Genital Herpes – Causes and Symptoms of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral disease that affects the skin and mucous membranes of genital areas. It is common in both men and women. It is characterized by sores, itching and pain in genital areas. The virus that causes the disease is herpes simplex.
According to research studies, it has been found out that an average of 19,000 people get affected with this disease. It can be spread to partners through close or sexual contact. The most embarrassing thing is that the condition has no cure.
Causes of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two strains of HSV, both of which cause genital herpes.
Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV 1) – This strain of virus causes herpes infections of lips and mouth. The infection includes fever blisters and cold sores. The virus is spread through mouth to genitals during oral sex.
Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV 2) – This strain of virus most commonly causes genital herpes and is the main cause for the disease. It is highly contagious and generally causes no symptoms. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact and sexual contact.
Herpes simplex virus is spread from one person to another if:
- Mouth, penis, vagina or skin comes in contact with someone already infected with the virus
- Skin of an infected person who has visible rashes, blisters or sores comes in contact
- Skin of an infected person who has no visible symptoms comes in contact may also be a cause
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
The infection occurs recurrently. Hence the symptoms occur continuously. The first outbreak of the disease occurs within two weeks after infection. The common generalized symptoms of genital herpes during first outbreak are:
- Muscle aches in the lower back, knees, thighs and buttocks
- General sick feeling
- Decreases appetite
The genital symptoms include painful, small blisters filled with clear fluid. They are found:
In men – on the buttocks, thighs, around the anus, scrotum and penis
In women – on the buttocks, thighs, around the anus, cervix, vagina and vaginal lips
In both men and women – on the fingers, lips, gums, eyes, mouth and tongue and rarely on the other parts
Other symptoms of genital herpes are:
- Women may have continuous vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Tender and enlarged lymph nodes in the groin
A second outbreak of the virus occurs within weeks or months after the first. The virus will be in a resting pase between these two outbreaks. The symptoms during second outbreak include:
- Emotional or physical stress
- Genital irritation
Consult a doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms or suspect any sexually transmitted disease.