What is Syphilis?

by Dr. Rachael

by Dr. Rachael

Table of Contents

Syphilis is one of the worst STDs if left untreated, so pay attention!  Always look before you let anyone’s vagina, penis, mouth, or butt hole, come any where near you!!!!  With syphilis you will be looking for a sore on the vagina, penis, mouth or anus.  Condoms will not completely protect you from syphilis, but it will lower your chances of getting it.


Syphilis is a spiral shaped bacteria that causes a very serious sexually transmitted disease.  Syphilis can be cured, but if left untreated, it can cause serious damage to the heart, brain, and can even lead to blindness.

Syphilis enters the body through cuts and scrapes in the skin or through the membranes during sex.  It passes from person to person through the ulcers that it causes in the skin.  These ulcers usually occur on the vagina, butt hole, penis and surrounding areas, and sometimes on the lips & the mouth.

Again, if you are having sex, always look at your partner’s genitals/parts before you touch them or let them close to you, because you never know what might be there.


Usually within the first 10 days after exposure to syphilis, a painless sore will appear on the genital area.  There are three stages of disease.  The painless sore is the Primary or first stage of infection.

This sore is called a chancre and may either be on the vagina, penis, butt hole, or mouth.  The sore will last for about 3 weeks and will go away as if it were never there.


If primary syphilis is not treated, it will progress to the Secondary stage of the disease.  This is usually 1 week to 6 months after the non-painful sore has appeared.

At this point a reddish-brown rash will appear all over your body.  The rash does not hurt or itch, but it will be on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.  During this time symptoms may include, but are not limited to, headache, fever, fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches, hair and weight loss.  These symptoms will eventually go away, and are often forgotten.

The symptoms of the secondary infection may go away, but syphilis will not go away until treated with the proper medication.  It will lie resting in your body for years.


Syphilis will lie resting in the body for years before the tertiary stage of the disease.  The third stage can take place anywhere from one year to a decade (ten years) after the first symptom of a painless sore.

In the third stage, syphilis spreads to the joints causing arthritis, it breaks down the nerves, the heart, the eyes, the bones, and the liver.  If you go this long without being treated, you are in trouble.

All of this can be avoided if you see your doctor at the first sign that something is not right.  Pay attention to your body and what or who you allow in contact with it.

Article by

Rachael L. Ross
MD, PhDAs a family doctor and a sexologist.

Dr. Rachael Ross has been heralded as “The next Dr. Ruth, the nationally renowned sexual therapist who pioneered frank sex talk.” Chicago Tribune. Dr. Rachael earned her M.D. from Meharry Medical College and her Ph.D. from the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists, along with a B.A. from Vanderbilt University, where she studied anthropology.

Scroll to Top