At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Syphilis sores are smallish, round sores a person may develop when he has a sexually transmitted disease (STD) called syphilis. These sores develop in the earliest stage of syphilis, usually before a person is even aware that he is infected. In many cases, however, syphilis sores develop between seven days and three months after infection. They usually form wherever the bacteria that causes the STD entered the body. As such, both the mouth and the genitals are frequently affected since they may both be involved in sexual contact.
When a person has syphilis sores, their presence means he has been infected with an STD called syphilis. This STD is caused by bacteria and can cause severe health effects. In fact, syphilis that reaches a late stage may prove damaging to the brain, heart, bones, eyes, joints, and nervous system. A person with untreated syphilis could go blind or deaf; he could even die. Since syphilis can cause so much serious damage, a person with the condition is typically advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible; this usually means as soon as a syphilis sore appears or after having known contact with a person infected with the STD.
Syphilis sores often appear where bacteria that causes syphilis enters the body. They are usually painless and seen on the vagina, penis, or anus. Syphilis sores may also develop in or on a person’s mouth, however. Often, these sores develop a week or so after the person has been infected with syphilis; in some cases, however, they take up to three months to form. Since the sores are usually painless, an individual may not notice them until he’s had them for a significant period of time.
If an individual does not go to a doctor after developing syphilis sores, the sores will likely disappear on their own. This may lead an infected person to believe that there is nothing wrong with him, as the sore has disappeared. Unfortunately, a disappearing syphilis sore is not a sign that the STD has gone away or been cured. If a person does not receive treatment, the STD usually moves on to the second stage of syphilis, typically involving a rash that may or may not itch.
Syphilis sores are the primary route of transmission for the bacteria that causes syphilis. In most cases, a person contracts syphilis through contact with another person’s syphilis sores. It is possible, however, to contract syphilis through a blood transfusion, and it also can be passed from a mother to her infant.