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Genital herpes painless: Genital herpes: Signs and symptoms

Genital herpes: Signs and symptoms

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Genital herpes | NHS inform

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV).

There are 2 different types of the virus (type 1 and type 2), both of which can affect the genitals. One of the types is the same virus that causes cold sores around the mouth (type 1).

Genital herpes causes painful blisters and sores on and around the genitals. It can also sometimes cause problems if it’s caught for the first time either very early or very late in pregnancy.

How do you get genital herpes?

The herpes virus (HSV) is easily passed from person to person by close, direct contact including:

  • kissing
  • unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex (without a condom)
  • sharing sex toys that aren’t washed or covered with a new condom each time they’re used
  • your genitals coming into contact with your partner’s genitals – this means you can get genital herpes from someone even if there is no penetration, orgasm or ejaculation

Sometimes you can catch herpes when your sexual partner has no visible sores or symptoms. This is because the virus can become active on the skin without causing any visible blisters or sores. This is sometimes called ‘asymptomatic shedding’.

Herpes can also be passed to a newborn baby during childbirth. This is less common if the first episode of herpes is diagnosed before or at the beginning of pregnancy, and if there are no visible ulcers at the time of delivery. Sometimes medications are started towards the end of pregnancy to reduce this risk.

Symptoms of genital herpes

Many people with the herpes virus do not experience any symptoms when first infected.

If symptoms do occur they usually take between 2 and 12 days after contact to appear.

Sometimes symptoms may not be noticed until months, or sometimes years, after being in contact with the virus. If you do get symptoms, it does not mean you have just caught the virus.

Once you have the herpes infection, the virus stays in your body. It can lie dormant for long periods, but can reactivate in the area that was originally infected. If the virus reactivates, the sores and blisters can reappear. This is known as a ‘recurrent episode’ of genital herpes.

This first episode of genital herpes may last from 2 to 4 weeks. Repeated episodes are not usually as severe, or long, as the first and you may never have a repeat episode.

Symptoms of the first infection can include spots or red bumps around the genital area. These can be very painful. In time, these swellings can break open and form sores or ulcers which gradually crust over, forming new skin as they heal.

Other symptoms include:

  • pain inside the vagina, head of penis or back passage (rectum)
  • vaginal discharge
  • pain peeing or being unable to pee
  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms, backache, headache and a temperature
  • mild swelling of the lymph glands in the groin, armpits and neck

If you have a recurrent infection, your symptoms may include:

  • a tingling or burning sensation before blisters appear (this can signal the start of a recurrent infection)
  • painful red blisters, which soon burst to leave ulcers
  • pain inside the vagina, head of penis or back passage

Testing for genital herpes

If you think you may have genital herpes you should make an appointment with your GP or local sexual health services.

If there are symptoms present such as blisters, sores and ulcers, your doctor or nurse may be able to make a diagnosis straight away.

If you have visible blisters, your doctor or nurse may take a swab for testing, to check if this is herpes and what type. This swab can also test for another STI which causes blisters called syphilis.

The genital herpes swab tests are very reliable, though if the ulcer is too dry then it may be less likely to find a positive result.

Online appointment booking

You may be able to book an appointment for an STI test online using the online booking system. This varies for different NHS board areas.

Treating genital herpes

Although there is no known cure for herpes, the symptoms of genital herpes can be treated.

The symptoms of recurrent genital herpes will usually clear up without any treatment. Anti-viral medication can help speed up the healing process and reduce the severity of an episode, if needed.

If you start taking the medication as soon as an outbreak begins, you may shorten or even stop the episode.

Some people experience many recurrences of genital herpes. In these cases, a longer course of tablets should prevent any recurrent episodes.

Talk to your doctor or nurse at the sexual health service, or to your GP, about possible treatment options that may suit you.

It’s important to keep the area clean by bathing the area with warm salty water. Drink enough fluid – such as water or soft drinks – to make your pee (urine) less painful to pass.

If you’re pregnant and find out you have a genital herpes infection, tell your midwife as soon as possible.

As there’s no screening test for herpes, partners are only advised to have a test if they also have symptoms.

Avoiding passing genital herpes to a partner

You can only pass the virus on to someone who has not already been infected with the same type of herpes as you. If you have herpes, you can follow some simple measures to avoid passing the virus on to your partner(s), and to continue to have a healthy and happy sex life.


  • tell your partner if you have herpes

  • learn to recognise the warning signs (tingling, itching or inflammation) that an episode is starting


  • do not have sex during an episode of herpes

  • avoid direct contact with your sores or blisters and another person

  • avoid kissing and oral sex when you or your partner has cold sores around the mouth

If you have frequent episodes of herpes then it is worth talking to your GP or sexual health clinic about longer term treatment which may also reduce the chance of you passing on the virus to your partner.

