Symptoms of Syphilis

There are four stages in the spread of syphilis. It is very important to be vigilant to spot the signs and symptoms of syphilis early on or else it can lead to a lot of irreversible damage. Sores and rashes on genitals are the primary indication of syphilis. The four stages are primary, secondary, latent and tertiary.

  • The primary stage is when you would notice a sore at the site of infection. This lesion is called a chancre. This sore is extremely infectious so anyone touching it likely to get infected. This lesion develops about 4 weeks after it actually being infected. If ignored, the sore eventually disappears but bear in mind that the infection has not gone away.
  • The next stage is the secondary stage. Symptoms of this stage develop between week 4 and week 10 after getting infected. At this stage the infection could look like many other similar infections. Therefore an accurate diagnosis is very important. In the secondary phase, you might notice symptoms like fever, muscles aches and joint pain, sore throat, a rash all over the body, hair loss, flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. Serious symptoms include kidney disease, hepatitis, arthritis, and intestinal keratitis.
  • The third stage and perhaps the most dangerous is the latent or the dormant stage. This is about 1 to 2 years after getting infected. You might not show symptoms of syphilis but are likely to transfer the infection through the blood or womb.
  • Tertiary syphilis can occur up to 15 years after getting infected. This is not a stage when the person is infectious. Tertiary syphilis can result in different types of syphilis like neurosyphylis, cardiovascual syphilis and gummatous syphilis. Without treatment, these conditions can become full blown diseases.

There is even congenital syphilis which occurs from mother to child. Symptoms of this condition develop in the first few years of the baby’s life. Congenital syphilis can cause complications like enlargement of kidney, spleen or even liver, brain infections, fever, jaundice and low blood counts. For the mother, it could also lead to miscarriage, a stillborn or the baby’s death soon after birth. Untreated babies can also develop brain impediments, face seizures or even die.

For adults, treatment with a correct diagnosis is very important. It should be sought in the primary or the secondary stage itself. Appearance of sores, rashes or symptoms out of the ordinary should tell you to seek medical counsel.