Herpes can easily be mistaken for a skin irritation, razor burn, jock itch, or even a yeast infection. Sometimes herpes symptoms are thought to be the result of tight clothing, heavy sweating, or from allergic reactions to laundry detergent. It is also very easy to assume that because the symptoms do not seem very intense, and because they tend to go away after several days, that it’s not “serious” enough to go to the doctor. But in reality, these symptoms may represent a herpes outbreak. So when you notice ANY changes in your genital area or even your partner’s genitals, both of you should make a visit to your doctor immediately.
1) You will want to consult your doctor if you have ANY of the following symptoms:
2) Itching, burning, or tingling in and / or around the genital area
3) Vaginal or penile discharge
4) Aches or pains in and / or around the genital area
5) Burning and/or pain when urinating
6) A rash, bumps, blisters, cuts, or sores in or around the genital area
7) Flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, and swollen glands
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HERPES?
Once someone has become infected with the genital herpes, symptoms usually develop within 2 to 20 days, but you can have an outbreak much sooner or later than this. Remember, the amount of time it takes for symptoms to appear can vary greatly from person to person. So if you have had a number of sexual partners, it may be difficult to figure out when you got it and who gave it to you.
During an outbreak some people have mild symptoms and may not even realize they are having an outbreak of genital herpes. We call these periods viral shedding. This means that even though you do not see any sores, your skin and genital areas are secreting the virus.
When you are not having symptoms, the herpes virus sits quietly in the nerves of your spine and stays inactive. When the herpes virus becomes active, it travels down to the skin and you have an outbreak. At this point you may experience burning, itching, and pain around the genital area, mouth, anus, or skin. This is where suppressive therapy comes in.
Suppressive therapy has been shown to decrease the amount and the length of time that the virus sheds from your genitals. Suppressive therapy is a continuous, daily therapy that may help prevent your genital herpes outbreaks. Below are listed some reasons that you and your doctor might decide that suppressive therapy is for you.
LIFE WITH HERPES
Remember, the sores that herpes causes will go away, but the virus will still be in your body.
You should not have sex when you have sores present or when you feel like sores are about to come back. I must remind you again, that even when the sores are gone, you can still give herpes to anyone that you come into sexual contact with and someone else can give it to you even if they do not have any sores.
Please be advised that most people will not tell you if they have herpes, so you should take precautions with everyone. When latex condoms are used consistently and correctly, you can reduce the risk for genital herpes, but this is only true when the infected areas are covered by the condom.
Herpes lesions, or sores, come and go periodically throughout one’s life. You can take medication (suppressive therapy) during recurring outbreaks that might shorten the amount of time that the sores are present for. You can also take the medication daily for the rest of your life to keep the sores from returning.
During the first outbreak of genital herpes, symptoms usually develop within 2 to 20 days after contact with an infected person, and your symptoms may last up to 2 to 3 weeks. In many cases, the first outbreak is so mild it goes unnoticed and mistaken for a yeast infection, a cut, hair bumps, etc. In others, the first attack is more severe, causing visible sores that are painful and may itch, burn, or tingle.