Bald patches and hair loss can be lesser-known symptoms of seriously nasty STI

Having an STI or an STD is far more common than many people realise.

Luckily, many of these diseases can be easily treated, with symptoms decrease over time with medication.

Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore the danger signs, which can have dangerous health consequences over time.

One lesser-known early warning sign for those who have contracted an STD is sudden hair loss as a result of their infection.

Syphilis has become widespread worldwide with a resurgence of new cases in the last decade.

Experiencing hair loss or bald patches could be a sign of syphilis that you should not ignore.

What is syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection which, if not treated, could cause serious and potentially life-threatening problems.

"The symptoms of syphilis are often mild and hard to notice,” says the NHS.

“If you have symptoms of syphilis, a doctor or nurse will check your penis, vagina or bottom for syphilis sores.”

The condition is treated with antibiotics, which may come in injection, tablet or capsule form.

Why does hair loss happen with syphilis?

Syphilis is cause by the bacteria treponema pallidum and leads to the appearance of painless sores around the area of infection.

This is usually in the groin, the rectum or mouth.

If the symptoms are spotted early, early diagnosis and treatment can take place usually with antibiotics.

However, if the symptoms are ignored then the infection can develop into secondary syphilis, which is likely to then cause hair loss.

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While infections such as HIV, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and herpes have treatments that often cause temporary hair loss due to STDs, syphilis is capable of causing hair loss as a direct symptom.

This normally occurs during the secondary stage of syphilis and can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin.

One study looked at the case of a 51-year-old Caucasian man who presented with a three-month history of scalp hair shedding.

The patient had previously been treated with topical steroids and 5% minoxidil lotion with no hair improvement.

When doctors did a physical examination, it was revealed he had alopecia and hair loss.

It was later determined he had syphilitic alopecia, which presented symptoms such as decreased hair density, yellow circles, broken and zigzag hairs.

Other signs of syphilis

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  • Body rashes
  • Mild fever
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains

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