Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Many people who have genital herpes are unaware that they have the virus because they have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or mistake the symptoms for other conditions such as jock itch, yeast infections, razor burn or allergic reactions to detergents. The infection can be diagnosed by taking a swab from the sores or through blood tests. Those with symptoms may experience a tingling sensation or itching in the genital area within a few days of having sex with an infected person. A cluster of blisters may appear and burst, leaving painful sores often lasting two to three weeks. A fever, headache and muscular pain may occur during the first attack.
After the sores from the first attack heal, the virus goes into a dormant stage, but recurrent outbreaks can occur. Some people have only one or two recurrences in a lifetime, while others have them frequently. Recurrences are typically shorter in duration and less severe than the first episode. Stress, menstrual cycle, illness, fever, surgery, exposure to sun, having sex, pregnancy, and the use of some medications can play a role in the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Herpes can continue to be transmitted to others, even between recurrences when the infected person has no symptoms.
Womenâs symptoms can include:
- tender lumps in the groin
Menâs symptoms can include:
Donât Miss: Can You Get Herpes On Your Chin
The Biggest Herpes Support Group Online
PositiveSingles.com offers social opportunities and help to more people than any other herpes support group in the world from the convenience of an online herpes dating site. Of course, simply browsing through the member profiles can bring you in contact with other people who understand exactly what you are going through. However, all of the other unique features work together to deliver everything from in-depth information to professional advice to bonding opportunities with others undergoing treatment and finding success in love.
Here are just some of the ways that the genital herpes support group works:
Member Blogs Start your own blog or read other peopleâs stories to make connections and share your feelings and thoughts with people who go through the same things. This type of support offers a safe and comfortable way to learn more and explore your concerns and triumphs as you navigate dating and everyday life with herpes.
Treatment Stories Connect with others who share their experiences to help you navigate the new reality of living with herpes. These provide a sense of camaraderie that can make the entire living, dating, and thriving experience that much easier.
Live Dating Advisor Get support directly from a professional who understands genital herpes dating and the best way to make strong connections.
How Is Genital Herpes Diagnosed
The health care provider usually makes a diagnosis from a physical examination. The health care provider asks questions about symptoms and sexual activity.
Sometimes a sample may be taken from the blisters and sent to a laboratory to confirm that HSV is in the blister or to rule out other illnesses. A blood test can be done to check for antibodies to HSV, which indicate a current or past infection.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Herpes On Lip
Preventing Transmission To Partners: Condom Use
A few women reported an increase in condom use immediately following their diagnosis, but this change was inconsistent over time = .321, p=0.58, Î·2=.018). Women who reported an increase in condom use stated that their diagnosis had made them more cautious, âNow Im very cautious about not spreading it I make that my first priority. I know there are still other diseases like HIV and AIDS. I dont want to die, so its a must that I use condoms.â However, most women reported no change in condom use. Several were already in long-term monogamous relationships in which they did not use condoms because they suspected their partner had already contracted HSV-2 . Some women stated that their sexual partners didnt want to use condoms, even though they knew the woman had HSV-2 . Thus, patient and partner knowledge of seroprevalence status alone was not sufficient to increase condom use.
Herpes Outbreaks: How Long Do They Last And How To Treat Them
Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. Many people have herpes and show no symptoms, which makes the disease very transmittable.
For many men and women, herpes outbreaks can be daunting, embarrassing, and even frustrating. These outbreaks lead to painful sores, embarrassing conversations, and trial and error treatment options.
To best understand how to manage herpes outbreaks, first, you need to be familiar with the STD itself.
What is Herpes?
Herpes is a viral infection that usually causes small, painful blisters on or around the genital or rectal areas. These sores or blisters are commonly referred to as herpes lesions. Herpes lesions can also appear on the mouth or face.
Herpes simplex virus is the most common form of the disease and is transmitted through direct contact with an infected area or through the sharing of contaminated personal items, such as razors, towels, and clothing.
What are the Symptoms of Herpes?
Not everyone with herpes has symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they usually appear within 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. Some people with herpes never have any symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Can You Use Acyclovir Cream On Genital Herpes
How To Make Peace With Herpes
This article was medically reviewed by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Windham is a board certified Obstetrician & Gynecologist in Tennessee. She attended medical school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and completed her residency at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2010, where she was awarded the Most Outstanding Resident in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Most Outstanding Resident in Oncology, and Most Outstanding Resident Overall.There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 93% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 312,810 times.
