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Genital herpes, formally known as herpes type 2 (HSV 2), isna€™t the only brand of herpes a€“ but it is the one with the more significant symptoms. The most common question I get from patients diagnosed with herpes is, a€?How long have I had it?a€? (which of course really means, a€?Who did I get this from?a€?). And having genital herpes doesna€™t mean you cana€™t have sex a€“ you just need to be responsible and careful. If you have a persistent vaginal burning or ulcers, it could be HSV, so see your provider to get it checked out. The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training.
Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH is a board-certified internal medicine doctor and a WebMD Medical Editor. Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.
Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.
Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD. Herpes type 1 (HSV 1), though traditionally associated with fever blisters on or around the mouth, can be transmitted to the genitals (thanks to oral sex), but the symptoms are usually milder than HSV 2.
It doesna€™t shorten your life span or affect your ability to have children (although if you do have an outbreak at the time of delivery, a C-section is recommended to prevent transmission to the baby). If it is herpes please realize that most people with HSV lead normal lives, and while the outbreaks can be annoying, they are manageable with medications.


Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. She is a recent graduate of the residency program at Indiana University, and is in the process of becoming board certified. She is on the team that makes sure all WebMD content is medically correct, current and understandable.
Please make use of this website as an educational reference for learning about the herpes virus and a tool for finding an appropriate and effective herpes treatment.
I think I had an allergic reaction to it though, because now Ia€™m all swollen and irritated down there.a€? I get some variation of that complaint almost weekly from a patient.
While condom use can reduce transmission, it doesna€™t fully prevent it because the virus lives in the skin around the genitals. A patienta€™s blood work can tell me if transmission happened within the past 6 weeks a€“ but thata€™s as far back as I can see. And as I remind my patients, despite the perceived stigma, HSV is very common a€“ if youa€™ve been diagnosed, youa€™re not alone. I recommend that you encourage your partner to be screened by blood work to see if they might already have the virus, as a significant number of men have HSV with no symptoms. Herpes is no fun, but ita€™s very common, and ita€™s not going to kill you a€“ or your sex life. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S.
You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment.


She is the author of the blog, You'll Never Know Everything, where she writes about the challenges and triumphs of raising a family while maintaining a professional career.
She sees patients at the Womena€™s Wellness Clinic at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Each time I hear it, I get a sense of dread, because I know 9 times out of 10 ita€™s not a yeast infection wea€™re dealing with but genital herpes. Initial symptoms usually appear within 3-7 days and often include fever, body aches, headaches and tingling sensations in the labia. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. And, in truth, the person who gave it to them might not even know they have it a€“ up to 70% of those with herpes will never have any symptoms, and so may not get diagnosed (and may not know to protect their partners).
While ita€™s most common for women to have lesions on their labia, they can also get them on their buttocks or inner thigh as well, essentially all the skin that short shorts would cover. Sometimes the symptoms are milder, like burning with urinating or mild vaginal irritation, and can be confused with a yeast infection or UTI.



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