Genital herpes is similar to a cold sore but the sores and blisters are in, on or around the penis, vagina or anus.
Video: Doctor Hanna about genital herpes
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is caused by a virus. It starts with a blister. This dries to form a scab and disappears. Often the blister returns when your resistance is low. You can get herpes during sex, even if you are using condoms. Blisters may be just outside the condom edge and you can also transmit the virus with your hands. Or during oral sex. So, don’t have oral sex with someone if they have a cold sore. You can also become infected when there are no visible blisters.
Often you don't even notice that you have genital herpes. The same goes for the person you have sex with.
Sometimes you may suffer from:
- Painful, reddish blisters filled with fluid
- Watery discharge
- Pain when you’re having a pee
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
The first genital herpes outbreak is the most painful. You may have a temperature, a headache and aching muscles. After this, outbreaks will be milder. Some people only ever have one outbreak of genital herpes. Symptoms disappear on their own, but may return when you’re tired and stressed and your resistance is low. Symptoms may also return when you've got the flu or your period.
Genital herpes cannot be cured. But medication is available to ensure that outbreaks are shorter and less painful. You can get the medicines with a doctor’s prescription.