Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis

This is a sexually transmitted disease that affects the genital and spreads to other parts of the body organs. There are no apparent signs of this disease as it manifests in stages. Usually, one can have the bacteria for many months or even years before noticing anything. This aspect of discreetness is what makes syphilis spread widely. In essence, the clinical signs depend on which stage one is in the disease. Notably, there are four stages.

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  • Primary stage
  • Secondary stage
  • Latent (hidden) stage
  • Tertiary (late) stage

Primary Stage

The symptoms of syphilis can incubate in your body for up to 3 months after exposure. In the initial stages, you can develop some discomfort in your lymph nodes. In most cases, the swelling of the lymph nodes does not last for long. Eventually, it disappears. Visibly, you will notice some painless sores on your skin or the entry spot of the bacteria. If the sore develops inside your genitals, you may never notice any anomalies. About half of the people under exposure to the bacteria develop the chancre or sore during this stage.

Secondary Stage

It may take weeks or months for the secondary signs to come out after the initial sores. It is not a must that you have the signs right away. Some start noticing the manifestations after years. Nevertheless, you will still infect others when you do practice safe sex. Some of the symptoms include

  • Reddish-brown sores after skin rashes
  • Ulcer sores in your mouth, genitals, and anus
  • Swelling of your lymph glands
  • Fever and headaches
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Weight loss

These symptoms may disappear and come back later. But it is rare for people to proceed from this stage. Most signs trigger a visit to the doctor.

Latent Stage

This is the stage where the bacteria become passive in your body. You may never develop any signs for years, yet still harboring the disease. Similarly, you may continue transmitting the bacteria to unsuspecting partners.

Tertiary Stage

When the symptoms reappear at this stage, most of the body organs are suffering from the bacteria. This can be way after even a decade. Though there are several signs of this stage, the main categories are

  • Gummatous syphilis
  • Neuro syphilis
  • Cardiovascular syphilis

The combination of the three can manifest symptoms including

  • Brain damage
  • Stroke
  • Inflammation of the spinal nerves
  • Deafness
  • Dementia
  • Heart diseases
  • Damage of the blood vessels
  • Personality changes

Read More: Syphilis symptoms

Read More: Syphilis Overview

Signs in Children

Sometimes the mother may pass the bacteria to her infant during delivery. When that happens, the baby may develop these signs

  • Groin rashes
  • Bone disfiguring
  • Swelling of glands
  • Brain dysfunction
  • Painless sores on the feet and hands

In children, syphilis is fatal. Since their immunity is still developing, the bacteria thrive in the body, causing damage quickly. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5809176/

http://www.health.gov.za/index.php/131-diseases/286-syphilis

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