Sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, continue to be a major health risk for any society. As a sexually active person, it is vital to be knowledgeable about different STIs, their symptoms, and modes of prevention.

Syphilis is one such STI. It is a highly infectious disease that spreads through sexual contact, and if left untreated, it can lead to severe health complications.

In this blog post, we will delve into the various aspects of Syphilis with a particular emphasis on Syphilis chancres. A chancre ( SHANG-kər) is a painless genital ulcer usually found at the site of infection by the syphilis bacteria.

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum and is usually transmitted through sexual activity like vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, and sharing sex toys. It’s also possible to contract the infection by sharing needles during intravenous drug use or by receiving a blood transfusion.  

What are the symptoms of Syphilis?

The symptoms of Syphilis can vary depending on the stage of the disease.

The primary stage usually starts with the appearance of a sore known as a chancre. After some time, the chancre usually heals on its own. However, this does not mean that Syphilis has been cleared from the body. Instead, the bacteria will continue to spread and continue to cause damage.

In the secondary stage, the body may develop a rash on the skin that is typically not itchy. You may also experience fever, headaches, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.

In the tertiary stage, the bacteria may have caused severe damage to the internal organs like the brain, nerves, eyes, blood vessels, liver, and bones, which can lead to health complications or even death.

What does a Syphilitic chancre look like?

If you’re concerned about a Syphilis infection, it is important to know what a Syphilitic chancre looks like. It is one of the few symptoms that distinguishes Syphilis from other infections.

A Syphilitic chancre stands out from other genital sores due to its specific characteristics. It is usually a painless sore with a firm border. The chancre usually appears as a round, flat lesion that does not bleed when touched. In some cases, multiple chancres may develop.

If a chancre appears, it will likely do so between 10 to 90 days after the initial infection. It will last around three to six weeks before going away on its own.

Where are the chancres located?

Syphilis chancres can occur in different parts of the body. They tend to appear at the original site of infection, such as the vagina, penis, rectum, anus, or mouth.  

How to prevent catching Syphilis

The most effective way to prevent becoming infected with Syphilis is to practice abstinence.

If this isn’t possible, the next best way is to practice safe sex. This means using condoms during intercourse, limiting your sexual partners, and getting tested regularly. It is equally important to get your partner tested before engaging in sexual activity.


Syphilis is a highly infectious STI that can have severely negative impacts on your health. To avoid the worst aspects of the infection, it’s best to know the signs and symptoms so you can get tested and treated as soon as possible.

Better2Know’s STI testing services can help identify any STI that may be in your system. If you suspect that you’ve been exposed to an STI, call the number above to speak to one of our Sexual Health Advisors. They will be able to help you find a test and clinic that’s right for you.

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