Recognizing the Symptoms of Genital Herpes

The symptoms of genital herpes are easy to mistake for other completely different ailments, which include insect bites, jock itch, yeast infections, hemorrhoids or even an allergic reaction to lotions or soap products.  It's possible for anyone to contract herpes. Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) sometimes also referred to as a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD). One-in-five adult Americans have it, and some researchers put this as high as one-in-three. Even if you've only had sex with a few people, it's still really easy to get herpes. In fact, it can happen with just one sexual partner.

If you have symptoms which keep coming back, like tingling, redness or itching anywhere inside your underwear make an appointment with a medical professional and ask for a test to see if you have contracted genital herpes.

The severity, frequency and symptoms of can vary greatly from person to person. Some people experience severe outbreaks, with very painful burning and sores in the genital and anal area, while others have milder genital herpes symptoms such as itching and redness during an outbreak. In fact, among the estimated 80 million Americans who have genital herpes, 90% don't even realize they have the disease and could be spreading the virus without knowing it.


When a person is infected with the herpes virus, it may pass unnoticed. When this occurs it is known as a subclinical infection. For this reason a lot of people with genital herpes don't realise they have the infection.

When symptoms occur, they appear from time to time in episodes (also called outbreaks or attacks). After contracting the herpes virus, a person may experience an episode within a few days, but it may take much longer (sometimes years) before symptoms are noticed. Often, the person never develops recognisable herpes symptoms.

In the first episode, general flu-like symptoms may occur — feeling unwell, fever, headaches, or pains in the back and legs. These symptoms do not usually occur with later outbreaks.

Most genital herpes outbreaks cause symptoms similar to the cold sores that many people experience on or around their lips. But with genital herpes, the "cold sores" usually appear on or near the genitals or anus. Sometimes they appear on the buttocks or thighs.

Outbreaks may produce small blisters, which break open to form shallow painful sores. These sores then scab over after one or two weeks and after that they then heal. Sometimes the first outbreak causes considerable pain and distress; future episodes are usually less severe.

Although herpes sores heal, the virus remains in the body and may produce more sores later. The term used to describe this is a recurrent outbreak.


Warning signs may occur at the site where the outbreak will appear, or in other parts of the body. These signs and symptoms are different for everyone. It's important to be able to identify your own warning signs because that's the key to being able to better manage your outbreaks. The good news is that many people can.

When you first start feeling the symptoms of an outbreak, the genital herpes virus is already actively reproducing in your body. Each person's warning signs vary and will be different, and a few may include:

  • Burning, tingling or itchiness in the genital region (vagina, anus, vulva, scrotum or penis)
  • Soreness of the buttocks or legs
  • a burning sensation on the bottom of one foot or on the side of your leg
  • Symptoms like headache, fever, and swollen glands - a bit like a dose of the flu
  • A general depressed state or irritibility


The most common direct symptoms of genital herpes are

  • sores,
  • redness
  • itching and/or red bumps in the vaginal area for women or
  • burning and pain of the genital area, and/or
  • itchy red bumps on the testicles, buttocks and scrotum areas for men.  

These are usually followed by one or more of the following:

  • Localised chafing
  • A distinct rash
  • Small cracks in the skin
  • Tiny sores
  • Blisters that burst and become painful ulcers

If you engage in sexual activity while you are experiencing any of the symptoms of herpes you run a serious risk of passing on herpes to your partner or sex partners.

Welcome to a "Herpes Free" Lifestyle

Method of treatment for genital herpes may depend on whether or not the person is infected for the first time, or whether it is a recurring infection. Treatment with antiviral drugs can greatly reduce symptoms. People with frequent outbreaks may be put on a daily antiviral treatment to reduce the frequency of outbreaks.  

  • Visit your local doctor or medical professional if you feel you have the symptoms of genital herpes.
  • Caused by the HSV-2 or Herpes Simplex virus, genital herpes almost always displays on the genitals and anal region.
  • A blood test is one of the options available for you to confirm the exact nature of your genital herpes infection.
  • After your blood test, if antibodies to the HSV-2 virus are detected, then it is most probable you have genital herpes.
  • Oral herpes (cold sores) is caused by the HSV-1 virus, and is by far the most common form of herpes.  

In some people the symptoms of genital herpes are not seen again until years after the initial virus attack. Once your first symptoms of genital herpes haved healed it is still completely possible for another outbrreak to reoccur.  

Even if the symptoms of genital herpes are not entirely visible in someone who is infected, that person can still transmit the virus to others. You will be happy to know that most people only experience the symptoms of genital herpes occasionally, and there should usually be long periods between outbreaks.

It is best to avoid sexual activity while signs and symptoms of genital herpes are present to prevent the transmission of infection. In this case, prevention is better than cure. Always use a condom if you can't resist being sexually active.

Find out how to control and manage your Genital Herpes
Website Summary:

Through this website you'll find as much information about herpes symptoms as possible.

You'll also find additional information about the first signs of herpes - what it's like, what to be aware of and what action to take.

Also, never lose sight of the fact you need to be sure that you actually have genital herpes and not some other infection. There are quite a few skin conditions which are very similar.

This is why we provide comprehensive information about herpes testing, because without proper testing you don't really know what infection you should be treating.

Symptoms of genital herpes and their treatment are such wide ranging subjects we also have a lot of other herpes information on this website, as well as a herpes news page where you can find out the latest on genital herpes from all around the world.