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Symptoms of genital herpes

Depending on the time of patient infection with herpes simplex virus, genital herpes can be primary or recurrent.

Primary genital herpes is usually asymptomatic, subsequently leading to the hidden virus or to the development of recurrent herpes. Speaking about the spread of Herpes Simplex Virus, this asymptomatic form is the most dangerous as not finding the symptoms of herpes and not knowing about it, the person continues to lead an active sexual life, infecting partners. It's worth mentioning that during the period of primary infection the herpes is especially contagious.

Primary genital herpes usually manifests itself after 1-10 days of incubation period and differs from the following exacerbations with more severe and prolonged course.

The main symptoms of herpes, like most viral infections affecting the skin and mucous membranes are:

  • rashes in the genital area;
  • grouped, tend to merge small bubbles filled with fluid, with redness around them appear on the mucous membranes of the genitals and adjacent areas of the skin;
  • in 2-4 days the contents of the vesicles becomes cloudy, and the bubbles burst, forming a weeping erosion or — rare — sores (drying up, erosions are covered with crusts);
  • after 5-7 days in not complicated cases, the crust disappears and there is a stain on its place;
  • itching, burning, soreness in the region of the lesion may worry patients;
  • in some cases, a burning sensation and itching occurs as a precursor to herpes, even before the rashes appear on the skin and mucous membranes;
  • there is a general weakness, fever up to 38C, painful increase in the inguinal lymph nodes, frequent urination, headache, pain in the muscles.

Acuity of primary herpes can be 3-5 weeks.

A typical localization of Herpes Simplex is in virus genitals, rarely the symptoms may cover the mouth if the infection occurred through oral-genital contact.
The rash at genital herpes can be located not only outside the genitals, but inside the urethra or vagina, as well as on the hips and legs. Women have genital herpes which often appears on the buttocks and can be concerned with the coming of menstruation. The bubble rash in the rectal area and inside it also refers to the symptoms of genital herpes.

Primary genital herpes in 10-30% of cases can cause a variety of complications. Herpes simplex virus is able to affect the nervous system, joints, pelvic organs. In some cases there are swellings and prolonged healing cracks of the genital organs.

After primary genital herpes is over (which usually occurs in 1-3 weeks even without treatment), the infection takes either hidden or recurrent form.

Recurrences with genital herpes may occur with different frequency: from 3-4 times per month to 1 time in a few years. Recurrences of genital herpes tend to occur in periods of falling resistance of the body after diseases, hypothermia, stress, physical and psychological strains.

Women may have the following recurrence of the disease which can be also associated with pregnancy or even with the beginning of menstruation. Lesions in patients with recurrent herpes usually have the same localization as with the primary infection, but the recurrence often occurs in mostly a milder form. At recurrence of genital herpes usually there is no weakness, fever or headache. Lesions at recurrent herpes are less and they heal faster - within 7-10 days.

The symptoms of recurrent herpes, can substantially change, depending on the general state of the patient, having other infections and many other factors. The treatment process of HSV changes signs of recurrent herpes. Recurrent forms of the disease are happened to be in 50-75% of patients. The infection can interfere with normal sexual life of the patient, which often leads to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Except of the normal form of recurrent herpes (which is accompanied with rashes), it is possible the passage of a recurrent infection to be in the so-called a typical form.

The diagnosis of atypical forms of genital herpes is detected by gynaecologists in those cases, when there is a long-lasting inflammation of internal genital organs possessing the laboratory confirmation of the herpes disease, but without the formation of lesions with bubble and erosive elements. Moreover, atypical form of genital herpes might occur as slight redness of the genitals, painful cracks on the skin or the patient can be disturbed only with itching without the bubbles formation.

Subclinical or asymptomatic form of virus carrying - is also one of the forms of genital herpes behaviour.

At asymptomatic carrying of the HSV, there are no any complaints or objective symptoms, confirming the inflammation. At outpatient blood study of such patients the herpes simplex virus is exposed, but there are no signs of inflammation (leukocytosis) in smears. Subclinical form of herpes is detected mainly at screening of sexual partners infected with herpes or at the examination of infertile couples.

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