Early signs of syphilis in women include one or more small, painless ulcer-like sores on the genitals or around the mouth, according to WebMD. The sores appear anywhere between 10 and 90 days after exposure, most commonly around 21 days.
The second stage of syphilis occurs within six weeks to six months after infection, WebMD explains. Most patients notice a copper-colored rash primarily on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Patients may also have rashes that appear like those caused by other conditions. Other symptoms of second-stage syphilis are warts in the groin area, white patches inside the mouth, swollen lymph glands, weight loss and fever.
Both the first and second stages of syphilis go away even if the patient doesn't receive treatment, WebMD states. However, the disease can be dormant for years before the third stage occurs, which causes severe heart and brain problems that lead to blindness, paralysis and even death.
It is important that women be tested if they suspect they may have been exposed to syphilis, and they must be treated before they become pregnant, WebMD reports. Mothers infected with syphilis often have stillborn babies or infants that die shortly after birth. Babies who survive can be infected with syphilis as well, which can cause seizures, developmental delays and death.