Syphilis, as a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum which is one of the commonest sexually transmitted infections in the world today with numerous infected people entering the records of the World Health Organization (WHO) every year. Syphilis has 4 stages which are:

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Latent
  • Tertiary

At the early/primary stage of syphilis, a genital ulcer is formed which is known as the syphilis chancre; the ulcer is a wound caused by the infection, the ulcer (also called the sore) occurs about 3 weeks after contact with the infection. It is through the syphilis chancre that transmission of the infection occurs when direct contact is made with the infected area during sexual intercourse; the possibility of this is because the chancre contains a numerous quantity of the bacterium (Treponema pallidum).

Most times, the chancre is confused with chancroid because of some similarities that exist between them; however, some basic differences also exist which can help distinguish the chancre from chancroid.

Similarities Existing Between Chancroid and Chancre

  • Both chancre and chancroid develop after the invasion of sexually transmitted micro-organisms.
  • Both chancre and chancroid occur in the genitals
  • Both chancre and chancroid are relatively small in diameter, about 2 cm

Differences between Chancre and Chancroid

  • The chancre is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum while chancroid is caused by the bacterium Haemophilus decree
  • More pain is experienced in chancroid while there are no pains associated with chancre.
  • Chancroid only heals with treatments, unlike chancre that will heal eventually even without treatment.
  • Chancroid exhibits multiple spots while the chancre exhibit single spots.
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Prevention of Syphilis Chancre

To prevent syphilis chancre, the following has to be considered and practiced:

  • Avoid unprotected sex. Engage in safe sex practice by making use of condoms.
  • Be faithful to one partner who is free from the syphilis infection.
  • Do not share sex toys with anybody. Sex toys can serve as a convenient way for transmission of the infection also.
  • Both you and your partner should visit a clinic for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) test before exploring the sexual world together.
  • Do not share sharp objects because the bacterium can be transmitted via infected needles.
  • You should also present yourself to the doctor if you already have syphilis infection and you are pregnant.

Visible Symptoms of Syphilis Chancre

There are two basic signs to watch out for as far as syphilis chancre is concerned, they are:

  • The lymph nodes in the affected area will be swollen. Lymph nodes are present in specific areas of the body e.g. armpit, groin, under the chin etc., the lymph nodes are responsible for draining lymph fluid (containing lymphocytes) in certain areas of the body
  • There will be a painless sore around the affected area, sometimes in the rectum, skin or genitals and even mouth. It is important to understand that this sore will, by itself, heal after about 3 weeks, beginning from the 3rd week of contact with the infection.

Note: syphilis may present a different symptom in those people with HIV. Ask your physician about the signs to expect if you have HIV because the signs and symptoms of syphilis will be different from those without HIV.

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Treatment of Syphilis Chancre

It is indeed a very soothing relief to know that syphilis chancre can be cured. The very best method is the use of antibiotics injection (penicillin). Penicillin appears to be the most effective drug against Treponema pallidum which is the bacterium that causes syphilis chancre.

Some other drugs which can be used for syphilis chancre are:

  • Azithromycin
  • Doxycyclin
  • Ceftriaxone

Mode of Transmission of Syphilis Chancre

Syphilis chancre can be transmitted by the following ways:

  • By flesh to flesh contact with the syphilis chancre.
  • The infection can also be transmitted via anal sex, vaginal sex, and oral sex.
  • Sharing sharp objects with infected people
  • Sharing sex toys with infected people.

It is imperative to note that syphilis chancre is the primitive stage of the infection when sores are seen around the affected area. At this stage, treatment of the infection can be effective with the right drug (penicillin). If you exhibit any of the above-listed symptoms of syphilis chancre, it will be necessary to present yourself to your physician for further diagnosis and treatment before it gets to other stages which might be deteriorating. Inasmuch as syphilis chancre presents a painless sore, it has a horrible sight that might not be pleasant to you or others, so the best thing to do is to get treated as soon as possible.