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Signs & Symptoms of Syphilis: From First to Last Stage

Signs & Symptoms of Syphilis: From First to Last Stage

Syphilis is a bacterial disease that spreads through sexual contact. If left untreated, it can progress through various stages and become serious. Here’s a glimpse of the various stages, signs and symptoms, and how they affect your body.

First stage

When it starts:

Between 10-90 days after getting the infection.

What happens:

You get open sores on your genital area, vagina, penis, or anus, or even the inside of the mouth. These are painless. This is one of the first signs and symptoms of syphilis, as per VA clinic. Swollen lymph nodes is another sign.

Duration of stage:

Sores heal on their own within 3-6 weeks. Then you feel fine.

You are highly contagious at this stage. It is crucial to undergo a test at this stage.

Second stage

When it starts:

Within 6 months of the healing of the sores.

What happens:

The bacterial infection spreads in the body. You feel weak and tired all the time, lose weight, and get sore throat, fever, hair loss, and swollen lymph nodes. Some people get rash on their palms and soles.

In case the bacteria spread to your nervous system, you may experience stiffness in the neck, headaches, reflex problems, loss of hearing, and paralysis. At this stage, signs of syphilis in men, as per VA clinic, are similar to that in women.

Duration of stage

Several weeks to months. Then the symptoms go away.

There is still time to undergo a test at your nearest VA clinic and start treatment. You are still contagious.

Third stage

When it starts:

After the second stage symptoms go away.

What happens:

Nothing happens at this stage. Doctors call it the “hidden stage.” People feel and look fine. So they think they are healthy; but the bacteria are still inside your body.

Duration of stage:

Some people relapse into the second stage after some time and develop the symptoms again. While some may stay in the hidden stage for the rest of their life. Others may progress to the last stage.

You are still contagious and can spread the infection. There is still time to undergo a test and start treatment. Even if it is the hidden stage, a blood test can detect the bacteria. Diagnosis is possible at this stage.

Last stage

When it starts:

After many years of entering the hidden stage. In some cases, people reach the last stage quickly, just in a year of getting the infection.

What happens:

Doctors call this as the “destructive stage,” as the bacteria can wreak havoc with your body. A lot can happen, such as:

• Neurosyphilis: Bacteria attack your spine, nerves, and brain.
• Cardiovascular syphilis: Bacteria attack your blood vessels and heart.
• Gummas: Deep sores develop on the scalp, on the skin, liver, lungs, or bone. The sores ‘eat away’ the skin or organ.

Duration of stage:

The last stage of syphilis is potentially fatal.

At this stage, too, it is possible to treat syphilis infection. But, alas, doctors cannot repair the damage already done by the bacteria to your body organs.

You are no longer contagious at this stage; but ironically, you are no longer healthy too.

Doctor’s advice:

According to doctors at the VA clinic, you must not let a curable disease such as syphilis reach such a destructive stage. Timely testing can save you. As soon as you notice the first signs and symptoms of syphilis, visit VA clinic and undergo a test. The clinic offers testing and treatment on the same day.

Syphilis can be cured completely. It would be a shame to let such a curable disease wreak havoc with your body and cause irreparable damage. Don’t let carelessness destroy your health; it can even be fatal.

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