Symptoms of syphilis in men vary as this sexually transmitted bacterial infection progresses through four distinct stages. Contracted through unprotected sex with an infected person, syphilis will at first present distinct symptoms which may then turn dormant, never to resurface again. Patients who receive treatment during the first two stages of the disease can be cured, although a cure will not protect them from becoming re-infected if exposed to the syphilis bacteria again. The final stage of syphilis, though devastating, is experienced by the smallest ratio of patients. Here is a look at the symptoms of syphilis in men for each stage of the disease.
Primary Syphilis. Symptoms of the first stage in syphilis may appear ten days after the initial infection or up to three months later. Men infected with syphilis will notice a small sore, called a chancre (pronounced “shang-ker”), developing on their tongue or lips, or over genital areas like the rectum or genitals. It is there that bacteria entered the body, infecting the person with syphilis. Typically only one chancre will appear, although symptoms of syphilis in men may include multiple sores. In addition, the lymph nodes in the groin will become enlarged.
Secondary Syphilis. Symptoms of secondary syphilis in men may occur two to ten weeks after the appearance of the chancre and may include skin rash, fever, fatigue and a sense of malaise, as well as body aches, swollen lymph glands, sore throat and warty sores in the genital area and the mouth. These symptoms of syphilis in men will appear and disappear for up to a period of one year.
Latent Syphilis. Syphilis in men who are not treated at the secondary stage will devolve into the latent stage of the disease in which no symptoms appear at all. Even so, the carrier of syphilis remains contagious and will infect others if practicing unprotected sex. Symptoms of syphilis in men may never recur at this stage or may remain dormant for years before the patient progress to the final stage of syphilis.
Late Syphilis. Only about a third of patients infected with syphilis who receive no treatment for the disease will progress to its final stage. Symptoms of syphilis in men may then include damage to the brain, eyes, heart and nerves, as well as blood vessels, liver, bones and joints. Such symptoms may appear many years after the initial infection with syphilis. Symptoms of syphilis in men during the final stage of the disease may include lack of coordination or jerky motions even up to complete paralysis. Numbness often accompanies such symptoms as well as gradual blindness and dementia.