What are the Symptoms of Syphilis?
When talking about the signs you would likely see if you have this disease, the state of its development determines them. Most experts agree that there are three stages of symptoms, while some sources add a fourth. These are:
- Primary stage
- Secondary stage
- Latent stage
- Tertiary stage
Also known as early-stage, refers to a period of about 10 days to three months, or an average of three weeks, from the time of first exposure. Chancre, or painless sore, often appears on the point of contact, such as the penis or vulva. It can also show up on the anus, rectum or around the mouth.
These non-itchy ulcers may heal in as little as two weeks and a maximum of six weeks, even without any treatment. But, if you failed to treat it, the infection enters the next stage.
There are numerous symptoms you may notice when syphilis progresses to this stage, which is about four to 10 weeks after the initial infection to six months after exposure. These signs have to do with the skin, lymph nodes, and mucous membranes in most cases.
Among the possible symptoms are rosy, non-itchy rash on the palms or soles of the feet, white patches inside the mouth, and lesions that look like warts on mucous membranes. Swollen lymph glands, sore throat, weight loss, fever, and hair loss are some other likely signs.
As in the case of the primary stage, secondary stage symptoms will also resolve even without any treatment. This typically happens in about three to six weeks after when you first saw the signs.
You may think of this as the “quiet” stage. Untreated syphilis is still present in the body, but there is no clear sign that it is. It is only by testing that you will know of the infection.
The latent stage can go on for many months or even years.
Tertiary or Late-Stage
You could find yourself in this stage about three years after the primary infection. It might also take decades before syphilis gets to this point. Significant damage to the body system could have taken place by this time, and this is not reversible.
Dementia, blindness, tumors, and paralysis are among pointers to tertiary syphilis.