Syphilis | Stages, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

3- Tumors of the skin, bones or liver

Late syphilis often features tumors and growths in various parts of the skin, deep in internal organs as in the liver, and the bones as well. They are granulomatous lesions, not painful but visible in imaging tests and often difficult to diagnose when they are located in internal organs and there is no other leading sign or symptom to suspect syphilis. In some cases, these lesions may be surrounded with a local destruction of the tissue, and if you take samples and examine them under the microscope you will be able to see spiraled bacteria called spirochetes that correspond to T. pallidum.

You don’t need to experience all of these signs and symptoms at the same time to suspect syphilis. Two or three of them are enough for a strong suspicion, especially if you’ve had more than one sexual partner for the last months. If this is the case, request an appointment with the health care provider as soon as possible. Be especially careful if you:

  1. have had intimate contact with a person who is now diagnosed with syphilis or any other sexually-transmitted disease,
  2. have been involved in high-risk sexual practices, such as having multiple sexual partners, unknown sexual partners or,
  3. have been using intravenous drugs.

Syphilis can be easily cured with medication if treated early. But without treatment it may lead to serious problems such as brain damage, paralysis, and permanent blindness. The highest risk population are sexually-active young adults, with ages ranging from 20 to 35 years. That is why it is so important to perform STD tests: the sooner you know you have syphilis, the sooner you can get rid of it.