Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted virus. It is usually caused from the Herpes Simplex Virus II, but can be caused by Herpes Simplex Virus I as well. Herpes Simplex Virus I is the common cause for oral herpes, usually known as cold sores or fever sores in or around the mouth. The increased number of cases of Herpes Simplex Virus I causing genital herpes is probably due to an increased acceptance of oral sex. Genital herpes is fairly common with as many as 20% of the American population infected with it. It is estimated that 80% of the people who have genital herpes don’t even know that they have it. Sometimes this is because people don’t know the symptoms and because of this they are unconcerned when they do have symptoms. Knowing the symptoms of genital herpes can help you identify it and seek treatment if needed.
For many an initial outbreak of herpes happens two weeks after infection. This is usually the worst outbreak and can include sores (the most common symptom) with flu like symptoms, swollen glands, and even a second outbreak on top of the first. The sores are small red bumps that are usually about 1-4 millimeters in size. These sores can simply heal over after two to four weeks or they can break open and ooze.
These sores can happen in groups or singly. They can itch, be painful, or not have any uncomfortable sensations. It is also possible that these sores can resemble razor burn, pimples, insect bites, or other skin irritations. Because of this many people fail to realize that they are having a herpes outbreak and many cases of herpes go undiagnosed.
After the initial outbreak a person infected with Herpes Simplex Virus can have outbreaks as often as five to seven times a year, or it could be years between outbreaks. Many people who are later diagnosed with genital herpes remember an initial outbreak, now that they are familiar with the signs. However, outbreaks after the initial one rarely come with any other symptoms and are usually only the sores. They are also less likely to be painful and less likely to be a large grouping.
On the other hand, there are many people who never have symptoms at all. These people are very unlikely to find out that they have herpes. Because the Herpes Simplex Virus may stay in the system for years without showing a breakout. However, it is possible that years after getting herpes you may have a breakout and or be diagnosed with genital herpes.
If you believe that you have signs or symptoms of genital herpes it is important that you talk to your doctor. This will let you get a diagnoses, treatment, and give you the knowledge to take the correct measures in preventing others from getting herpes.