Most people never have any
symptoms or have ones that are so mild they don't recognize them. But some
people have painful and bothersome symptoms.
Sometimes the symptoms are
confused with other common problems, like yeast infections or vaginosis.
The first herpes outbreak tends to last the longest and be the most severe. Symptoms of the first outbreak may include:
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache,
and muscle aches. These symptoms usually get better within a
- Tingling, burning, itching, and redness at the site where an
outbreak is about to occur.
- Painful, itchy blisters on
the penis, on the vulva, or inside the vagina. Blisters may also appear on the
anus, buttocks, thighs, or scrotum, either alone or in clusters. They may be
barely noticeable or as large as a coin.
- Painful, oozing sores caused by blisters that break open.
- Swollen and tender
lymph nodes in the groin.
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis.
Symptoms of later outbreaks
are usually limited to blisters, sores,
and swollen lymph nodes. The blisters are most painful during the first 24 hours
and heal after 6 to 12 days.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
December 20, 2012
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