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Genital Herpes Symptoms

April 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Genital Herpes Resource

The symptoms of herpes vary greatly from person to person. Many people infected with herpes are actually not aware that they have the disease because herpes is actually asymptomatic, which means that symptoms may not be noticeable.

The First Herpes Outbreak

With an initial herpes outbreak, it is recommended that the infected individual with signs or symptoms of herpes infection seek medical care as soon as possible. Herpes infections are generally not a medical emergency but herpes treatment is more effective when it is started within the first few days of the herpes outbreak.
Signs of herpes tend to develop within three to seven days of skin to skin contact with a person infected with the herpes virus. Genital herpes infections appear to be small blisters or ulcers on the genitals. Typically, each blister or ulcer is about 1 to 3 millimeters in size, and the blisters or ulcers tend to be grouped into “crops”. What usually happens is that the blisters form first then soon open to form ulcers. Herpes infections may be painless or slightly tender but in some people however the blisters or ulcers can be very tender and painful.
The first genital herpes outbreak is usually the most painful, and the initial episode may last longer than later outbreaks. Herpes symptoms may last for two to four weeks. Aside from blisters or ulcers, some people also develop other signs of genital herpes infection, particularly with the first episode including:
Pain and itchiness, burning or tingling sensation during the first herpes outbreak. Other symptoms include: swollen lymph glands, painful inflamed blisters that develop around the infected area, headache, muscle ache, fever, vaginal or penis discharge, infection of the urethra causing a burning sensation during urination, a burning sensation in the genitals, lower back pain, small red bumps may also appear in the genital area following earlier symptoms and later developing into painful blisters, which crust over, forming a scab and then heal.

Later Outbreaks of Genital Herpes

If the disease returns, later outbreaks generally have much less severe symptoms. A lot of people with recurrent disease develop pain or a tingling sensation in the area of the infection even before any blisters or ulcers can be seen. This is caused by irritation and inflammation of the nerves leading to the infected area of the skin. These are the signs to watch out for to know that a herpes outbreak is about to start. In this particular period, the condition is contagious even though the skin may appear normal.

Mistaken Symptoms of Herpes

Since symptoms of herpes are not always present, there are some people who tend to mistake a herpes outbreak for something else. Herpes outbreaks may be mistaken for: insect bites, a jock itch, abrasions, razor burn, yeast infections, hemorrhoids and ingrown hair follicles.
Herpes is also sometimes confused with another medical condition such as canker sores which usually occur inside the mouth and are gray with a distinct edge. Canker sores however usually heal within 10 to 14 days without treatment. Bacterial or yeast infections are also sometimes confused with genital herpes although bacterial or yeast infections do not produce blistering.
Another condition that’s sometimes mistaken for herpes is impetigo which is a highly infectious bacterial disease. Impetigo however is more common among children often producing crusty blisters. Syphilis, another type of sexually transmitted disease is also some times mistaken for herpes because of chancres. Unlike genital herpes however, syphilis does not usually produce a cluster of blisters, and it usually responds well to antibiotics.
And like herpes, molluscum is a viral infection of the skin. However what differentiates molluscum from herpes is that molluscum produces raised lesions with a central dimple.
For a better idea of what herpes is and how to recognize the herpes virus, you should research the symptoms of the herpes virus plus view and compare real life herpes pictures.


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