Syphilis is a disease that has four stages and each stage has its own characteristics. These stages are primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. Here we will explain what the manifestations of each of these stages are.
Primary stage of syphilis is characterized by the development of chancre on some part of the body. In men, chancre is usually located on the penis, while in women it occurs in vaginal area, outside or in the vaginal canal. When it develops inside of the vagina, it can be unnoticed. And during this stage, a person can very easily transfer the disease to another person. Chancre appears 10 to 90 days after the bacteria have entered the body and it can be present from four to six weeks. During this stage, lymph nodes that are close to the chancre can becomeswollen.
In the secondary stage, an infected person experiences a rash on different areas of the body. Areas that are usually affected by rash are palms and feet. This symptom can be even present in the mouth and seen as mucous patches. When in this stage, a person can easily spread syphilis. Skin rash will fade after two to twelve weeks without treatment. During this period, a disease will affect other parts of the body and a person may experience high body temperature, pain in the throat, fatigue, weight reduction and loss of hair. Nervous system can be affected by the disease and this can manifest through the headache, temper, change in the reflexes and pupils.
This stage is also known as a hidden stage, and it develops after the secondary stage if a person doesn't seek for medical treatment. This stage is characterized by the absence of symptoms and it can last from five to twenty years. It is very hard for a person to be accurately diagnosed when in this stage. It can only be done through blood testing, history of the person, and if a person gets a baby with congenital syphilis. At the beginning of this stage, an infected individual can spread the disease and during the whole latent period, it might happen that a person is contagious. In the latent stage, it can occur that the secondary stage symptoms appears again and this is appearing in about 30% of all infected people. This can happen more than once in the latent stage.
This stage is also called late stage and it includes very serious symptoms and complications. Some individuals may never experience this phase of syphilis. Here the disease can affect cardiovascular system or brain.