Herpes results from infection with the herpes simplex virus. It occurs very commonly, with 16.2 percent of adults infected with genital herpes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 57.7 percent of those age 14 to 49 infected with oral herpes 5. However, many who have been exposed to herpes are unaware that they are infected. They may be asymptomatic, or their symptoms are so minor that they go unrecognized. When a herpes infection is mild, it is very easy to mistake herpes blisters for other commonly occurring bumps.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Men experiencing a herpes outbreak often confuse their symptoms for jock itch. Jock itch is a common infection caused by fungi called dermatophytes that live in moist areas. It thrives in the moist darkness of the genital region, according to Kidshealth. The pain, itching, burning and redness associated with jock itch is similar to that of a herpes infection. Jock itch is treated by keeping the area clean and dry while applying antifungal cream or spray.
- Men experiencing a herpes outbreak often confuse their symptoms for jock itch.
- The pain, itching, burning and redness associated with jock itch is similar to that of a herpes infection.
Herpes Symptoms on the Labia Minora
Hemorrhoids are veins around the anus that have become inflamed and irritated. They frequently appear during pregnancy or from straining during bowel movements, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hemorrhoids cause pain, itching and discomfort that mimic a herpes infection. They are often felt as lumps or bumps around the anus. Because herpes sores can appear anywhere in the genital area, hemorrhoid bumps can easily be mistaken for herpes.
- Hemorrhoids are veins around the anus that have become inflamed and irritated.
- Because herpes sores can appear anywhere in the genital area, hemorrhoid bumps can easily be mistaken for herpes.
Ingrown hair results when hair that is removed grows back without protruding from the skin 4. As the hair curls in on itself, bumps form that are easily irritated. They often become inflamed, resulting in pain and itching. Ingrown hairs commonly form when removing hair by shaving or tweezing 4. In females, the genital area is one of the most common sites for ingrown hair formation 4. According to the Mayo Clinic, ingrown hairs can cause solid bumps or pus-filled blisters. These appear similar to the fluid-filled lesions that appear during herpes outbreaks.
Herpes Symptoms on the Labia Minora
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- MayoClinic.com: Herpes Symptoms, Diagnosis and How it's Spread
- KidsHealth.org: Tinea (Ringworm, Jock Itch, Athlete's Foot)
- MayoClinic.com: Hemorrhoids
- MayoClinic.com: Ingrown Hair
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Genital Herpes
- McQuillan G, Kruszon-Moran D, Flagg EW, Paulose-Ram R. Prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in persons aged 14–49: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief. 2018;304.
- Tronstein E. Genital Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus Among Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Persons With HSV-2 Infection. JAMA. 2011;305(14):1441. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.420
- World Health Organization (WHO). Herpes simplex virus. Updated January 31, 2017.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed). Updated January 31, 2017
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet. Updated August 28, 2017.
- Chun H, Carpenter R, Macalino G, Crum-Cianflone NF. The role of sexually transmitted infections in HIV-1 progression: A comprehensive review of the literature. Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2012;2013(176459):1-15. doi:10.1155/2013/176459
- Heslop R, Roberts H, Flower D, Jordan V. Interventions for men and women with their first episode of genital herpes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Aug 30;(8):CD010684. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD010684.pub2
- Jin F, Prestage GP, Mao L, Kippax SC, Pell CM, et al. Transmission of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 in a prospective cohort of HIV-negative gay men: the health in men study. J Infect Dis. 2006 Sep 1;194(5):561-70.
- Schulte JM, Bellamy AR, Hook EW 3rd, Bernstein DI, Levin MJ, et al. HSV-1 and HSV-2 seroprevalence in the united states among asymptomatic women unaware of any herpes simplex virus infection (Herpevac Trial for Women). South Med J. 2014 Feb;107(2):79-84. doi:10.1097/SMJ.0000000000000062
Based in Virginia, Tyffani Benard began writing health-related articles in 2010. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Benard has a background in dentistry and science, and enjoys making these complicated subjects accessible to the general public through her writing. She holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Howard University and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Florida A&M University.