Herpes is incredibly common. In the US, about one in six people between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes, and in some populations, the prevalence is even greater.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source Once you have herpes, you have it for life, but that doesnât mean your life has to be worse for it. Everyone has a physical issues to deal with, and yours just happens to be herpes. The best way to make peace with the virus is to accept that itâs part of you and get comfortable managing it to improve your quality of life.
Also Check: Where Do I Get Tested For Herpes
Transmission Of The Virus
The highest risk of transmission is during the blister phase, although some virus may be present just before or after an outbreak. Get as informed as you can about the condition and become aware of symptoms such as tingling that indicate you’re about to have an attack. Abstain from sexual activity during an outbreak and consider using condoms and dental dams at other times for added protection.
“This indicates they are likely to have contracted the virus through receiving oral sex from a partner with a cold sore,” he explains. So it is also important to be aware of facial herpes outbreaks in the context of sexual health.
For most people who have been diagnosed, the risk of passing the virus on to someone else when they don’t have any visible symptoms is incredibly low, says O’Mahony.
“The issue with asymptomatic shedding has been blown out of all proportion. Some people will shed tiny amounts of virus in between outbreaks, but it’s very unlikely there’s enough present to cause an infection in somebody else.”
Don’t Miss: How To Cope With Genital Herpes
Telling A Sexual Partner
Whether or not to tell a partner you have herpes when you are symptom-free is a point of controversy – for many people, the potential stigma is a greater cause of distress than coping with the physical symptoms.
Most sexual health clinics will advise you to tell your partner. When doing so, offer reassurance that you will inform them immediately if you experience signs of an impending outbreak, and that it is highly unlikely the virus will be transmitted unless you have visible blisters. It is also worth pointing out that as you’re aware you have herpes, you can take precautions and are far less likely to pass it on than someone undiagnosed who has mild symptoms and doesn’t know they have it!
O’Mahony comments: “People susceptible to facial cold sores don’t feel they have to tell everyone they kiss that they had one six months ago it’s just that there’s more stigma around genital herpes, which we need to deflate.”
How Do You Prevent Herpes Transmission
Avoid touching any sores you have. If you do, wash your hands with soap and water. You should avoid sex while you have sores, and use a male or female condom or dental dam with your partner if sex occurs despite intentions to not have sex. Herpes is most contagious during an outbreak, but its also possible to spread herpes when no symptoms are present.
A good diet, enough rest and sleep, and effective stress management may help prevent herpes recurrences. If you have oral herpes, avoid getting sunburned.
Getting tested for STDs is a basic part of staying healthy and taking care of your body like brushing your teeth and exercising regularly. Getting tested and knowing your status shows you care about yourself and your partner. STD awareness and testing is a basic part of staying healthy and taking care of your body. Its important to know your risk and protect your health.
Read Also: How To Not Pass Herpes To Your Partner
Recommended Reading: How To Cure Herpes At Home
Herpes Coming Out Prompts: Existing Relationships
Option 1: âI have some news to share â I found out that I carry the herpes virus, and I think itâs important for you to get tested. I want to make it clear that Iâm not blaming you for my diagnosis, because a lot of people have herpes without any symptoms. Letâs talk about how you feel after youâve had some time to think.â
Option 2: âI need to have a chat about some news I got recently â I found out I have herpes. Iâve talked to a doctor and Iâve done some research, and itâs not a major problem â but youâll need to get tested and weâll need to start using protection. How do you feel about this?â
How Do You Test For Herpes
Only a health care provider can diagnose herpes by performing a physical exam and tests. A blood test can tell if you are infected with oral or genital herpes even if you don’t have symptoms. Health care providers can also confirm herpes infection by testing fluids taken from the sores. If you think you have herpes sores, get them checked out as soon as possible. Your local Planned Parenthood health center, many other health centers that test for sexually transmitted diseases, private health care providers, and health departments offer herpes tests and herpes treatments.
Don’t Miss: How Long Herpes Outbreak Last
Dating With Herpes And Talking To Sexual Partners About Herpes
Dating with herpes doesnât need to be a big deal. Most people with genital herpes can still have satisfying sex lives.
Yes, there are some things youâll need to do to date responsibly and take care of your sexual partners â like using protection, even when youâre not experiencing an outbreak â but that doesnât mean your dating life will be nothing but awkward moments and heartbreak.
The most difficult part of having a conversation about herpes with a sexual partner is getting started. You may fear the other personâs initial reaction more than anything else, rather than the conversation that happens after theyâve had time to digest new information.
