There are many symptoms that accompany herpes. It is important to understand here that everyone who has the herpes virus does not show the symptoms. This can make the diagnosis really difﬁcult.
Symptoms generally don’t show up for a long time and even if they do, most people tend to ignore them. This is why many people who have herpes don’t even know about it. They go ahead and have sexual intercourse with other people without even knowing that they are helping the virus spread.
The diagnosis is also difficult because unless there are some visible symptoms even doctors can’t know if you have herpes.
Different Types of Herpes
There are two main types of herpes: in medical terms they are called Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2, abbreviated HSV1 and HSV2. The difference between the two is that HSV1 primarily affects your face, and HSV2 primarily affects your genitals. However, both forms may cause infections in all areas. If you perform oral sex on someone with an HSV2 breakout, it’s very possible that you will contract HSV2 to your face and possibly your throat.
- Numbness, tingling, or burning in the genital region
- A burning sensation while urinating or having intercourse
- Painful urination, difficulty urinating, or a frequent need to urinate
- Watery blisters in the genital area
- Headache, fever, and swollen glands
- High fever
- Vaginal discharge resembling a yeast infection
- Cold sores
Herpes symptoms can occur within days of infection with HSV and can last for several weeks.
Enlargement of Lymph Nodes
Herpes symptoms which are seen in both male and female include enlargement of the lymph glands, fever, and headache. The lymphatic system is one of our vital defenses. Whenever the human body is invaded by an extrinsic substance like a toxin or a virus, the system carries the offender to a place where there is an excellent blood supply. Lymph nodes are such sites and are located in many places throughout the body
Because of the plentiful blood supply in the nodes, the protective elements of the system can defend against the invaders. It is like some old Western movie scouts leading the band of black-hatted villains into an ambush where there are many good white-hatted cowboys who can do battle-and win! However, during the skirmish there are losses on both sides.
The lymph glands swell in the area close to the site of the infection: in the neck area in cases of severe fever blisters, and in the groin in the cases of genital herpes. There may be several group of glands that are enlarged. When the glands are swollen, there is a mild pain or soreness that accompanies pressure on the area. Many patients will not notice the sensitivity until the glands are touched. The swelling lasts during the entire period of the active infection and may remain for some time afterward.
Fever is another common symptom. A temperature elevation of 99.8 degrees to 100.5 degrees is not uncommon. Higher temperatures are not unusual unless the patient has a concurrent bacterial infection. The fever ordinarily lasts during the first five or six days of the attack and then returns to normal.
Headache is a constant problem that lasts during most of the episode. The discomfort is often in the front portion of the head but seems difficult to define. It is persistent. Sleep makes little difference; a patient will complain of the headache on going to bed and on arising. It is not severe and can usually be controlled by aspirin every 4 to 6 hours.
Oral Herpes Symptoms
Oral Herpes is basically herpes in which the symptoms show around your mouth. This can involve blisters around the inside of your mouth and also sores around your lips. The sores and blisters can show up both inside and outside the mouth. Most people tend to ignore such blisters but you should try to get it checked out, just to be thorough.
The first time that the symptoms start to appear, the blisters will deﬁnitely show up on the inside lining of your mouth. The reason behind this is that the herpes virus thrives in moist environments and your mouth is one of the moistest parts of your body. The symptoms usually last a few days or weeks so get them checked out as soon as possible. If they go away then it will be impossible for the doctor to diagnose you.
The symptoms might just reoccur after a few days, months or even years. They might not even reoccur at all. The cold sores and blisters are usually harmless. They won’t impact your health at all. They can be painful and slightly annoying but that’s about it. If the cold sores occur in a newborn then they might become life threatening if not treated properly.
Genital Herpes Symptoms
People who have genital herpes barely show any symptoms. Symptoms are rare for such people and even if these symptoms do show, they can go unrecognized. Many people ignore them and do not realize that the herpes virus might cause these symptoms. The most common symptoms are sores and blisters that occur around the genitals and related area- the penis, vagina, anus or cervix.
These symptoms generally last only for a few weeks and then go away. It’s important to not ignore them and go to a doctor as soon as you see such a blister. The recurrence might occur after a few days, weeks or even years.
The first time that the symptoms appear it is known as initial herpes. It is usually more noticeable. If you see any major blisters or sores for the ﬁrst time, then there is a pretty good chance that you have herpes.
There are many symptoms that might occur if a person has genital herpes. The first is blisters. Blisters are easily recognizable if you know where to look. It’s important to perform self-inspections from time to time, to make sure that you are aware of the changes in your body. You might even feel a burning sensation when you pee. This is fairly common for guys but if you feel an extreme burn then you might have sores on the inside of your penis that can be quite dangerous. If you are not able to urinate at all, then the sores could have swollen to such a level that they blocked the urethra. If you experience any sort of pain in the genital area, then it is advisable to go to a doctor and get it checked out. It might just be a symptom of herpes.
