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Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Trepona pallidum. Most signs and symptoms of syphilis do not differ much with other diseases and it has been coined as “the great imitator” because it is often mistaken for another disease, so testing is essential.

Syphilis Signs and Symptoms

Syphilis has four different phases — primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary.

Primary Syphilis Signs and Symptoms

This starts with a sore on the skin. This includes skin on the rectum, genitals, or mouth. The characteristics of sore skin with areas that are round, firm, and not tender to the touch.

Secondary Syphilis Signs and Symptoms

The disease moves into the secondary phase of syphilis from the primary stage. This usually can occur several weeks after the sore heals. Headache, loss of appetite, achiness, and rash are common symptoms. There also occurs a reddish-brown rash. Sores in the nose, mouth, throat, genitals, or the folds of the skin are other symptoms of secondary syphilis.

Latent Syphilis Signs and Symptoms

Latent phase of syphilis comes out after the disappearance of the symptoms of secondary syphilis. This lasts from a few years to up to 50 years. Women who are pregnant can transmit syphilis to her unborn baby.

Tertiary Syphilis Signs and Symptoms

Tertiary syphilis will develop in a small percentage of those who are not treated. This affects many organs. Painful, non-healing skin ulcers, liver disease, bone pain, fever, and anemia are common symptoms. Heart disease and loss of proper functioning of the mental faculties are the result of tertiary syphilis.

Syphilis Treatment

Antibiotic and a single injection of penicillin can cure the syphilis during the early stages. Damage as a result of syphilis cannot be repaired. Individuals who are undergoing treatment should not have any sexual activity to avoid transmission of the disease to the partner.


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