Gummata are growths of pink, fleshy tissue that contain
syphilis bacteria. They may appear as nodules or
ulcers or become masses that are like tumors. Gummata are rare. When they do occur, they
range from 1 mm to 1 cm in size. Common sites of gummata include the:
- Skin, where they cause
shallow open sores that heal slowly.
- Mucous membranes. These gummas may become cancerous.
- Bones, where they cause destruction of bones and pain that is
especially severe at night.
- Eyes, resulting
in visual impairment that may lead to blindness.
- Respiratory system, where they cause hoarseness, breathing
problems, and wheezing.
- Gastrointestinal system, where they cause stomach pain, inability to eat large meals,
belching, and weight loss.
Antibiotic treatment cures the syphilis infection and
stops the development of gummata. But the scar tissue that forms after
successful treatment will probably not go away.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Devika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
September 29, 2011
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