Initial herpes is the time where you can very easily identify herpes. The symptoms are generally on a larger scale and are much more noticeable. They also occur at various places and not just your genital area. The most common signs are swollen glands around the throat, pelvis or under the arms. If you have a fever and are also experiencing pain in your genital area then you might have herpes. Herpes can also be indicated by stuff like chills and headaches. These are fairly common and that’s why they get ignored. If you continue to have chills and headaches for a long time then you should visit a doctor. It might help in the early diagnosis of your herpes. If you feel really tired and lethargic then you might have herpes. These should be accompanied by aches all over your body.
The initial herpes symptoms generally occur two to twenty days after you have come into contact with the infection. This is not true for everyone. For some people, especially those who have strong immune systems, it might take years before the first symptom appears. This is why you should never try to judge if you have herpes by seeing when you last had a sexual experience. It’s really difficult to determine when somebody got injected with the herpes virus because it can take months or years for the symptoms to show.
The sores and blisters that are caused by herpes usually go away after a couple of weeks. If they do not go away by themselves then you might want to use some medication. You can talk to your doctor for that. The virus does not die down that easily. It continues to stay in your body. It might just cause sores again after a few days or even stay dormant for years before becoming active again. Herpes symptoms generally are more painful for women. They even stay longer in women. Herpes can be really dangerous for people who have weak immune systems. If your immune system is weak because of a disease then herpes can be very dangerous for you.
Herpes Symptoms in Men
In men the genital lesions of herpes are more localized than those of women. This phenomenon has to do with the anatomy of the area: the penis and scrotum are essential dry areas but the vulva and vagina are most. Moisture seems to soften the tissues and causes the surfaces of the skin to break down. The spread of the virus in the serous discharge is winder in women and there is more chance of autoinoculation.
Male patients state that the first symptom of herpes is often a burning sensation felt in a localized area. The site of the burning feeling may be anywhere in the genital region but is usually on the shaft of the penis or near the corona (the ﬂare at the end of that organ). Burning may be noted on the scrotum.
One or two days after the pain begins, the area becomes inﬂammed. The redness at ﬁrst is generalized in the painful site but then it becomes more localized. Next blisters begin to form. At ﬁrst there are small vesicles which are covered by a tan plastic-appearing layer. The blisters may grow and unite to form large blebs which are like the blisters seen in the course of any ﬁrst or second degree burn. The vesiculation process continues until about the fourth day of the disease.
At the end of the ﬁrst week the blisters begin to rupture and ulcers similar to those seen in women are revealed. There is less exudate seeping from the lesions, however, than there is in the sores which women experience the corona (the ﬂare at the end of that organ). Burning may be noted on the scrotum.
One or two days after the pain begins, the area becomes inﬂammed. The redness at ﬁrst is generalized in H the painful site but then it becomes more localized. Next blisters begin to form. At ﬁrst there are small vesicles which are covered by a tan plastic-appearing layer. The blisters may grow and unite to form large blebs which are like the blisters seen in the course of any ﬁrst or second degree burn. The vesiculation process continues until about the fourth day of the disease.
Herpes Symptoms in Women
The first symptoms to appear in the genital type of herpes in women are the usual ones of headache, enlarged lymph nodes, and a mild fever. Sores in the mouth may or may not be present. Burning on urination is common. These symptoms all may appear before the sensitivity begins in the genital area.
The ulcers of the disease may be multiple or there may be just a few. A finding of only one sore is not unusual. The lesions may be distributed widely over the perineum and the vulve, from the mons veneris (in front, where hair is), over the clitoris, the labia, and the forchet (the area between the posterior portion of the vagina and the anus). Sores may be noted to each side towards the thighs. Lesions in the area of the anus are not uncommon.
The typical lesions of herpes in women are about one centimeter or one fourth of an inch in diameter and are extremely painful to the touch. The pain is particularly severe in sores which are located on the labia (the lips of the vagina) or the clitoris (the structure tat is in front of the vagina and is highly supplied with nerves).
When the labia are involved with the disease process, they may swell to twice the normal size. Clothes or sanitary napkins are an agony. Stylish skintight jeans are a particular problem. I recommend to my patients that they wear loose-ﬁtting cotton shorts or even long dresses with no panties at all.
Sex causes pain when there are lesions. For that reason alone (and there are several others that I will discuss in following chapters) sex should be avoided when anyone has active sores. It is extremely important to remember that the ulcers of Herpes are also found in the vagina and on the cervix.
Pain outside of the vagina may be the ﬁrst sign of a problem. It frequently occurs in the vulvar area. The pain is followed in a matter of hours or days by inﬂammation which in turn is followed by a blister.
In women the blister phase is often not seen because the vesicle or bleb that contains the ﬂuid is so soft that it ruptures easily. When this happens an ulcer remains. These little holes are sometimes one eighth of an inch deep and have a moist, red, and exquisitely tender surface. The redness changes over the course of a few days to a deep maroon or even a blackish color. During this same time the lesions change from moist to dry.
As stated, there may be few nerve endings inside the vagina so that any ulcers which exist there may not cause pain. However, those ulcers do cause a very irritating ﬂuid to be discharged. The ﬂuid seeps out of the vagina and onto the sensitive surfaces of the vulva and the skin. Itching and soreness frequently result. In addition, because it contains active Herpes virus, the ﬂuid may eventually cause the typical lesions in the vulva: area by autoinoculation.