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Herpes & Cold Sores

Symptoms of Genital Herpes

By Lizzie De La Cruz

Many of us like to think that sexually transmitted infections happen to “other people,” or are the result of “bad behavior,” but in reality, STIs are more common than many of us realize. Ideally, your sexual partners are open and mature enough to have conversations with you about proper protection and prevention methods, but things happen. Many people with sexually transmitted infections do not even know that they have them, which definitely complicates the tracing and treatment of these infections. Not all infections are curable, but there are treatments and medicines for genital herpes (and others) which are currently not.


There are medicines for genital herpes to control outbreaks and help relieve any pain, but many people do not even know they have genital herpes because the symptoms are either non-existent or are very mild (making it all the more important to be tested regularly, especially if you are currently dating or are non-monogamous). If you suspect you may have contracted genital herpes, talk to your doctor.

Generally, genital herpes can cause itching, pain, or sores in and around your genital area. Mostly, these symptoms will only present themselves during an outbreak; however, it's important to understand that a person without visible symptoms is still contagious and able to transfer the infection to others. It's important to take preventative measures, even when symptoms are not present.

Other symptoms can include small red bumps or tiny white blisters. Ulcers may form on your skin as the blisters rupture or bleed, and this may also cause painful urination. There are available medicines for genital herpes to help with these symptoms and to help speed healing.

While this infection is described as “genital” herpes, it's not totally limited to the genital areas. Initial infection may involve some flu-like symptoms, including headaches, fevers, and muscle aches. Swollen lymph nodes in the groin may also be present. Symptoms of pain, blisters, and ulcers may also be present around the thighs and buttocks, as well as the mouth, anus, and urethra. The type of symptoms you tend to experience may impact which available medicine for genital herpes will be the most effective.

Recurrence of Symptoms

While there is currently no cure for the infection, most studies have shown that symptoms and outbreaks decrease in frequency as time passes. It is different from person to person, but talk to your doctor about signs you may want to watch out for that indicate an outbreak. Some individuals have been known to experience burning or itching where the infection entered their body prior to sores appearing. Some people also experience pain in legs, buttocks, and lower back prior to a visible outbreak. Sores and severity of outbreaks also tend to decrease as time goes on, compared to initial outbreaks, and again, there are medicines for genital herpes that can help.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you are concerned that you may have genital herpes, talk to your doctor and ask to be tested for it and/or other STIs. Your doctor's advice is always going to be the safest and healthiest way for you to address a possible infection, and they will be knowledgeable about the most likely medicines for genital herpes that will help you. Further, if you are unable to get to a doctor or are uncomfortable talking about these issues in person, you can reach a qualified doctor online at wisp.

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