Friday, July 12, 2024

What’s The Difference Between Genital Warts And Herpes

Similarities Between Genital Warts And Herpes

Pimple, Ingrown Hair, or Herpes?

In terms of similarities, both genital warts and herpes are transmitted from one person to another due to skin to skin contact or during sexual contact. The symptoms or signs of both the conditions can also be very similar. Both cause pain, irritation, discomfort and can take a toll on ones daily life.

The primary difference between genital warts and herpes is in their respective causes. Genital warts are caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. Herpes or genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus or HSV. Usually, it is the type 6 or type 11 HPV that causes genital warts while herpes is caused by HSV type 2. HSV type 1 can also cause herpes but this affects the mouth and not the genital area. In other words, the herpes simplex virus type 2 is a virus that spreads through the mouth and one can get infected while performing oral sex.

The two are viral infections and their occurrence can be sudden. But the development of the two diseases would vary. The difference between genital warts and herpes is that the former develops rather slowly while the latter can grow very quickly. The outbreak of herpes may become obvious in a very short span of time. Genital warts can take days to show prominently. Both diseases are characterized by lesions but the lesions in case of genital warts are much more subtle.

Hpv Vs Herpes Vs Genital Warts What’s What In The World Of Uncomfortable Bumps

To be clear: HPV, herpes and genital warts are three very different members of the sexually transmitted infection family. One is, in fact, a symptom of another. However, they are all associated with the eruption of uncomfortable bumps in both very visible and very discreet places, which may explain why they occasionally get lumped together on the internet.

In a nutshell, the difference is this: The human papillomavirus can cause genital warts, while the painful blisters typically associated with genital herpes come from a different virus entirely: herpes simplex virus.

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What Are The Similarities

The major similarity between cold sores and genital herpes is that both are incurable once you have been infected with either HSV-1 or HSV-2, the infection will then stay with you for the rest of your life.

However, thats not the only similarity. The two also:

  • Are dangerous to unborn and young babies. They can be passed on and cause neonatal herpes. This is particularly serious, as their immune systems are not developed enough to fight off the infection. If your child contracts widespread herpes and it isnt treated immediately then there is a high risk of them dying. Thankfully, it is very treatable. You can find out more information about cold sores on the NHSs page about neonatal herpes.

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How To Tell If You Have Genital Warts Or Herpes

  • Genital warts and herpes can both appear in the genital area, making it easy to mistake one for the other.
  • Although treatments can make genital warts and herpes go away temporarily, the virus is still present in the body.
  • Herpes is typically associated with more pain than genital warts.

Genital warts and herpes can be hard to tell apart since they both appear in the genital area. However, genital warts are small, flesh-colored bumps whereas herpes sores look like blisters or open wounds.

Both genital warts and genital herpes can be sexually transmitted through skin-on-skin contact. If genital warts or herpes are inflamed or irritated, it can be especially challenging to tell the difference, says Brooke Grant Jeffy, MD, a dermatologist with Spectrum Dermatology in Phoenix.

The main difference between genital warts and herpes are the underlying viruses. Genital warts is a common term for an infection of the human papillomavirus , and herpes is a common term for a herpes simplex virus infection.

Here are more details on the difference between genital warts and herpes.

What Are Genital Warts

Genital Warts Vs Genital Herpes

Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, says Michael Cackovic, MD, a maternal fetal medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

The warts are caused by an infection from the human papillomavirus . Many HPV strains can be spread through sexual contact. If you have HPV, it’s possible to spread the infection even if you don’t have active warts, Jeffy says.

Here are a few symptoms of genital warts:

  • Flesh-colored bumps that may or may not be visible. Warts usually appear in the genital area but can also be in the mouth or throat from oral sex with an infected person, the American Academy of Dermatology reports.
  • Mild pain or no pain at all
  • Itchiness in the genital area
  • Bleeding of warts during sex
  • Warts may feel sore if they rub against skin or clothing.

Left untreated, an outbreak of genital warts can last months or even years. Sometimes they will go away on their own, but usually they require treatment, says Cackovic. Treatments for genital warts include prescription topical medications such as imiquimod, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, or excision, i.e. surgical removal.

Although topical treatments may take a few weeks to work, they are the easiest to prescribe because you can use them at home every day, Cackovic says. The US National Library of Medicine advises avoiding sexual contact while using treatments such as imiquimod because it can weaken condoms and vaginal diaphragms.

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Symptoms Of Herpes And Symptoms Of Hpv

Those who have HPV dont usually experience any symptoms at all. You might not even realize you have it!

