Genital herpes is a contagious viral infection that affects an estimated 45 million Americans. To place this in a broader more mentally visible picture, genital herpes is affecting as many as one in every four people who are sexually active. There are an estimated 1 million new cases each year that are believed to occur. Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
There are two types of HSV and both can cause the herpes symptoms. HSV type 1 most commonly causes sores on the lips and is often referred to as fever blisters or cold sores, but it can cause symptoms of genital herpes infections as well. HSV type 2 is most often related to infections and symptoms of genital herpes, but it also can infect the mouth. The virus remains in certain nerve cells of the body for life, causing periodic symptoms of genital herpes in some people. Many people who are infected with HSV never develop any symptoms of genital herpes at all.
The infection is usually acquired by sexual contact with someone who has symptoms of genital herpes. People with oral herpes can transmit the infection to the genital area of a partner during oral-genital sex and result in symptoms of genital herpes. A person who is infected with HSV but has no noticeable symptoms of genital herpes can also transmit herpes infections. Such asymptomatic shedding of the virus may be fairly common, occurring from 5 percent to 20 percent of the time in infected individuals.
Symptoms of genital herpes in a primary episode vary widely from person to person. They usually occur within two to 10 days of exposure. Typically the symptoms associated with genital herpes that are recognizable involve small red bumps that may develop into blisters and open lesions. These “bumps” appear at the site of infection, which may be in or around the vaginal area, the cervix, the penis, urinary tract of both men and women, and around the anal opening, buttocks or thighs. Sores also may appear on other parts of the body where broken skin has come into contact with HSV. Over a period of days, the sores become encrusted and then heal without scarring. Symptoms associated with genital herpes in a primary outbreak tend to take longer to heal because the body has yet to build up an immune system resistance to the viral outbreaks.
Other herpes symptoms in a primary episode may include fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen glands in the groin area, painful urination or vaginal discharge.
Some of the most common symptoms of genital herpes that are often misdiagnosed are misdiagnosed as yeast infection, insect bites, jock itch, urinary tract infections, abrasions or razor burn, ingrown hair follicles, and even hemorrhoids. If you suffer from recurring infections or symptoms of any of the listed conditions, it is advised to see a medical professional for observance and testing when symptoms occur. It is quite possible the recurrence of such conditions could actually be symptoms of genital herpes.
It is never safe to assume that condoms will protect you from a herpes infection and prevent you from ever knowing what symptoms of genital herpes really are. Condoms do not cover herpes infected areas in many of those infected with the herpes virus. The best way to protect yourself from every knowing symptoms of genital herpes is to practice abstinence. Getting to know your partner, engaging in proper STD testing prior to intimacies and being as completely honest and forthright as possible is the most assured way to combat a future infection.
With so many people who are infected with the herpes virus never showing any symptoms of genital herpes, the increase for proper testing is recognized and strongly encouraged.
If you are a person that suffers from symptoms of genital herpes, there are a number of treatment options available. Antivirals are available by prescription from your health care provider and a number of over-the-counter treatments are available and are affective in treating symptoms of genital herpes. One such product is Dynamiclear. When used as directed, this product can help minimize the duration of symptoms of genital herpes and promote healing.
Although genital herpes is affecting such a large number of the population and it does carry with it the social stigma associated with promiscuity, there is nothing to be ashamed of. Many people from all age groups, social classes, races and both genders are being affected by genital herpes. Taking a proactive approach in caring for your own health will help minimize the number of outbreaks you will actually have. This in turn can contribute to minimizing the risk you will pose to your potential partners.