In this article
- What Happens in an HSV Infection?
- What Are the Symptoms of Genital Herpes?
- Can Symptoms Be Treated?
- Can Symptoms Come Back?
- What Causes Symptoms to Come Back?
- Can Symptoms Be Treated at Home?
- How Serious of a Health Problem Are the Symptoms of Genital Herpes?
What Are the Symptoms of Genital Herpes? continued...
Any of the following symptoms of a genital HSV infection can occur in a man or a woman:
- Cracked, raw, or red areas around your genitals without pain, itching, or tingling
- Itching or tingling around your genitals or your anal region
- Small blisters that break open and cause painful sores. These may be on or around your genitals (penis or vagina) or on your buttocks, thighs, or rectal area. More rarely, blisters may occur inside the urethra -- the tube urine passes through on its way out of your body.
- Pain from urine passing over the sores -- this is especially a problem in women.
- Flu-like symptoms, including fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue
Genital herpes is not the only condition that can produce these symptoms. Sometimes, HSV is mistaken for vaginal yeast infections, bacterial infections, or bladder infections. The only way to know whether they are the result of HSV or another condition is to be checked by a health care provider.
Genital herpes is diagnosed with a physical exam and typically confirmed with a swab test or a blood test.
Can Symptoms Be Treated?
There is no cure for genital herpes. But the symptoms can be lessened and prevented with treatment. Treatment can also reduce the risk of infecting others.
Your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medications to help prevent or reduce the pain and discomfort from an outbreak of symptoms. Medication taken on a daily basis to suppress the virus can reduce the risk of infecting others.
Can Symptoms Come Back?
People who have an initial outbreak following a genital HSV infection can expect to have four to five outbreaks within a year.
As time goes on, your body builds up more immunity to the virus, and the outbreaks may become less frequent, even stopping altogether in some people.