Topic Overview

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 and may be up to 0.5 in. (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.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kevin C. Kiley, MD – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 20, 2017