Stages of Syphilis: Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For
The bacterium T. pallidum (Treponema pallidum), which causes syphilis, enters the body through direct contact with an infected person’s open sores or body fluids.
The bacterium goes through microscopic skin cracks and mucus members wrapped around the penis, vagina, mouth and anus.
Signs of the disease may be so mild, the infected person hardly notices them. They can resemble pimples or rashes.
Symptoms may appear and disappear. But that doesn’t mean the infection is gone. Medication is the only solution.
Here are the symptoms per stage of infection. They can vary with each stage, and do not follow a set pattern. Symptoms do not occur in the same order per patient.
A syphilis sore (or chancre) appears where the infection went through. The sores are often firm, round, and painless, at times open and wet. The sores may come singly or in clusters.
They appear on the vulva, vagina, anus, penis and scrotum. In rare cases, they show up on the lips or mouth. Sores may also lie hidden in the vagina, rectum, under the foreskin and other body parts you have to look hard for in order to find.
Sores usually appear between three weeks and three months after infection. They go away after three to six weeks, with or without treatment.
But that doesn’t mean the syphilis is gone. An infected person has to take antibiotics to prevent the infection from worsening.
Symptoms appear 3-12 weeks after the first episode of chancre and come in the form of rashes on your palms, the soles of your feet, and other places. You might have a hard time finding the syphilis rash, because it does not feel itchy.