Herpes is a virus that causes painful sores and blisters on the skin. The herpes simplex virus is classified under two types: HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital or anal herpes). The main symptoms of herpes are blisters and sores. The herpes symptoms in men are similar between the two types; but they differ by the area they affect. Herpes type-1 tends to affect the area around the mouth and lips, whereas HSV-2 usually causes symptoms around the genitals. However, both types can cause outbreaks in other areas.
Onset of Herpes Symptoms in Men
The herpes simplex virus is transmitted through the skin. When contracted, the virus can remain dormant for days, weeks, months, or even years without causing symptoms. This is one important reason to get tested even if you haven’t had any symptoms of herpes.
Oral Herpes (HSV-1) Herpes Symptoms in Men
Primary symptoms of herpes in men include:
- Blisters around the mouth and lips. These begin as small, shallow, gray ulcers on a red base and then become crusted, scabbed, dry, and yellow.
- Painful sores (commonly called cold sores) may show up on the lips, gums, nose, the front of the tongue, cheeks, throat, roof of the mouth, fingers, chin, or neck.
Other symptoms include:
- Pain, itching, burning, or tingling before a sore shows up
- Bleeding, swollen, red gums.
- Painful, swollen lymph nodes (in the neck).
- A grayish coating on the tonsils and a sore throat with shallow ulcers.
- Feverish symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea, and achiness.
- Raw or cracked skin around the mouth.
- More rarely HSV-1 causes blisters and sores on other parts of the body, including the genitals.
Genital (HSV-2) Herpes Symptoms in Men
The primary symptom of genital herpes in men is:
- Blisters that break to develop into painful sores form around the genitals, butt, thighs, or anus. Blisters can form inside the urethra, but that is less common.
Other symptoms include:
- Raw or cracked skin around the genital area.
- Pain, itching, or tingling around the genitals.
- Achy, flu-like feeling that can include fever, fatigue, headaches, backaches, and swollen lymph nodes.
These symptoms are similar to other conditions such as yeast infections, bacterial infections, or bladder infections. These might be misidentified as HSV or vice versa.
Anal Herpes Symptoms in Men (HSV-2)
Primary symptoms of anal herpes in men include:
- Red bumps
- White blisters
- Pain and itching in the anus area
- Ulcers formed from blisters
- Scabs that cover areas of erupted blisters
Other Herpes Symptoms in Men
Although herpes does not cause any serious threat to ones health, herpes is highly stigmatized and can result in common psychological symptoms such as:
- Low self-esteem (particularly with sexuality and intimacy)
Duration of Herpes Symptoms in Men:
Blisters and sores usually heal over within a period of 2 weeks. Time between outbreaks can be on the order of months to years. Certain things can trigger herpes symptoms in men, including:
Treatment of Herpes Symptoms in Men:
There is no cure for herpes, but treatment options exist. Talk to a PlushCare doctor today about prescription antiviral medications. At home treatments can be done to help with symptoms as well. These include:
- Painkillers (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen)
- Icing the area(s) that are affected
- Air circulation
- Rinsing with warm salt water
Think you may be experiencing symptoms of herpes? Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a prescription today.