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Symptoms of Genital herpes

Symptoms of Genital herpes: Introduction

Symptoms of genital herpes infection can vary among individuals. It is not unusual for both men and women with genital herpes to have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

In the early stage of the disease, two to six days after exposure to the herpes simplex virus, there may be vague symptoms, such as fever, headache, or a general feeling of malaise or not feeling well. There may also be pain, sensitivity, and/or itching near or on the penis or vulva.

The first outbreak of genital herpes lesions or blisters, called primary herpes, generally occurs in two to three weeks after exposure. Symptoms include the appearance of groups of blisters on areas that were exposed to the herpes simplex virus. In women these areas can include the inside of the vagina or on the cervix. Blisters can also develop on the thighs and buttocks.

The blisters eventually break open and develop into open lesions that are very painful. This phase lasts about two weeks. Additional symptoms can include painful swollen lymph glands, fever, chills, and fatigue.

Because there is no cure for genital herpes, many people with the disease have recurring outbreaks of these symptoms. Outbreaks can recur for months to years. Recurrences are generally milder in nature and do not last as long. Not all people with genital herpes have recurrent outbreaks.

Recurrent outbreaks are more severe in people who have impaired or compromised immune systems. They include people with HIV/AIDS or those who have had chemotherapy. In these people, genital herpes can spread through the bloodstream and infect other organs and tissues of the body.

Newborns exposed to genital herpes during a vaginal delivery can develop serious complications, such as meningitis, encephalitis, seizures, and even death....more about Genital herpes »

Genital herpes symptoms: Most people are not aware initially of a genital herpes infection. The first "outbreak" or episode of symptoms usually occurs within two weeks of exposure to a herpes simplex virus that causes genital herpes. The severity and types of symptoms of genital herpes vary from person to person. During a first outbreak of genital herpes, symptoms can involve the whole body as well as the genital area. Typical symptoms of a first episode include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and decreased appetite, in addition to blisters that erupt on the genitalia and anus. These blisters can also develop on the inner thighs and on a woman's cervix. The blisters eventually break open leaving sores (ulcers) that may take several weeks to heal. A herpes simplex virus can remain in the body indefinitely for long periods without symptoms. Symptoms can, however, reappear at any time. Fatigue, mechanical irritation to the genitalia, menstruation, and/or stress can trigger an episode of symptoms.

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of or have been exposed to genital herpes, it is important to visit a primary care provider so that your symptoms can be assessed within the context of a full medical evaluation. A variety of assessments and possibly tests are generally done to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as pilonydal cysts, skin boils that develop in the crease of the buttocks....more about Genital herpes »

Symptoms of Genital herpes

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Genital herpes includes the 27 symptoms listed below:

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Genital herpes: Symptom Checkers

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Genital herpes: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

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Genital herpes: Complications

Review medical complications possibly associated with Genital herpes:

  • Mother-infant transmission (see Birth symptoms) - a fetus can catch herpes and the baby is born with herpes. The risk is greatest if the mother's first outbreak was during pregnancy. Later outbreaks still pose some risk to the fetus.
  • Neonatal HSV infection (type of Herpes)
  • Premature birth - a fetus with herpes is often delivered early.
  • Neonatal complications (see Birth symptoms) - a newborn may have various health problems.
  • more complications...»

Research More About Genital herpes

Do I have Genital herpes?

Genital herpes: Medical Mistakes

Genital herpes: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Genital herpes:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Genital herpes?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Genital herpes includes:

Genital herpes: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Genital herpes:

Genital Herpes: DSTD (Excerpt)

HSV-2 usually produces only mild symptoms or signs or no symptoms at all. However, HSV-2 can cause recurrent painful genital sores in many adults, and HSV-2 infection can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems. Regardless of severity of symptoms, genital herpes frequently causes psychological distress in people who know they are infected. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes: DSTD)

Genital Herpes: DSTD (Excerpt)

Most people infected with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection. However, if signs and symptoms occur during the first episode, they can be quite pronounced. The first episode usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores typically heal within two to four weeks. Other signs and symptoms during the primary episode may include a second crop of sores, or flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands. However, most individuals with HSV-2 infection may never have sores, or they may have very mild signs that they don't even notice or that they mistake for insect bites or a rash.

