Many people with genital herpes never experience any signs or symptoms. A mild case can lead to a few herpes sores that are commonly mistaken for ingrown hairs or pimples.
As genital herpes usually causes no symptoms or very mild ones, a majority of people with genital herpes do not know that they have the condition.
If a person is concerned that they or their partner could have genital herpes, they should try to notice some key signs as described in this post.
Suncoast Skin Solutions, led by board certified dermatologist Dr. Christopher Ewanowski, provides cutting-edge skin care treatments to patients in Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and surrounding communities.
The Initial Outbreak
This often occurs within two days to three weeks after having sex with a person with genital herpes. The person does not need to have sores to spread the infection.
Flu-like symptoms are the first thing a newly infected person may notice:
- Muscle pains
- Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the groin
Some people say that they experience tingling or an itch around their anus or genitals, which can last for up to 24 hours.
They may also notice an area of swollen, red skin on or around their anus or genitals. At times, this patch develops on the buttocks or thigh. In case this appears, a person may see:
- Small blisters develop on the patch
- The blisters break open, causing painful sores
- The sores scab and fully heal, typically within two to six weeks
A majority of people develop only a few sores. However, some individuals have widespread sores and blisters. During the initial outbreak, some individuals may also notice that they have pain or difficulty when urinating.
If a Person has HIV
Genital herpes is quite common in individuals who have HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). If an HIV-positive person gets genital herpes, the outbreaks can be severe.
They may need medication to eliminate the sores. They are also more susceptible to develop complications, such as an inability to empty their bladder or meningitis.
The virus that causes genital herpes always remains in the body. After the initial outbreak, the virus moves to the neighboring nerves where it sleeps. There may never be another outbreak. But it is also possible that the virus will become active, leading to outbreaks from time to time.
Repeat outbreaks are usually less severe than the initial outbreak, and the sores clear faster. Any person can have repeat outbreaks, but the following are more likely to have them:
- People with a weakened immune system
- People who had an initial outbreak that lasted for more than 34 days
If a person gets repeat outbreaks, these are most likely to occur during the initial year. The body builds up immunity to the virus if the patient has a healthy immune system. The outbreaks should become less frequent as the immunity builds. They may even stop altogether eventually.
Repeat outbreaks usually occur due to a trigger such as fatigue, stress, sex, surgery, and illness. Getting their period is a trigger for some women.
During recurring outbreaks, some individuals notice that they develop warning signs, which indicate that the sores will appear. These warning signs include itching, pain, tingling, or a burning sensation. The warning signs can last for 24 hours. Dermatology treatment can shorten the duration of an outbreak and mitigate symptoms.
Dr. Ewanowski’s dermatology practice and medical spa receives patients from Tampa, Brandon, Lutz, Seminole, Riverview, Brooksville, Winter Haven, Daytona Beach, Largo, St. Petersburg, Ocala, Sarasota, Palm Harbor, Central Florida, Florida, and nearby areas for safe and proven skin care procedures.
SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Petersburg / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz (2 locations), Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, Largo at Bardmoor, Daytona Beach, Sarasota, and Palm Harbor, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.