What Is Syphilitic
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead
to meningitis if it’s left untreated. This is an infection of the layers of
tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord. Syphilitic meningitis is also
called syphilitic aseptic meningitis.
Syphilitic meningitis can be life-threatening, but it’s
preventable. Early diagnosis and treatment of syphilis can prevent this
complication. It takes years, or even decades, for untreated syphilis to cause
What Are the Symptoms of
Meningitis refers to any inflammation of the tissues that
surround the brain, which are called the meninges. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses
can all cause meningitis.
Syphilitic meningitis symptoms include:
- vision changes, such as blurring or loss or
- a fever
- a headache
- changes in mental status
- pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders
- unexplained fatigue
- sensitivity to light and noise
- muscle aches
- a disinterest in eating or drinking
Advanced syphilis also can cause:
In some cases, advanced syphilis can even cause death.
What Causes Syphilitic
The bacterium Treponema pallidum causes
syphilis. Many people have syphilis for years without noticeable symptoms.
Because of this, it’s often left untreated.
When syphilis is detected and treated promptly, complications
are rare. Even without treatment, not everyone with syphilis will develop
meningitis. It affects 8
to 40 percent of untreated patients. Furthermore, the neurologic
complications of syphilis usually don’t occur until years, or even decades,
after infection. A person might have syphilis for 10 to 20 years before
You’re at greater risk of having syphilitic meningitis if you
have another STI. This is because having an another STI suggests that you’ve
had unprotected sex. Unprotected sex is a major risk factor for syphilis. The
disease can be spread through oral sex as well as vaginal and anal intercourse.
It’s possible to transmit syphilis through nonsexual contact, but
this is rare.
Also, you should note that if you’ve had syphilis in the past,
you can get it again.
How Is Syphilitic
This condition is diagnosed with physical examinations and
Examples of tests for meningitis include:
Your doctor may also test for other conditions that can cause
similar symptoms like:
- Lyme disease
How Is Syphilitic
You’ll need to take antibiotics for several weeks if you’re
diagnosed with syphilitic meningitis.
Intravenous antibiotics will likely be used for 10 to 14 days.
After this, your doctor may recommend weekly penicillin shots for another three
If you’re allergic to penicillin, alternative antibiotics are
Curing the infection may not end your treatment. You may also
need to address the life-threatening symptoms caused by infection. These
- brain swelling
Surgery may be needed to drain fluid from your brain or sinus
Complications and Outlook
If it’s left untreated, syphilitic meningitis can quickly
progress and cause death. It can cause brain and heart damage that can lead to
stroke and seizures. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Death may occur only a few
days after the symptoms appear.
Some people recover fully from this condition. However, nerve
damage can be permanent. Syphilitic meningitis also puts you at greater risk
for other infections because it damages the immune system.
It may be a while before your doctor is certain whether any
effects are permanent. Until then, you may need help with daily activities.
Tips to Prevent Syphilitic
Syphilis primarily spreads through sexual contact. Consistently
using protection during sex can prevent infection. This includes using barriers
for oral sex.
If you’re sexually active, regular STI testing is important.
This aids in early syphilis diagnosis. A simple blood test can determine if you
have syphilis. If it’s detected early, it can be treated with one penicillin
injection. This will prevent the development of meningitis.
If you’re pregnant, you should be screened for syphilis. The
condition can increase the risk of stillbirth, and the infection can be passed
from you to your child.