Syphilis has four stages. A person infected with it may not show symptoms at the initial stage and will most likely not feel or think he or she is sick. He or she will only realize that something is wrong when the visible and noticeable signs pop up.
The initial or first stage of syphilis kicks in about fourteen days after a person contracts the disease. It will last for a few days to as long as three months. The first symptoms are usually a small, painless sore known as a chancre.
Syphilis chancres can appear on any part of the body, but they are most common in the nether regions — penis, vagina, scrotum, anus, or the mouth. They are not painful and will disappear after a couple weeks. Its disappearance, of course, does not mean that the infection is cured. The bacteria are still there. So, you should do something about them right away.
The second stage of syphilis is very contagious. It is when the bacterium starts to spread to other parts of the body. The signs and symptoms usually include appetite loss, hair loss, losing weight, skin rash problems, inflammation of the lymph nodes, severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, and fever.
The syphilis latent stage does not have noticeable signs and symptoms. At this point, you have to really get tested for syphilis so that treatment can be administered.
The worst stage of syphilis is called the tertiary stage. At this point, you are in danger of damaged internal organs and systems. The disease can cause serious harm to your nervous tissues, heart, skin, arteries, liver, and bones. If syphilis is still not diagnosed and treated, a person may end up with paralysis, mental difficulties, blindness, heart malfunction, deafness, and even death.