Genital Herpes: Symptoms, Causes and How to Treat It

December 9, 2021
Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections around the world. It is a health problem that affects the patient’s whole life and occurs with relapses and remissions.

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is an STI or sexually transmitted infection that causes herpetic sores. These sores are fluid-filled bumps or painful blisters that can split open and leak fluid.

Genital Herpes Symptoms: What Diseases Can Be Misdiagnosed as Genital Herpes?

Herpes usually starts with the appearance of blisters. General symptoms of genital herpes on men are painful blisters on the: scrotum, penis, near or around the anus, and buttocks. In comparison, symptoms of genital herpes on women include blisters near or around the vagina, buttocks, and anus.

Other common symptoms of genital herpes include headaches, fever, body aches, itching, and tingling of the affected area before the appearance of the blisters. Also, note that the blisters can turn into open sores and leak fluid. Within a week after the outbreak, a crust appears over the sores.

Genital herpes symptoms can be mistaken for various medical conditions such as:

  • Any STI with visible lesions, like genital warts or syphilis
  • Irritation due to shaving around the area of the genitals
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Yeast infections
  • Bug bites
  • Pimples

Genital Herpes Causes

Genital herpes is caused by two types of herpes simplex virus infections

  • HSV-1. This virus generally causes fever, blisters, or cold sores around your mouth and spreads through skin-to-skin contact. Keep in mind that it can also spread to genital areas during oral sex.
  • HSV-2. This is the type of virus that commonly causes genital herpes. It spreads through skin-to-skin and sexual contact. Remember, this type of infection is highly contagious, even if you do not develop an open sore.

Types of Herpes

The two types of herpes are oral herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)

How Long Does Genital Herpes Last?

The first outbreak of genital herpes usually occurs within 2 to 20 days of the contraction. The initial episode can last up to three weeks.

How to Treat Genital Herpes?

There’s no cure for herpes. However, you may use antiviral medicines within the first five days to shorten and control the contagiousness and ease discomfort.

Here are some tips to follow if you have contracted genital herpes:

  • Avoid touching the blisters
  • Always keep the affected area clean
  • Apply petroleum jelly to reduce the discomfort when urinating
  • Ask a healthcare provider for painkilling creams
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Abstain from sex until you or your partner have completely recovered.

What Happens If Genital Herpes Is Left Untreated?

Genital herpes, if left untreated, can cause outbreaks regularly, which may stop after a while.

If you are looking for expert advice on genital herpes, call us at 843-572-1600 or schedule an appointment with our expert doctors today.