Here are some conversation prompts to help you get over that initial hump:
What To Do If You’re Diagnosed With Genital Herpes
It’s OK to have a lot of feelings and questions when you’re diagnosed with herpes. But no matter how you’re feeling, try to remember that you’re not alone, and your diagnosis doesn’t define you. It’s also important to remember that you can still live a perfectly normal and happy life with herpes. According to Planned Parenthood, the best thing you can do after your diagnosis is to follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatment. That said, Planned Parenthood notes that if you’re struggling with your diagnosis, you can talk to a trusted family member, friend, or therapist to help you cope.
You May Like: How Does Herpes Turn Into Hiv
Learn How To Manage Outbreaks
While theres no cure for genital herpes,there is a lot that can be done to reduce the length and severity of outbreaks.
A number of proven medications speed up the healing process and reduce discomfort. Antiviral medications like acyclovir and valacyclovir offer a simple way to control and minimize herpes outbreaks.
Start taking acyclovir as soon as you notice the first signs of an emerging outbreak. This medication stops the herpes virus from growing and spreading during an outbreak, though it cant remove the virus from your body completely. Most people experience relief within just a few days.
Improving lifestyle habits may also prevent future herpes outbreaks:
- Stay rested to support a strong immune system
- Eat nutritious foods to support your bodys innate healing response
- Use the Luminance RED
The Luminance RED nourishes the skin with red light, which is metabolized to accelerate the bodys healing process and to strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Regular use of the Luminance RED not only shortens the healing time of active outbreaks, but can also prevent future outbreaks altogether!
Can Symptoms Come Back
Blisters can come back, usually in the same place. Recurrences are usually less severe and may become less frequent or stop over time.
Some people can tell when an episode of herpes is about to happen they may feel tingling or pain in the affected skin or some other sign. This is the best time to start taking antiviral medication, as it may prevent a full episode from occurring. See your doctor, discuss your symptoms and have the medication on hand.Sometimes, recurrent symptoms may be so mild that you only need local treatments.
For some people, herpes causes frequent and troubling episodes. These people can take medication regularly to prevent outbreaks. Discuss your treatment with a doctor.
Don’t Miss: How Many People Have Genital Herpes
Do Condoms Help Prevent The Spread Of Genital Herpes
Yes. To prevent transmission of herpes, we recommend that condoms be used 100% of the time. Many patients will shed the virus and be contagious when they dont have symptoms. Studies have shown that asymptomatic shedding occurs between 1% and 3% of the time in patients with HSV II genital infections. Many new herpes infections occur from partners who are shedding the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are highly recommended.
Condoms may not be an attractive option for monogamous couples or for couples who desire to become pregnant. Couples may opt to have serological tests to determine if either partner has an asymptomatic infection. In close monogamous relationships, the risks of transmission can be weighed against other relationship issues, such as intimacy and pregnancy.
Physical Treatment For Herpes
While there is no cure for herpes, treatment can shorten the length of an outbreak and manage any pain associated with lesions. Here are some oral treatment options:
All three drugs work pretty much the same, and one study showed that all of them tend to speed up healing time by about one to two days. But the key is to start treatment as soon as you notice signs of an outbreak Ã¢ herpes treatment is most effective when itÃ¢s taken within 48 hours of first symptoms, which is a tingling, itching, or painful sensation on the site of the infection.
You can also use acyclovir topical ointment to treat lesions, which works for both oral herpes and genital herpes.
If youÃ¢re experiencing a lot of pain, you may want to ask your doctor to prescribe a painkiller or take some over-the-counter pain medication. Here are some other ways to manage pain during a herpes outbreak:
- Apply cold compresses to the infected area
- Keep the lesion clean and dry
- Wear loose clothing and underwear that breathes
Also Check: Do Herpes Itch Or Burn
If I Have Herpes How Can I Protect Myself And Others
Herpes outbreaks are more common when you are unwell or stressed, like getting a cold sore when you have a cold. Keeping healthy, getting enough sleep and reducing the stresses in your life can make herpes attacks shorter, less severe and less frequent.
To reduce the risk of spreading the herpes virus to other people or to other places on your body, dont touch the herpes sores and, if you do, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after.
Before you are sexually active, talk to your partner and decide together which protection suits you best. Ideally you should avoid sexual contact from the time you first experience any symptoms until the sore has completely healed .
Remember, it is possible to pass on the infection even if there are no obvious blisters, sores or other symptoms.
Condoms are an effective barrier to prevent infection if they cover the infected area. Suppressive therapy may also reduce the risk of passing on herpes to a regular partner.