Syphilis Symptoms in Men

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is unique in that it develops in three or four separate stages, each of which has its own symptoms. It is always best for syphilis to be diagnosed in the earlier stages, however, since if left untreated, it can progress into serious or even permanent complications. Syphilis symptoms in men are often different than those found in women.

In the first stage, known as the primary stage, of syphilis infection in men, a chancre will develop. Chancres are simply painless sores at the site where the infection occurred. Most men will develop a chancre within three weeks after contracting the disease, though chancres sometimes do not develop for up to three months. With or without a chancre present though, an infected person is very contagious and can easily spread the disease to others.

Males will typically develop a chancre on or around the penis. Other symptoms, which can occur in both men and women include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • The formation of other chancres

Bear in mind that the chancre can and often does heal on its own. Just because the chancre goes away, however, does not mean that the syphilis infection does. Without treatment, the disease is, without a doubt, still present and progressing.

The Secondary Stage

If the disease is allowed to progress into the secondary stage, syphilis symptoms in men typically include a body rash. The rash can be anywhere on the body but is often most noticeable on the hands and feet. Characteristics of a secondary stage syphilis rash typically include:

  • Red or brown skin sores
  • Open sores
  • Sores that contain pus

This rash will typically heal on its own within a few weeks. However, even if the rash goes away, this does not indicate that a person is “cured” of syphilis. The only way to treat syphilis is with medical attention. Furthermore, even when the rash goes away, the infected person can still spread syphilis to others.

The Latent and Tertiary Stages

The latent stage is when syphilis can do the most damage. At this stage, it is progressing throughout and virtually infecting the entire body. If syphilis has been left untreated up to this point, immediate treatment is necessary to avoid permanent damage to the body. Symptoms that may occur in men during this stage include:

  • Throat pan
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Hair loss
  • Swollen glands
  • Neck pain
  • Changes in the size and/or appearance of the pupils
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Paralysis

Most people who contract syphilis will never experience the final stage, known as the tertiary stage. It is not necessarily too late to treat a person who has entered this stage though permanent damage has typically already been done. Some of the symptoms that may indicate a person has entered the tertiary stage include:

  • Blood vessel problems
  • Heart problems
  • Mental or neurological problems
  • Death
  • Changes in vision or blindness
  • Large sores inside or outside of the body

You should make every effort to avoid contracting syphilis in the first place. But, if you do make a poor or risky decision that could lead to syphilis, such as engaging in unprotected sexual activity, remember that early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to getting your life back.