Most people diagnosed with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have several symptomatic recurrences a year (typically four or five). These recurrences usually are most noticeable within the first year following the first episode. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes: DSTD)

Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Both HSV 1 and 2 can produce sores (also called lesions) in and around the vaginal area, on the penis, around the anal opening, and on the buttocks or thighs. Occasionally, sores also appear on other parts of the body where the virus has entered through broken skin. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Unfortunately, most people who have genital herpes donít know it because they never have any symptoms, or they do not recognize any symptoms they might have. When there are symptoms, they can be different in each person. Most often, when a person becomes infected with herpes for the first time, the symptoms will appear within two to 10 days. These first episodes of symptoms usually last two to three weeks.

Early symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak include:

  • itching or burning feeling in the genital or anal area.
  • pain in the legs, buttocks, or genital area.
  • discharge of fluid from the vagina.
  • feeling of pressure in the abdomen.
Within a few days, sores appear near where the virus has entered the body, such as on the mouth, penis, or vagina. They also can occur inside the vagina and on the cervix in women, or in the urinary passage of women and men. Small red bumps appear first, develop into blisters, and then become painful open sores. Over several days, the sores become crusty and then heal without leaving a scar. Some other symptoms that may go with the first episode of genital herpes are fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

If you have been infected by HSV 1 and/or 2, you will probably have symptoms or outbreaks from time to time. After the virus has finished being active, it then travels to the nerves at the end of the spine where it stays for a while. Even after the sores are gone, the virus stays inside the nerve cells in a still and hidden state, which means that itís inactive.

In most people, the virus can become active several times a year. This is called a recurrence. But scientists do not yet know why this happens. When it becomes active again, it travels along the nerves to the skin, where it busies itself by making more viruses near the site of the very first infection. That is where new sores usually will appear.

Sometimes, the virus can become active but not cause any sores that can be seen. At these times, small amounts of the virus may be shed at or near places of the first infection, in fluids from the mouth, penis, or vagina, or from barely noticeable sores. You may not notice this shedding because it often does not cause any pain or feel uncomfortable. Even though you might not be aware of the shedding, you still can infect a sex partner during this time.

After the first outbreak, any future outbreaks are usually mild and last only about a week. An infected person may know that an outbreak is about to happen by feeling a tingling feeling or itching in the genital area, or pain in the buttocks or down the leg. For some people, these early symptoms can be the most painful and annoying part of an episode. Sometimes, only the tingling and itching are present and no visible sores develop. At other times, blisters appear that may be very small and barely noticeable, or they may break into open sores that crust over and then disappear.

The frequency and severity of the recurrent episodes vary greatly. While some people have only one or two outbreaks in a lifetime, others may have several outbreaks a year. The number and pattern of repeat outbreaks often change over time for a person. Scientists do not know what causes the virus to become active again. Although some people with herpes report that their outbreaks are brought on by another illness, stress, or having a menstrual period, outbreaks often are not predictable. In some cases, outbreaks may be connected to exposure to sunlight. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

The major symptoms of herpes infection are painful blisters or open sores in the genital area. These may be preceded by a tingling or burning sensation in the legs, buttocks, or genital region. The herpes sores usually disappear within two to three weeks, but the virus remains in the body for life and the lesions may recur from time to time. (Source: excerpt from Sexually Transmitted Diseases, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Genital Herpes: NWHIC (Excerpt)

The symptoms of genital herpes vary widely from person to person. When symptoms of a first episode of genital herpes occur, they usually appear within 2 to 10 days of exposure to the virus and last an average of 2 to 3 weeks. The early symptoms can include an itching or burning sensation; pain in the legs, buttocks, or genital area; vaginal discharge; or a feeling of pressure in the abdominal region.

Within a few days, sores (also called lesions) appear at the site of infection. Lesions can also occur on the cervix in women or in the urinary passage in men. These small red bumps may develop into blisters or painful open sores. Over a period of days, the sores become crusted and then heal without scarring. Other symptoms that may accompany a primary episode of genital herpes can include fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes: NWHIC)

Genital herpes: Onset and Incubation

Incubation period for Genital herpes: 2-10 days after exposure

Incubation period for Genital herpes: The first episode usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores typically heal within two to four weeks. (Source: excerpt from Genital Herpes: DSTD)

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Genital herpes:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Genital herpes. This signs and symptoms information for Genital herpes has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Genital herpes signs or Genital herpes symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Genital herpes may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Genital herpes symptoms.

 

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