Preventing recurring episodes

Keep a record of when you have an episode of genital herpes. You may see a pattern developing, and be able to identify your trigger factors.

Many people find that episodes occur:

  • when they’re run-down
  • when they’re under stress
  • around the time of menstruation
  • when the skin gets irritated due to friction or tight clothing

If you do see a pattern of trigger factors, try to adjust your lifestyle to avoid or reduce your exposure to them. Or speak to your healthcare professional for advice.

Reducing the risk of genital herpes

The best way to prevent all sexually transmitted infections is to practice safer sex. This means using a condom for vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Using condoms has been shown to half the risk of passing on herpes.

If your partner has herpes, avoiding sex when they have visible sores reduces your risk of getting herpes.

Other STIs

If you’ve been diagnosed with herpes it’s recommended that you are tested for all STIs including:

  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhoea
  • syphilis
  • HIV

This is even more important if you have recurrent episodes.

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02 December 2022

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Genital herpes, what is it, how is it transmitted and how to treat?

Bubbles in the intimate area can be a sign of genital herpes. Today, this pathology is one of the most common pathologies of a viral nature. Herpes in the groin is accompanied by blisters on the mucous membranes and skin. The cause of genital herpes can be two types of microorganisms – herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). More than 90% of the world’s inhabitants are carriers of HSV. This infection is a fairly common disease.

Herpes simplex virus type 1. This type of virus can be transmitted by airborne droplets when coughing, sneezing, drinking from a cup, etc. Most often, HSV 1 provokes a rash on the face: damage to the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, but it can also be asymptomatic or affect the genital area. However, getting rid of this virus forever, alas, will not work. The virus does not die during treatment, but hides in the nerve ganglia. Therefore, as soon as the carrier of the virus experiences severe stress or becomes cold, the disease will begin to progress again.

Herpes simplex virus type 2. Unlike the first type, a blistering rash often appears not on the face of the sick person, but on the genitals and the anus area. HSV-2 is transmitted most often during unprotected sexual contact. By the way, a condom cannot always provide 100% protection against genital herpes, since the liquid from the papules can remain on the thighs and inguinal area. HSV 2 also does not disappear from the body, but “lives” in the nerve ganglia throughout the patient’s life.

The medical community identifies the following options for the course of the disease.

Primary episode

When infected with genital herpes in a patient, as a rule, the general condition worsens, signs of acute respiratory viral infections appear, and the temperature rises. All these symptoms are accompanied by pain, itching and burning in the groin area. A few days later, rashes appear in the intimate area in the form of bubbles, in the cavity of which there is a clear liquid.

The rash in women affects the vulva, pubis, and vaginal mucosa. Left untreated, the virus can “move on” and infect the uterus, fallopian tubes, anus, and rectum. Men with herpes will see rashes on the penis and scrotum.

After opening the blisters, bright red sores appear in their place, which heal within a week or two.


With the reappearance of the disease, general malaise may not bother. Bubble lesions appear in the same places. The frequency of relapses depends on the general condition of the body and the immune system; in some cases, 4-5 exacerbations can occur. Recently, however, genital herpes occurs in an atypical or asymptomatic form, when the rash is almost invisible. A frequent manifestation in this case may be constant itching in the perineum for no apparent reason, rashes that disappear after 1-2 days, cracks in the skin and mucous membranes. Even if the manifestations of herpes are mild, a person can be dangerous to others, since the possibility of transmission is still high.

Genital herpes is dangerous for pregnant women. If a woman first encountered the virus during pregnancy and she developed a primary episode, this can cause complications – missed pregnancy, spontaneous miscarriage, developmental anomalies and fetal death.

If a woman was a carrier of HSV before becoming pregnant, then her immune system can protect the baby, but in case of exacerbations, the risk of complications remains. Infection of the child is possible during childbirth, provided that they pass during the active phase of the course of the disease. Therefore, it is important to closely monitor your health while carrying a baby in order to prevent relapses.

With the defeat of the genital organs with a blistering rash provoked by HSV, some patients experience embarrassment, discomfort, shame, depression. Many try to hide information about the presence of genital herpes from new sexual partners, fearing to be rejected. However, when characteristic symptoms appear, you should not hesitate – you must without fail and seek medical help in a timely manner. In the case of bubbles in the intimate area, you can contact a gynecologist, dermatovenereologist, men can also visit a urologist. The diagnosis is established by a specialist and confirmed by laboratory tests. To do this, a PCR test is performed scraping from the area of ​​\u200b\u200bvesicles and sores, which allows you to identify the pathogen.

