Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

How Can You Tell If You Have Syphilis?

by Caitlin Obara

Although it's a serious condition, the earlier stages of syphilis can be cured with appropriate levels of antibiotics. However, once syphilis progresses to later stages, permanent damage to the nervous system and heart can occur. This is why it's important that you recognize the early symptoms of syphilis. The earlier that you're able to recognize the signs of syphilis, the easier it will be to treat your condition.

How can you tell if you have syphilis?

The ways that you can tell whether or not you have syphilis depends on which stage of the disease you're experiencing. 

  • Primary stage. In the beginning, the only sign of the illness will be a chancre on your body at the point of entry. This chancre is generally around the genitals, either on the penis if you're a man, or in or around the vagina if you're a woman. The chancre may not hurt and, for many people, may not even be noticeable. When the chancre heals, it may leave a scar, but the scar will be small. If you don't know the scary is there, then you're unlikely to notice it.
  • Secondary stage. During the second stage, you'll get a rash on the hands and feet of your body. The rash will consist of flat or raised sores. During this time, you might also feel achy, weak and sick, as if you have a cold or the flu. You'll have a low-grade fever and sore throat. You may also experience patchy hair loss, muscle spasms, headaches, irritability, neck stiffness and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Latent. Latent syphilis has no symptoms. Once you enter the latent stage, you'll have no way of recognizing whether or not you have syphilis, unless you happen to be diagnosed by a healthcare professional. This stage can last for many years.
  • Tertiary stage. At this stage, you could experience any one of a number of symptoms including large, slow-healing, open sores, dementia, paralysis, numbness, blindness, heart disease, deafness and stroke. These problems are significant enough that your syphilis will likely be diagnosed when you see your healthcare professional.

What should you do if you believe that you might have syphilis?

If you're showing symptoms of syphilis or have recently had sexual contact with someone infected with syphilis, it's absolutely critical that you seek diagnosis and proper treatment right away. Now is the time to seek free STD testing at your local clinic or from a trusted healthcare provider. Early diagnosis can enable you to get treatment. For more information, contact your physician today.