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Herpes in Men: The Fact and Fiction

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Herpes in Men: The Fact and Fiction

writtenByWritten by: Mark Spera
Mark Spera

Mark Spera

Mark grew up in a family of healthcare providers and has always been fascinated by preventative medicine, infectious diseases and the intersection of big data and healthcare.

Read more posts by this author.

August 29, 2018 Read Time - 3 minutes

How common is herpes in men? According to the American Sexual Health Association, one out of six people between the ages of 14 and 49 will contract the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

While half contract the HSV-1, which is the version that causes fever blisters and cold sores, the other half contract the HSV-2 version of the virus.

The HSV-2, which is the cause of genital herpes, is a much bigger concern. Genital herpes can create mental health problems, sexual disfunction and many painful symptoms.

Neither form of herpes is curable. But the good news is the symptoms are treatable.

Symptoms of Herpes in Men

The most troubling “symptom” of herpes is that many times, you’ll have no symptoms at all for the first few days, weeks, months, or even years.

This is because, after the virus enters the body (which it does through the skin), it travels along the nervous systems and can lie dormant for indefinite time periods. Some people never have breakouts or symptoms.

However, when the virus does travel to the surface of the skin and causes breakouts, the symptoms can be very painful and embarrassing. First, you might just notice small blisters on your skin. You might experience burning or tingling in your genital area. But in time, the blisters will become raw and extremely painful.

You might experience flu-like symptoms including headaches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue. Raw or cracked skin in the genital regions is not uncommon. While the outbreaks will pass, people who experience them typically have about four or five of them a year.

Other symptoms include:

  • Burning, painful feeling if urine passes over the sores; unable to urinate
  • Swollen, tender lymph glands in the groin, neck, and under the arms (can remain swollen for up to 6 weeks)
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • “Run-down” feeling
  • Achy, flu-like feeling

The right herpes treatment can help you to manage outbreaks and even prevent them. Proper treatment can also relieve the pain of the symptoms and make them far less severe.

Living with untreated herpes can put you at greater risk for other immune system ailments, including HIV.

Herpes in Men and in Women

The most “at risk” age group for herpeswas between 40 and 49, with the results being highest for Non-Hispanic Black Females, followed by Non-Hispanic Black Males. The results for Non-Hispanic White Females were less than half of those for Non-Hispanic Black Males, leaving Non-Hispanic White Males with the lowest number of reported occurrences.

However, this does not mean men have nothing to worry about. The virus spreads through skin to skin contact, and infected persons sometimes show no symptoms.

This means it’s possible to contract the virus from someone who shows no signs of infection, and who might not even know themselves that they have it.

Herpes Diagnosis and Treatment

If you think you need to be tested for herpes, it’s a good idea to see a doctor immediately.

Our world-class online doctors can help you set up a time for a physical examination where your blood or tissue samples can be tested for traces of HSV antibodies. They can also answer any questions you may have.

Book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor now. Appointments are available every 15 minutes and we accept all major insurance.

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