Early symptoms of syphilis


The early symptoms of syphilis occur during the primary stage of this bacterial sexually transmitted infection. The main symptom during this stage is a chancre; a small, firm, round sore that appears about three weeks following exposure at the spot where the bacteria entered the body. Some people develop multiple sores, but most fail to notice chancres because they only develop one  – which may be painless, concealed within the vagina or rectum, and have healed by itself in about three to six weeks. Without treatment, the condition eventually goes into a latent stage characterized by an absence of symptoms. However, there is always the possibility that the infection will return even years later for far more noisome latter stages.

Chancres may appear in the following places:

·         Penis.

·         Vulva.

·         Vagina.

·         Cervix.

·         Tongue.

·         Lips.

·         Mouth.

·         Breasts.

·         Anus.

 Syphilis is transmitted by coming into direct contact with an infected person – especially during the early stages where syphilitics are especially contagious and the fluid that oozes from the chancres is highly infectious. This contact usually takes place during vaginal, anal, or oral sex, and very rarely during kissing.

Several factors can increase the risk of contracting syphilis, such as:

·         Having unprotected sex.

·         Having multiple sexual partners.

·         Same sex intercourse among men.

·         Other infections like HIV.

On the other hand, you can’t catch syphilis from sharing a toilet, bathtub, clothing, or eating utensils, nor can it be contracted from doorknobs, swimming pools, or hot tubs. However, a pregnant mother can pass the infection on to her unborn child; an occurrence known as congenital syphilis.

The complications of congenital syphilis for the infant include:

·         Birth defects

-        Heart, brain, and bone damage.

-        Blindness.

-        Deformity.

·         Premature birth.

·         Stillbirth.

·         Death of newborn.

·         Developmental delays.

·         Seizures.

·         Rash.

·         Fever.

·         Swollen liver and spleen.

·         Anemia. 

·         Jaundice.

Other, general complications of syphilis are:

·         Gummas

Small bumps or tumors on the skin, bones, liver, and other organs.

·         Neurological issues

Stroke, meningitis, deafness, visual problems, dementia.

·         Cardiovascular issues

Aneurysm and inflammation of the aorta, damage to the heart valves.

·         HIV

Adults with genital ulcers such as syphilis are 2-5 times more likely to contract HIV.


Fortunately, the early stages of syphilis can be easily treated with a single shot of penicillin, or another antibiotic – likely an oral one – if the patient is allergic to penicillin. The more advanced the infection the more complicated the treatment. Damaged caused by later stages of syphilis is not reversible, but once the infection has been successfully treated it won’t come back – that is, unless you re-infect yourself all over again by having contact with someone’s chancre.

A doctor can diagnose this disease with a simple blood test. The problem is that infected individuals often do not even suspect they are so. Indeed, the early symptoms of syphilis are rather difficult to detect – and that applies to infants as well –, not only for the reasons given above but also the fact that this infection can mimic the symptoms of many other different conditions. For instance, the chancre can be mistaken for an ingrown hair, a zipper cut, or an otherwise inoffensive bump. This stealthiness is what makes prevention of syphilis so important.

Prevent getting syphilis

Prevent transmitting syphilis

·         Abstinence from vaginal, oral, and anal sexual relations.

·         Monogamy.

·         Avoidance of judgment-impairing recreational drugs which can lead to unhealthy sexual choices.


·         Inform sexual partners of infection.

·         Refrain from sex until treatment is completed.

·         Make sure partners are tested and/or treated before resuming sexual congress.

·         Use latex or female condoms.

·         Use condoms, dental dams, or a piece of plastic wrap for oral sex.

You can be confidentially tested for syphilis at local clinics, health departments, private healthcare centers, and Planned Parenthood health centers. Healthcare officials advise that all pregnant women be tested for syphilis, due to the severe adverse effects that this infection can have on the foetus.