Genital Herpes Facts

This is a general overview of genital herpes. Some of these genital herpes facts have been discussed in other articles, but this information is provided to give you a quick guide.

  • Genital herpes is also known as the herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV 2). Genital herpes is incurable once you become infected, but it is treatable.
  • Genital herpes can infect any part of your skin. It can infect your mouth, genitals, buttocks, cervix, urethra, rectum, thighs, and any other area of your skin that comes in contact with an outbreak. Oral herpes can infect the genitals, just as genital herpes can infect your mouth and throat. This often happens as a result from oral sex with an infected person.
  • Women with genital herpes on their cervix may not know that they have been infected with the virus, because they may not even feel an outbreak. Genital herpes that infects the cervix is suspected to have a link to cervical cancer. Yearly pap smears are important.
  • A pregnant woman infected with genital herpes can infect her child during birth. It’s important to tell a doctor immediately so preventative measures can be taken. If an infant becomes infected with genital herpes it can cause blindness, and other serious health problems.
  • The symptoms and amount of outbreaks varies from person to person. Some people never even have an outbreak, or simply brush it off as something else.
  • Genital herpes is often confused with other health conditions such as shingles, bug bites, yeast infections, jock itch, ingrown hairs, razor burn, or hemorrhoids.
  • The initial outbreak of genital herpes usually happens 2-20 days after the initial infection. This can be more or less, because it varies from person to person. The first outbreak usually lasts 2-3 weeks, but can be more or less.
  • Outbreaks following the initial outbreak usually don’t last as long as the first, and aren’t as painful.
  • Before the actual outbreak, some people feel a burning when urinating, tingling feeling in the genitals, itching, and/or pain in the legs or buttocks.
  • Small pimple-like bumps appear, and turn into blisters or lesions. The lesions then break, scab over, and heal. After they heal, the virus returns to your nervous system where it will lie dormant until the next time it is activated. Usually, there are no scars left behind.
  • Some people believe outbreaks can be brought on by stress, illness, injury, sunlight, fatigue, and menstruation.