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Genital herpes has slightly different symptoms, depending on
whether it is your first infection, or a flare up. The virus that
causes genital herpes (usually HSV II) hides in the spinal nerve
roots and flares back up with stress and other causes.
The first time you get genital herpes, the symptoms start
with fever, headache, muscle pain, and an unwell feeling (malaise).
The actual "herpes sore" is called a vesicle, which
is a raised, fluid-filled skin lesion, less than half a centimeter
in diameter. This genital herpes symptom can actually show up
either in the genital area, or on the lips!
Herpes on the Lips
In this first episode, the vesicles ulcerate (break open) soon
after they form. They are shallow, very painful, and may group
together. They remain for between 4 days and 2 weeks.
The next genital herpes symptom called adenopathy (large, swollen
lymph nodes) appears in the 2nd or 3rd week of the disease. These
enlarged, tender nodes can be felt on the upper inner thighs.
Medical attention during this initial infection is good, because
there are occasional complications like aseptic meningitis that
can be dangerous.
Recurrences of Genital Herpes are simpler, but still not
much fun. They can happen 5-8 times per year.
In the hours or days before a lesion, you can get the genital
herpes symptom of tingling or numbness at the spot where the vesicle
will form. The vesicle may be just 1, or as many as 3 or 4. It
enlarges over 3-4 days, and peaks at 4-8 days. You may also get
the lymph adenopathy, which will be slight, and they will only
be mildly tender.