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Women Genital Herpes

April 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Genital Herpes Resource

Sexually transmitted diseases such as genital herpes are infections that can be transferred from one person to another through any type of sexual contact. Genital herpes is a lifelong disease that causes painful outbreaks of blisters in the genital area. The herpes simplex virus can infect both male and female though the herpes infection pattern is different. The herpes simplex virus is transmitted through the exchange of saliva, semen, cervical fluid or vesicle fluid from active lesions. The herpes virus may also be transmitted through skin to skin contact so for the herpes virus to spread to another person, it must come in contact with the mucosal cells or abraded skin to begin replication and infection.

Genital Herpes Transmission in Women

Women compared to men are approximately 4 times more susceptible to acquire a herpes simplex 2 infection. Susceptible women have a higher risk of contracting the genital herpes virus from a man already infected with herpes than a susceptible man becoming infected with the genital herpes by a woman.

Why Women are at Greater Risk with Genital Herpes

You may wonder why is it that a woman is more at risk to contracting genital herpes infection because of two main reasons: One is that the genital area has a greater surface area of cells moist with body fluids compared to men. The second reason is that hormone changes during a woman’s menstrual cycle may affect the immune system which makes it easier for the herpes simplex virus to cause an infection.

First Genital Herpes Outbreak in Women

Symptoms of genital herpes are not easily determined as herpes is actually asymptomatic. But once the symptoms appear, this is now what is called the first genital herpes outbreak. The first genital herpes outbreak is more painful and this lasts longer than the recurrent genital herpes outbreaks, this applies to both men and women. Compared to the opposite sex however, women have more tendencies to have more severe disease and higher rates of complications during the first genital herpes outbreak.
Herpes lesions in women can appear anywhere in the genital area. Herpes lesions appearance can occur in the vulva, inside the vagina, on the cervix or the urethra. The herpes lesions can also occur in other areas aside from the genital area. These areas include the buttocks and the thighs. The first herpes lesions are considered infectious which can last for an average of 3 weeks. These first herpes lesions also stay longer in women than in men and longer than recurrences in women, because the blisters contain a large number of infectious viral particles.

Other Symptoms with the First Genital Herpes Outbreak

In addition to a rash in the genital area, there are also other herpes symptoms which occur with the first genital herpes outbreak in women. These genital herpes symptoms can also include swollen lymph nodes in the groin and a burning sensation with urination. Genital herpes infection in women also causes complications with the first genital herpes outbreak. Complications from genital herpes include difficulty in urinating, with about 10 percent to 15 percent of women experiencing such, and meningitis, an inflammation of the fluid surrounding the brain with about 1 out of 4 women suffering from such complication.

Confusing Symptoms with Genital Herpes in Women

There are times however that the genital herpes disease may be confused with another disease. Women may suffer from herpes symptoms though it can be misdiagnosed as another disease.  One example: A woman who has herpes lesions inside the vagina or on the cervix may have pelvic pain and discharge which may sometimes be misdiagnosed as a yeast infection, cervicitis which is an inflammation of the cervix, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Another example is occurrence of herpes lesions in the urethra which can be misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection or bladder dysfunction. With recurrent herpes infections, women may experience only irritation in the genital area without a rash. It is important that women with vaginal discharge or recurrent vaginal symptoms should undergo a herpes test.



One Response to “Women Genital Herpes”
  1. stacy says:

    if you just recentley shaved your vagina, and you get a few bumps that doesn’t mean you have herpes or something does it? plus ive never had any sexual contact with anyone.

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