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Genital Herpes: Symptoms, Causes, and treatment

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 12, 2017

   3 min     


What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. There is no cure for genital herpes, but medicines can ease symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others. About 16 per cent of people between the ages of 14 and 49 have this STD.

What are the symptoms of Genital Herpes?

People infected with herpes simplex virus don’t know they have it because they don’t have any symptoms. The symptoms may begin about 2 to 12 days after the exposure to the virus. The symptoms of genital herpes include:

  • Pain or itching in the genital area

  • Small red bumps or tiny white blisters

  • Ulcers

  • Scabs

When the infection enters the body, sores appear. The infection can be spread by touching a sore and then rubbing or scratching another area of the body. Sore can develop on buttocks and thighs, anus, mouth, urethra. Women can develop sores in or on the vaginal area, external genitals, and cervix. Men can also develop sores in or on the penis and scrotum.

General symptoms for both males and females include the following: 

Blisters may appear in the mouth and on the lips, face, and anywhere on the body that came into contact with the infected areas.

The blisters may become ulcerated and ooze fluid.

You may have headaches, body ache, and fever.

A crust may appear over the stores within a week of the outbreak.

Your lymph glands may become swollen.

Itching at the infected site or tingle before the actual appearance of blisters.

The general symptom for a baby born with herpes may include ulcers on the face, body, and genitals. Babies who are born with genital herpes can develop very severe complications and experience:


Brain damage


What are the causes of Genital Herpes?

There are two types of herpes simplex virus which cause genital herpes:

HSV-1: It usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. HSV-1 usually spread through skin to skin contact, but it can be spread to the genital area during oral sex.

HSV-2: It commonly causes genital herpes, and it spreads through sexual

contact and skin to skin contact. It is highly contagious.

Once the viruses are inside the body, they incorporate themselves into your cells and then stays in the nerve cells of your pelvis. The virus tends to multiply or adapt to their environments very easily, which makes treating them difficult. 

How is Genital Herpes diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose genital herpes by doing a physical exam and a few

laboratory tests:

Viral culture: It involves taking a tissue sample of the sores for examination in the laboratory.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test: It is done to test your DNA to

determine the presence of HSV and its type.

Blood test: A blood sample is taken to analyze the presence of HSV antibodies to detect past herpes infection.

How is genital herpes treated?

There is no cure for genital herpes. The doctor may prescribe antiviral

medications to:

  • Heal sores sooner during an initial outbreak

  • Reduce the severity and duration of symptoms in recurrent outbreaks

  • Reduce the frequency of recurrence

  • Minimize the chance of transmitting the herpes virus to another

How can you prevent Genital Herpes?

You can prevent genital herpes by:

  • Abstaining sexual contact to only one person

  • Using protection during every sexual contact

  • Avoiding sex if either partner has an outbreak of herpes in the genital

  • area or anywhere else.

Practice safe sex and use condoms every time you have sex with someone. This will help prevent genital herpes and other STDs from spreading. There is no cure for genital herpes but it can be managed with medication.

Tags:  Sexual Health - Male,Sexual Health - Female,std,Female herpes, male herpes, STDs

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