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What Are The Symptoms of Syphils?

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Updated May 21, 2014

Close-up of a young woman holding her head with a young man lying behind her
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Question: What Are The Symptoms of Syphils?

Answer:

Unlike many STDs, which are often asyptomatic, most people who are infected with syphilis do have symptoms. However, depending on where those symptoms are located, they may not notice them. That's because, at least in its early stages, syphilis is painless. In later stages of the disease, symptoms become more severe and infection can even lead to death.

Syphilis symptoms depend on the stage of your infection

Primary syphilis is the first stage of syphilis infection. Its symptoms include:

  • one or more chancres that appear at the site where the syphilis bacteria enters the body. These chancres:

If untreated, primary syphilis will eventually lead to secondary syphilis.

Secondary Syphilis occurs in individuals who have gone untreated during the early stages of their syphilis infection. Its symptoms include:

  • skin rash
    • frequently on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
    • usually consists of rough, red and brown spots
    • this rash can occur in other colors and places
  • genital ulcers
  • flu-like symptoms

Symptoms of secondary syphilis will resolve on their own, but if untreated, patients will eventually develop tertiary syphilis.

Tertiary Syphilis occurs in people who have passed through secondary syphilis without treatment. It can take many years to develop, but symptoms include:

  • difficulty making muscles move correctly
  • paralysis
  • numbness
  • gradual blindness
  • dementia

Tertiary syphilis can eventually lead to death.

Next: Learn how syphilis can endanger a fetus or newborn

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