It is important to note that symptoms of Syphilis can be easy to ignore, as they are often mild and disappear after a while.
There are four stages of Syphilis infection and signs and symptoms are different for each of the stages (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary).
A firm, painless, non-itchy skin ulcer (chancre) is often found in the primary stage – most commonly two-three weeks after being in contact with the infection. These usually appear where the infection has entered the body, which means that although they are commonly found in the genital area, they can also appear on the mouth, throat, fingers or buttocks. These can take several weeks to heal, during which time they are extremely infectious. The infection spreads to other parts of the body within the first six weeks and becomes Secondary Syphilis.
- The most common symptom is a rash which frequently involves the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. This is usually not itchy.
- Flu like illness (glands swollen, tired)
- White patches on the roof of the mouth
- Patchy hair loss
Untreated secondary syphilis will then become Latent Syphilis
Latent Syphilis usually presents with no symptoms – this stage can last for many years if untreated and eventually becomes Tertiary Syphilis
Many organs may be affected by syphilis symptoms can include:
- Painful, non-healing skin ulcers
- Bone pain
- Liver disease
- Loss of mental functioning
- Heart disease