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    Sexual Health
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    Genital Herpes Symptoms: What to look out for and how to manage it

    In this article, we will be tackling the subject of genital herpes. We will break down exactly what it is, highlighting the signs and symptoms you should be aware of, and offering practical guidance on how to handle it. This guide aims to give you all of the information you need to know about genital herpes and its symptoms so that you can spot it and tackle it if you ever need to.

    Man and woman sat next to each other covering their genital areas with their hands, indicating they are suffering from genital herpes

    What is genital herpes?

    Genital herpes is a common condition caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) which has two main types, HSV-1 or HSV-2 (Garland, 2014). This infection is typically transmitted through sexual contact, whether it be vaginal, anal, or oral. Once infected, the virus can stay in the body for life, leading to recurring outbreaks. Understanding genital herpes involves recognising its impact on physical health and emotional well-being.

    What are the common symptoms of genital herpes?

    As with other conditions, people with genital herpes may experience some symptoms that notify them of their conditions. According to the NHS, the most common symptoms of genital herpes include:

    • Pain when urinating

    • Unusual discharge

    • Tingling, burning or itching around the genitals

    • Blisters that burst on the genitals, anus, thighs or backside

    In women, the symptoms, particularly the blisters, affect the labia, vagina and cervix, whereas they affect the penis, foreskin and scrotum (InformedHealth.org, 2018). Unfortunately, according to News in Health, some of the symptoms may not surface. Some people can carry the infection but do not have any symptoms.

    Video overview: What are the symptoms of genital herpes? 

    Patient.info has created a helpful video to summarise the main symptoms of genital herpes which you can view below:

    Frequently Asked Questions About Genital Herpes

    Is it possible to have no symptoms of genital herpes but still have the virus?

    Yes, it is possible to have the herpes virus without any noticeable symptoms. Some individuals infected with HSV may be asymptomatic carriers, meaning they don't show any outward signs of the infection. Regular testing for HSV is crucial, especially if someone has had unprotected sexual encounters or if there's a potential exposure. Regular testing helps to identify and manage the virus even if you do not have any symptoms.

    Are fever and body aches a symptom of genital herpes?

    Whilst fevers and body aches are not common symptoms of genital herpes, Dr. Jeffrey I. Cohen, a herpes infection expert at NIH, says that they are possible, as well as lymph node swelling and pain. The lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that play a crucial role in the body's immune system. It's important to note that symptoms can vary from person to person, and some individuals infected with herpes may not experience any noticeable signs at all. 

    Are blisters in the genital area a symptom of genital herpes?

    Yes, blisters in the genital area are a common symptom of genital herpes (Drake et al, 2000). These blisters, which may also be referred to as sores or lesions, are often painful and can appear on or around the genitals, buttocks, or anal area. The blisters typically break open, leading to the formation of ulcers, and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as itching, burning sensations, and discomfort during urination.

    Is itching in the genital area a symptom of genital herpes?

    Yes, itching in the genital area can be a symptom of genital herpes. It's not uncommon for individuals with genital herpes to experience itching (InformedHealth.org, 2018). The itching is often associated with the development of sores or lesions in the genital region.  If you are concerned about itching or other symptoms in the genital area, seeking advice from a healthcare professional is recommended for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

    Do I need a prescription for genital herpes medication?

    Yes, most medications used to treat genital herpes require a prescription from a healthcare professional. If you suspect you have genital herpes or are experiencing symptoms, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and prescribe the appropriate medication if necessary. Different genital herpes medications work in different ways, and the right one for you will be deemed by your healthcare provider.

    Which genital herpes treatments are available at UK Meds?

    At UK Meds, there are a number of different genital herpes treatments that you can purchase online. The genital herpes medications we provide are:

    It is easy to purchase genital herpes medications from UK Meds. Simply select your medication and complete our free online consultation which will provide you with a free private prescription you can use to complete your purchase. 


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