Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by a type of bacterium called Treponema pallidum that lives in the penile or vaginal secretions of an infected person and infects others through small cuts or abrasions in the genital area, or through the mucous membranes of the vagina. It can also be transmitted by infected blood.

Anywhere from 10 days to six weeks after exposure to the bacterium, you develop mild symptoms-usually a single painless sore on the genitals or rectum and enlarged lymph nodes the groin. This is called the first stage. The sore usually heals in three to twelve weeks. As the bacteria enters the bloodstream and spreads through the body, the second stage appears. This is characterized by a rash on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet and perhaps on the torso and limbs, mouth sores, and fever. Less common symptoms include intermittent headaches, aching bones and joints, and/or eye inflammation. If an infected individual is not treated, the disease can progress to a third or latent stage. During this stage the heart and nervous system may become damaged.

Syphilis had become relatively uncommon until recently, when it has begun to make a comeback. Rates among drug users are especially high.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Painless sores or ulcers on genitalia and/or rectum
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the groin

In later stages, the following signs and symptoms may be present:

  • Rash on palms of hands and soles of feet
  • Rash on limbs or torso
  • Mouth sores
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Soreness and aching in the bones and joints
  • Patchy hair loss

Conventional Medical Treatment

If caught early, syphilis can be completely cured, so if you notice symptoms, it is important to see your physician, gynecologist, or urologist. To diagnose the condition, your doctor will perform a physical exam and a blood test to detect the presence of the causative bacteria. Treatment involves antibiotic therapy, usually penicillin. Follow-up blood tests are required at regular intervals for at least one year, to ensure that all bacteria have been killed.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Nutrition and Supplementation

A whole-foods diet rich in plant foods and free of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can assist healing. In addition, nutri recommend the following daily supple tionists ments:

Most Important

  • a prodophilus formula (as directed on label)-restores friendly bacteria; important when taking antibiotics
  • garlic (as directed on label)-stimulates the immune system and acts as a natural antibiotic
  • free-form amino acid complex (as directed on label)-repairs tissue
  • vitamin C (750 to 2500 mg 4 times daily)-boosts immune function
  • zinc (100 mg; do not exceed this amount) promotes healing; important for the health of the reproductive organs
  • thymus and liver live cell therapy support (as directed on label)

Also Important

  • colloidal silver (as directed on label)-rapidly reduces inflammation and promotes healing of lesions
  • kelp (1000 to 1500 mg)-supplies balanced vitamins and minerals
  • vitamin B complex (50 mg 3 times daily)-necessary in cellular enzyme system functions
  • coenzyme (30 to 60 mg)- a potent free radical scavenger
  • vitamin K (100 mcg)-gets destroyed by antibiotics; necessary for blood clotting (Consult your healthcare provider regarding the duration of treatment.)

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture After a diagnosis has been made by your healthcare provider, acupuncture may be helpful in improving immune function and reducing stress, both of which can hasten healing and prevent recurrences.

Acupressure As with acupuncture, this modality may be effective in enhancing the patient's well-being and boosting the immune system, which can be effective in the treatment and prevention of STDs.

Chinese Herbal Therapy Chinese herbs can be quite helpful in treating a variety of Sexually transmitted diseases, but you should always be diagnosed and treated by a conventional practitioner before using any alternative therapies. (Some STDs only can be cured with conventional antibiotics, and serious complications can arise if they are not treated properly.)

That said, there are a variety of herbs that may be beneficial in conjunction with conventional treatment, depending upon the STD and the patient's specific symptoms. Formulas with Astragalus, Japanese wax privet, and ginseng, for instance, are often used as supplemental therapy in cases of AIDS (as is Ginseng and Atractylodes Formula).

Dianthus Formula may be suggested for the treatment of gonorrhea. Sandalwood has been used to treat several types of venereal disease. Bupleurum, angelica, and cordyceps may be used to bolster the immune system.

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