What are the signs and symptoms of genital herpes?

The prototypical symptoms of genital herpes are fairly non-specific and can range from quite mild to painful.

What does herpes feel like?

For a typical infection, common symptoms include grouped blisters or ulcers around the genitals that can become painful, as well as itching and burning or tingling sensations in the surrounding affected skin. These classic ulcers resemble small pimples or blisters that crust over and scab like a small abrasion. It may take 14 days to 28 days for the sores to completely heal.

The early stage of herpes

Prior to the first stage of herpes, some people experience a prodrome or a burning sensation in the area where the blisters soon develop. The herpes virus is active during this time and can be transmitted to others. Another symptom can be a burning sensation during urination. With the initial infection, some people also experience fever, flu-like symptoms, headaches, body aches or swollen lymph nodes, especially near the groin.

A person may display symptoms within a few days after contracting genital herpes, or it may remain dormant in their system, not appearing for weeks, months, or even years. This can make it difficult for people realize when and from whom they contracted the virus, or even recognize their symptoms as a herpes infection.

Some people don’t know that they have herpes

While some people experience the symptoms and recognize that they have become infected with genital herpes, because the symptoms can be quite mild or non-existent, many people do not realize that they are infected. Also, because the symptoms as so similar to flu symptoms, sometimes people misdiagnose themselves thinking they had the flu. The CDC estimates that one in five adults in the U. S. carries the genital herpes virus, but as many as ninety percent of those people are unaware that they have contracted the virus.

The frequency and duration of an outbreak of genital herpes can also vary greatly from person to person. Statistics from the CDC indicate that the average number of outbreaks of genital HSV-2 herpes is four to five episodes per year; whereas the average for genital HSV-1 herpes is less than once per year. Commonly people experience more outbreaks during the first year after becoming infected and then find that outbreaks tend to lessen in severity and frequency over time.

What exactly triggers a genital herpes outbreak also varies greatly from person to person. It could be anything from being sick, a poor diet, emotional or physical stress, chafing of the genital area, surgical trauma, steroidal medication, or even prolonged exposure to UV light. Over time people learn what triggers outbreaks in their own body and can take steps to manage or minimize outbreaks.

There is no known cure for genital herpes, however, antiviral medications and natural remedies can be used to soothe and reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Genital Herpes Symptoms in Women

The herpes blisters may appear in women on the:

  • Anus
  • Vulva (the external genital parts, which include the clitoris and the vaginal lips)
  • Thighs
  • Vagina

Genital Herpes Symptoms in Men

The herpes blisters usually appear in men on the:

  • Thighs
  • Anus
  • Penis
  • Scrotum
  • Buttocks

Both genders may experience difficult and excruciating urination. Some individuals may likewise have pain during defecation.

The Signs and Symptoms of Cold Sores:

Symptoms are things felt by a patient, which he or she reports, while signs are things other people, such as the nurses or doctors may identify. For instance, pain may be referred to as a symptom, while a rash may be referred to as a sign.

Many herpes infected individuals do not observe any symptoms and will never even know they have contracted herpes until they start experiencing a cold sores outbreak. If they experience symptoms with a primary or basic infection, they might be serious.

What are the signs and symptoms of the primary infection?

A primary infection is known as the initial outbreak of an ailment against which the body has had no chance to develop antibodies.

In most cases, there are usually no detectable symptoms or signs. When they eventually occur, more often in little children, they tend to be very severe, and they can include:

  • Nausea
  • Blisters in the mouth
  • Lip swelling
  • Dehydration (the body does not have sufficient water)
  • Ulcers on the mouth
  • Lesions on the mouth or tongue
  • Sore throat
  • Possible dysphagia
  • Headaches
  • Elevated body temperature

The herpes simplex gingivostomatitis may stay up to 7 to 14 days. These sores can even take as long as 21 days to become healed. After the primary infection has occurred, a typical mouth blister outbreak may recur, while the gingivostomatitis will not repeat itself. Moreover, adults are likely to have gingivostomatitis, but most of the infected patients are young children.

Furthermore, adults who have primary infection often get pharyngotonsillitis – which leads to the swelling of the tonsils, and the patients will experience glandular fever-like symptoms and also a sore throat. The glands might also swell. A large number of patients will also experience halitosis as well as painful sores around their lips. Once in a while, these sores become ulcers with grayish-yellowish centers.

The persons who were infected in their childhood may have intermittent episodes of cold sores later in their lives. However, symptoms and signs are mostly restricted to only those of the cold sores after the primary infection has occurred.