As a common sexually transmitted disease, genital herpes affects women more than men. This virus causes itching, blisters and pain in the genital area. It is also known that genital herpes or herpes simplex virus type-2 is incurable, but does herpes affect men differently?
We have to understand that genital herpes manifests itself in varying degrees and symptoms in every individual, so it’s quite difficult to generalize. Some people will have an outbreak of symptoms within one to two weeks of becoming exposed to the virus, while others may show no symptoms at all. This applies to both men and women.
Genital Herpes in Men
Outbreaks in men usually manifest in the form of blister clusters. These can be seen on the shaft of the penis and can be noticed on the head of the penis, as well. There may also be blisters on the thighs, scrotum and buttocks of the man. When blisters erupt, they will ooze clear fluid and some will bleed. Scabs will form over the blisters creating sores and after a few days or weeks they will heal. Urination during this time can be rather painful in some men. Many men also experience headaches, fever, muscle pain or swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin area during an outbreak. For most, the very first outbreak of symptoms is usually the worst experienced. Remember, some men may have no symptoms at all.
In some cases, a man may carry the virus in his body for many years before ever having an outbreak. Outbreaks can be triggered by colds, surgery, trauma, medications, sex, fatigue, stress and even hanging out too much in the sun. Learning the triggers can help a person to control their own outbreaks or even eliminate them.
Genital Herpes in Women
Signs and symptoms of an outbreak of genital herpes in women can be much more severe than those of men. Women tend to have more itching and pain than men. Women also report having more headaches during outbreaks, as well. Women also have blisters that form in clusters located in the groin area, upper-inner thighs, on the vulva, around the clitoris and even inside the opening of the vagina. Women who practice anal sex may also have these outbreaks around the soft tissue of the anal opening. This can be extremely painful, especially when they burst and form sores.
Preventing the Spread of Herpes in Both Sexes
Regardless of one’s sex, prevention is an important factor in curbing the spread of genital herpes. Safe sex should be practiced, and those infected with genital herpes should never have sex during an outbreak or the prodromal phase (warning symptoms). Ideally, those with genital herpes should be in a monogamous relationship with a partner who also has genital herpes. This may not always be possible, and when it is not, an infected person should be open and honest with a non-infected person about their disease. HSV2 can be managed successfully in both men and women.
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