As mentioned above, it is impossible to completely get rid of the herpes simplex virus, as well as to cure genital herpes forever. However, modern medicine is able to offer the best remedies for herpes, which can keep the causative agent of genital herpes in an inactive state and significantly reduce the likelihood of symptoms returning in both men and women.

Spray Epigen Intim



Spray Epigen Intim

In this case, the treatment has three goals: to save the patient from a painful blistering rash, itching, and to prevent relapse. It is mandatory to prescribe antiviral agents based on acyclovir orally, and to reduce swelling, itching and inflammation, topical agents are prescribed. One such remedy is the Epigen Intim spray, which has antiviral, immunostimulating, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic and regenerating effects. It enhances the action of the main antiviral drug, promotes the production of its own interferons in the focus of virus activity, which can help reduce the duration of the acute phase of the disease. The use of Epigen Intim spray also helps to eliminate inflammation and itching, accelerate the healing of sores.


The drug can be used not only in the acute phase of the disease, but also to prevent possible exacerbations, including in pregnant women, when most antiviral drugs are contraindicated. Due to the impossibility of healing from genital herpes once and for all, it is better to take care of the prevention of HSV infection in advance:

  • exclude promiscuity
  • use condoms for all types of casual sex (however, this method of barrier contraception is not able to 100% protect against infection, which is possible through the skin).

Also, the carrier of the virus should warn his partner about this, even if he is currently in remission, because infection is possible even in a calm period.

Genital herpes is a chronic disease caused by herpes simplex viruses type 1 and 2. To avoid frequent relapses, you need to monitor your health, maintain the immune system and not expose the body to hypothermia and frequent stress.

Itching in the vagina: a symptom requiring attention

Unpleasant sensations in the vagina (burning and itching) are a malaise that cannot be ignored. It may indicate a cold, infectious diseases, an imbalance in the microflora of the vagina, thrush, and allergies.
In the event of a similar situation, it is not recommended to rely on folk methods. Self-treatment without knowing the causes of the problem can lead to its aggravation.

In the clinic “M-Vita”, near the metro station Rechnoy Vokzal and Khovrino, effective methods of diagnosis and treatment of various gynecological diseases are used. By contacting the gynecology of this medical center, you will receive advice from a competent specialist, as well as undergo a thorough examination to identify the true causes of the ailment.

Causes of itching in the intimate area in women

The female microflora consists of various bacteria. In a healthy body, it is in a balanced state. However, with the development of an inflammatory process or other hostile health factors, the bacterial balance of the vagina is disturbed. As a result, various diseases arise.

Vulvaginitis, colpitis

Characteristic features of this type of disease: the presence of secretions with an unpleasant fishy odor. This is caused by an increase in the number of gardnerella, Escherichia coli or cocci. Itching that occurs with an imbalance of microflora requires mandatory treatment.


Candida yeasts are natural inhabitants of the female vagina. But under adverse conditions, their number can increase dramatically and provoke the development of candidiasis or thrush. Symptoms of this disease: burning and itching in the vagina, pain in the lower abdomen, the appearance of curdled discharge.

Allergic reaction

Sometimes itching in the vagina can be caused by an allergic reaction. It can be caused by various reasons: a reaction to sperm, contraceptive products, a certain type of contraceptive.

Infectious diseases

Various infectious diseases that are not treated in a timely manner can develop into a chronic form. Sometimes anxious sensations disappear for a while, however, this is only the appearance of recovery. The infection can remain dormant and escalate as soon as the immune system weakens.
Sexual diseases that require mandatory treatment include: genital herpes, papillomavirus, ureaplasmosis, chlamydia and others.

As a result of sexual transmission, diseases such as urethritis, endometritis, cervititis, enometritis can also occur.
Non-gynecological causes

Causes of genital itching
Itching in the intimate area can be provoked by various factors not related to gynecology:

  • Stress and overwork;
  • Organism poisoning;
  • Worm infestation;
  • Disorders of the digestive system;
  • Use of underwear made of synthetic materials;
  • Acclimatization;
  • Power failure;
  • Allergy to drugs.
The main measures to prevent the occurrence of discomfort in the vagina:

  • Avoidance of the influence of negative factors;
  • Proper genital hygiene;
  • Applying safety measures during sex.

In the case when the alarming symptoms do not go away within a few days and the itching in the intimate area continues to bother, you should immediately consult a doctor. Depending on the test results, the specialist prescribes the necessary treatment. If no dangerous diseases are detected, the malaise is relieved by a course of vitamins that strengthen the immune system, the correct daily routine and diet, and sports activities. When serious problems are identified, a course of antibiotics and suppositories is prescribed.