sexual route of infection with the pathogen.
When microorganisms reach the uterine cavity, fallopian tubes and ovaries, they provoke the development of syphilis on their mucous membranes, as a result of which menstrual irregularities begin: it increases or decreases, bleeding becomes scanty or heavy.
Syphilis on the genitals of a woman manifests itself in the form of specific ulcerative formations: deep and painless. Along with menstrual bleeding, the activation of the virus also occurs, so when taking clinical tests during this period, treponema can be detected. But after menstruation, the Wasserman reaction (the main laboratory test) can again become negative.
Effect of syphilis on pregnancy
Medical statistics studying the course of pregnancy in women suffering from Lewis is very deplorable:
- every fifth patient gives birth to a child before the due date or encounters self- abortion in the first months of pregnancy;
- 40% of babies born to an infected mother have congenital malformations: pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, mental disorders, dysfunction of the nervous system, respiratory organs, liver, kidneys;
- intrauterine fetal death is about 20%;
- one in five women gives birth to a healthy baby, but he is not immune from the manifestations of syphilis in the future.
It is easier to identify severe pathology in expectant mothers than in ordinary women. Pregnant women regularly undergo medical examinations, so you can determine the disease in the first months of pregnancy. Detection of the virus at a later date is possible if the infection occurred immediately before conception, and the virus went through the incubation stage.
If the diagnosis gave positive results at an early stage, the girl will be asked to terminate the pregnancy and undergo treatment. The second and third trimesters allow the use of certain potent drugs that slow down the activity of the pathogen and protect the fetus. To reduce the risk of infection of the child, the lady will be shown a caesarean section.
Carrying out medical therapy does not have the most favorable effect on the condition of the baby, but the risk of developing serious malformations is minimal.
Refusal of treatment entails serious consequences. If treponema was present in the mother’s body before conception, sooner or later it will cross the placenta, and the baby will be born with congenital syphilis. Even if there are no symptoms of the disease at birth, there remains a risk of developing syphilis in infancy or early childhood (up to a year, from one to four).
If the tests of the pregnant woman determine the third stage of the disease, the leading obstetrician-gynecologist will insist on an abortion, regardless of the gestational age.
Pathological changes in the mother’s body at this stage completely exclude the possibility of giving birth to a healthy baby.
Characteristics of household Lewis
Treponema pale lives very little in open space, but sometimes this period is enough to infect ladies in a domestic way. The most common transmission of the bacterium occurs through toiletries, bedding and dishes, as the bacterium prefers a moist environment where it can live a little longer.
It is able to persist in biological fluids: saliva, urine, semen, vaginal secretions. If these fluids get on the mucous membrane of the household, infection is inevitable. Infection is possible when liquids containing pathogenic microorganisms get into wounds and microdamages on the skin.
To combat treponema at home, high temperatures are used (boiling and ironing clothes), airing, wiping dishes dry, and using personal hygiene items.
Complications of pathology
Syphilis is characterized by destruction, that is, the gradual destruction of internal organs and vital systems of the body. If the treatment of the pathology is not carried out or is carried out incorrectly, the most severe consequence occurs – the death of the patient. Less harmless effects include:
- neurosyphilis – destruction of brain cells, nerve fibers and impaired visual function;
- destruction of bone and cartilage tissue, that is, limitation or complete loss of mobility;
- meningitis – inflammation of the brain as a complication of neurosyphilis;
- complication of pregnancy and a high risk of infection of the unborn child.
It should be remembered that it is impossible to cure the disease at a late stage.
Immunity after recovery is also not developed, so the risk of re-infection remains. You can prevent infection only by taking precautions, taking care of your own health, avoiding casual unprotected sex, but there is no special vaccine against treponema
Treatment of pathology
Therapy for syphilis necessarily includes antibiotics. Most often it is penicillin and its derivatives, since it is to them that the virus has the least resistance.
Each stage of the disease has its own characteristics of therapy. Primary pathology is cured by one type of antibiotics, the average course of which is two weeks.
Secondary syphilis already requires a combination of several pharmaceuticals, and tertiary – complex and long-term therapy, usually aimed at relieving pain.
Self-medication or the use of traditional medicine methods for syphilis is prohibited. This can lead to aggravation of the state of health, a faster onset of the secondary or tertiary stage, the transition of the disease to a latent form.