However, the most common symptom is warts, though since there are over 150 HPV types, the symptoms depend on the type you contracted. Some can cause warts, others may increase the risk of you developing HPV-related cancer. Warts can occur in the genital area or the mouth and throat, growing as single growths or a cluster of growths, even looking like a cauliflower.

As for herpes, there are two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both types can affect parts of your body, causing either oral or genital herpes. Similar to HPV, herpes might not have symptoms or very mild to unnoticeable symptoms that you may confuse with other things, like ingrown hairs, skin conditions, or the flu.

The symptoms depend on where herpes affects you. Either way, you are most likely to experience flu-like symptoms, redness, swelling, itching, or pain in the infected area, blisters or cold sores, among others.

To diagnose HPV, you can undergo an HPV test, which is also sometimes used during Pap tests. Or, visual examination of warts may diagnose certain cases.

For herpes, physical exams are done if there are lesions taken. Samples may be taken to the lab to diagnose the viral cultures.

Use Diagnostic Tests To Confirm

You may suspect you have genital herpes or genital warts based on your symptoms, but only a diagnostic test can confirm.

Since both of these conditions can occur without any obvious signs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends testing if you have symptoms that could be related to herpes or HPV, or if you recently had sex with a new partner who is infected with either virus.

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Genital Warts Vs Herpes: Treatment Options

Since both are non-curable, doctors usually resort to either prevention or managing the symptoms.

For managing herpes, doctors may prescribe:

  • Antiviral medications and creams like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir

For managing genital warts, doctors may prescribe

  • Podophyllotoxin gel or cream to clear warts. Clinical trials found 0.5% podofilox to be quite effective in wart removal .
  • Cryotherapy also helps remove genital warts . This procedure uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy warts.

However, remember that the treatment methods can treat the symptoms but not eliminate or cure the virus.

Both genital warts and herpes are sexually transmitted diseases that can be contracted through bodily fluids, shared needles, or unprotected sexual intercourse. While the symptoms may seem similar, genital warts are flesh-colored bumps that appear on the genitals, while herpes results in painful and itchy red blisters around the genitals. Since both diseases are incurable, early diagnosis can help doctors prevent or manage the symptoms through prescribed medications and surgical procedures. We hope this article clarifies the confusion surrounding genital warts vs. herpes.

Sores Disappear And Reappear

ORAL SEX and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Prevention and treatment | Dentalk! ©

About 50% of people with genital herpes experience recurring symptoms after their first outbreak. These recurrences, or outbreaks, last up to 10 days each. The herpes virus is highly contagious during this time.

Its hard to predict how frequently genital herpes outbreaks will recur, but you can take steps to prevent outbreaks through healthy eating, medication and lifestyle choices.

The good news is that recurrent outbreaks are often less painful, shorter duration and easier to manage. Many people also experience a decrease in outbreak frequency after the first year of HSV infection.

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Why Genital Herpes Comes Back

Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.

It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.

If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.

Triggers can include:

  • surgery on your genital area
  • a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer

When To See A Medical Provider

If you think that you have either genital warts or genital herpes, or you are unsure what type of outbreak is affecting your genital area, speak with a healthcare provider.

In many cases, a simple conversation and physical examination can identify the cause of your symptoms.

While there is no cure for HPV or genital herpes, there are OTC and other treatments that may speed the healing time of sores and relieve discomfort.

A healthcare provider is also available to answer questions you have as well as to offer tips for minimizing risks of sexual disease or infection transmission.

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Pimples Vs Herpes Blisters Why Do They Happen

Before we delve into what herpes looks like, lets first take a look at why it happens. It is a sexually transmitted disease, caused by skin-to-skin contact with the infected area of someone who has the Herpes Simplex Virus .

HSV comes in two forms, of which HSV-1 presents itself as blisters on the mouth , including cold sores and fever blisters, and is thus associated with oral herpes. Meanwhile, HSV-2 affects the genital region and causes genital herpes. This does not mean that anyone with blisters on their mouth must have been infected with HSV-1, as they could very well have inherited HSV-2 from an infected partners genitalia via oral sex.

On the other hand, pimples are linked to hygiene issues. They arise when dirt or oil clogs up the pores on the skin, increasing the likelihood of bacterial infection and inflammation. The pores may also be clogged by other conditions such as folliculitis or contact dermatitis .

Herpes Vs Hpv: Differences Symptoms Causes How To Get Tested Diagnosis And Treatment

What is the difference between Genital Warts and Herpes?

Herpes and HPV have many similarities, leading to confusion among some people in knowing which one they have. In this article, we explain their differences, similarities, and how to get tested for both.

