Genital herpes are generally caused by an infection with human herpes virus-2 (HHV-2), also known as herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2); the condition can also be triggered by a genital infection with HSV-1, the cold-sore virus. The first outbreak of herpes are generally the most intense, and outbreaks decrease in severity and number over time. While individuals should monitor themselves for the development of genital herpes sores, it is important to seek medical advice in order to be officially diagnosed with the condition.
Identifying Early Herpes Sores
Determine if you have possibly been recently exposed to genital herpes. HSV-2 can be contracted from sexual contact, even when a condom is used, whether or not the other person has or has ever had obvious signs of genital herpes infection; this is because some people can be infected without developing symptoms and can pass the virus on to others. HSV-2 can also be spread through the use of articles that have touched the affected skin, although this is more rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who become infected and do develop symptoms generally have their first outbreak about two weeks after infection.
Watch for the development of the symptoms of genital herpes. These include pain, burning, or tingling in the genital or surrounding area (thighs, buttocks) followed soon after by a red rash with blisters that contain fluid, break open, and then crust over. It may also be painful to urinate. The Mayo Clinic reports that other symptoms of a first outbreak of genital herpes include headaches, muscle aches, fever, and swollen lymph glands in the genital area.
See your doctor in order to confirm the genital herpes diagnosis. Your doctor may perform blood tests and take samples of fluid from blisters in order to reach a diagnosis. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic reports that a doctor may recommend that you be tested for other sexually transmitted disease. Your doctor may prescribe medications used to manage genital herpes symptoms.
Tips & Warnings
- Take medications as prescribed by your doctor. Some people take antiviral medications to limit outbreaks when the occur, while other people take them every day to reduce their number of outbreaks.
- Do not attempt to treat genital herpes sores with home treatments, as these may actually slow down the healing time and cannot directly target the viral cause of the condition.
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