What Are The Symptoms Of A Syphilis Infection?
Syphilis is divided into four stages and each stage has a different set of symptoms and signs. The four stages of syphilis are primary, secondary, latent and teriary.
Primary Stage- This stage is characterized by open sypilis sores on the genitals, vagina, rectum or mouth. The original infection site will have the sore (or multiple sores) which will most often be small, hard and painless. Sores will heal themselves within 6 weeks but treatment is necessary to remove the infection. Treating syphilis during its first stage is crucial to eliminating te infection before it can do serious damage to internal organs.
Secondary Stage- During the secondary stage an infected individual might experience swelling of the lymph nodes, rashes on the body, or fever and flu symptoms. These rashes and sores don't necessarily have to be at the original site of infection but could instead appear on the hands, legs and arms. Rashes will not itch and can often remain unseen.
Latent Stage- The latent stage is a period of asympomatic calm. This stage can last up to multiple years and officially begins a year after the last secondary stage symptom.
Tertiary Stage- The last stage of syphilis is rarely encountered because it takes 20-30 of infection time to enter. In this stage of syphilis vital organs in the body can be damaged such as the kidneys, liver, brain and central nervous system. Tertiary stage syphilis can be fatal.
How Do I Know If I Have Syphilis?
If you notice any of the primary or secondary stage symptoms such as open sores on or around the genitals, you may have a syphilis infection.
Syphilis is easily tested for with a standard STD panel, or it can be performed on a one off basis.
How Quickly Do Syphilis Signs Show?
Syphilis signs and symptoms can widely vary on a case by case basis. Generally speaking, syphilis symptoms will show up 3 weeks after the initial time of infection but it could be anywere from a single week to three months.
Symptoms As It Spreads
Syphilis quickly moves through the body from the point of infection and can infect the nervous system causing damage and a wide array of averse symptoms:
- migraine or head ache
- changed behavior patterns
- loss of muscle coordination
- sensory deficits
Syphilis can travel into the eyes by way of the bloodstream, causing damage to a number of components within the eye and eventually, blindness. Patients with ocular syphilis may complain of a variety of issues from blurry vision to sharp pain in the eyes.