  • What is Herpes?
  • How do I know if Im Affected with Herpes or HPV?
  • Get Tested for Herpes and HPV
  • Is there any STD home test kit available?
  • Cost of Herpes and HPV Testing in the US
  • Is there any preparation required before the test?
  • Providers Locations
  • Read Also: How Is Herpes Transmitted From One Person To Another

    Is Herpes Or Hpv Worse

    Both the virus have similarities in terms of cure. Theres NO CURE for either HPV or herpes. However, Herpes is more likely to remain for years and cause severe illness over the long run, the HPV virus may disappear from the body on its own . If HPV doesnt go away it may also lead to health complications such as cancer.

    Hpv Vs Hsv: Diagnosis & Testing

    • HPV strains that cause genital warts require no dedicated tests as doctors can arrive at a diagnosis based on the appearance of symptoms.
    • In the case of women, PAP smears are carried out at regular intervals to check for cancer-causing HPV strains. Donât forget to ask your doctor about PAP smears and how often you should get them.
    • In the case of males, however, there are no tests to screen or conclusively determine HPV. This can be done only upon the appearance of oral or genital warts.
    • Herpes too can be diagnosed based on the appearance of blisters and cold sores. However, there also exist viral culture techniques that enable doctors to identify HSV-1 and HSV-2 strains.
    • Herpes is not included in the routine STI scans available in most hospitals. If you think youâve contracted the infection, be sure to ask for a herpes test when you visit the hospital.

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    Difference Between Herpes And Genital Warts

    Herpes and Genital warts are three very different members of the sexually transmitted infection family. One is a symptom of another. However, they are all associated with the eruption of uncomfortable bumps in both very visible and very discreet places.

    The Difference is the human papillomavirus can cause genital warts, while the painful blisters typically associated with genital herpes come from a different virus entirely: herpes simplex virus.

    What Should I Do If I Have Genital Herpes

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    If you have genital herpes:

    • See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible for testing and treatment.
    • Take all of the medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antiviral medicine.
    • Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated if necessary.
    • Avoid any sexual contact while you are being treated for genital herpes or while you have an outbreak.
    • Remember that genital herpes is a lifelong disease. Even though you may not have a genital herpes outbreak for long periods of time, you can still pass the virus to another person at any time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to prevent passing the virus to another person.

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    When To See A Healthcare Provider

    You should see a healthcare provider for genital bumps and sores if:

    • They are extremely painful.
    • They dont go away.
    • They keep coming back.
    • You think you contracted a sexually transmitted infection.
    • You have abnormal bleeding thats not linked to your menstrual cycle.
    • Youre worried or otherwise bothered by the bumps.

    What Do Genital Warts Look Like

    Unlike skin tags, warts have a pearly, bumpy appearance and are usually found in areas where there has been sexual contact, such as the:

    • are small, some can be as large as a pencil eraser. Some people may develop a skin tag thats the size of a grape or even a fig.
    • Skin tags develop rapidly, but they rarely continue to grow after the earliest stages of development.
    • Its possible for a tag to change from flesh-colored to lighter brown, and then to darker brown. This color change is typical and usually isnt a cause for concern.

    Skin tags are very common. They usually develop on your neck, under your armpits, or in between other folds of skin. They can also develop in your groin or on your genitalia.

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    Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes

    You may be prescribed:

    • antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
    • cream for the pain

    If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.

    Is There Treatment For Hpv Or Health Problems That Develop From Hpv

    Herpes Vs. HPV: The Complete Breakdown

    There is no treatment for the virus itself. However, there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause:

  • Genital warts can go away with treatment from your healthcare provider or with prescription medicine. If left untreated, genital warts may go away, stay the same, or grow in size or number.
  • Cervical precancer treatment is available. Women who get routine Pap tests and follow up as needed can find problems before cancer develops. Prevention is always better than treatment. For more information visit
  • Other HPV-related cancers are also more treatable when found and treated early. For more information visit
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    What Are The Causes Of Genital Warts Vs Herpes

    Causes of genital warts

    You may get genital warts from:

    • Engaging in sex acts with an infected person
    • Touching genitals with an infected person
    • Inheriting from mother to child during childbirth

    Causes of herpes

    You may get the herpes virus by coming into close direct contact with an infected person. Some of these contact methods include:

    • Sharing unwashed sex toys
    • Touching genitals. You may get herpes even if you did not ejaculate or did not penetrate.
    • Skin to skin contact with a partner with no visible sores or symptoms
    • You may also spread herpes to your child during delivery. This is most likely to happen if you are showing no signs or symptoms with no sores visible.

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