The Herpes Simplex virus is a viral infection that causes oral and genital breakouts. In the United States, genital herpes is a common infection caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). While it affects women more than men, men can also contract herpes and experience herpes outbreaks. It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of herpes in men so you can seek medical attention if necessary.
What Is Genital Herpes in Men?
Genital herpes in men is an infection of the skin and mucous membranes in the genital area. It is typically caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), although herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) can also cause genital herpes in certain cases. It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Genital Herpes in Men?
Common symptoms of herpes in men include:
- Blisters or sores in the genital area
You may notice small blisters or sores spread across your genital area.
- Itching, tingling, or burning sensation in the genital region
You may experience itching, burning, or tingling in the genital area which may be followed by herpes blisters.
- Pain during urination
You may experience severe pain in your penis during urination
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
Your groin may develop lymph nodes which are swollen in nature.
- A fever
Sometimes, you may develop mild or high fever.
Less common symptoms of herpes in men can include flu-like symptoms such as body aches and a headache. Additionally, some men may experience no outward signs of herpes at all. Thus, people may have herpes even if there are no signs or symptoms of it. They are likely to pass it on to others during sexual intercourse.
How Is Genital Herpes Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or think you may have been exposed to herpes, it is important to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Your doctor will likely take a swab sample from active herpes sore or blister and send it off for testing. They may also perform a urine test to detect herpes antibodies.
How Is Genital Herpes Treated?
There are several treatment methods available that can prevent or shorten outbreaks of men’s herpes outbreak. The methods are:
These drugs are used to reduce the severity and duration of herpes outbreaks. They usually come in pill form and can be prescribed by a doctor. The commonly used drugs for genital herpes on guys are acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex). If herpes is severe, the intravenous (IV) drug acyclovir is used for treatment.
Over the Counter Medication
Over-the-counter genital herpes medication can be taken to relieve the symptoms of herpes. These medications can help reduce itching, burning, and pain. It is important to note that over-the-counter herpes medication does not cure herpes, but it can help reduce the symptoms.
These medications are available in the form of men’s over-the-counter genital herpes cream. It should be applied to the affected area several times a day until the symptoms go away. The cream also helps relieve itching, burning, and pain.
There are also some alternative treatments available for herpes in men. These treatments include herbs, supplements, and other natural remedies. It is important to speak with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.
What if You Don’t Take Genital Herpes Treatment?
If herpes is left untreated, it can cause serious health complications. These complications can include vision loss, severe pain, and even death in some cases. It is important to seek medical attention and start herpes treatment as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Genital Herpes in Men?
The only way to prevent genital herpes in men is to avoid vaginal, anal, or oral sex completely. However, if you are sexually active, you can practice the following things to reduce the chances of herpes:
- Having a single partner who doesn’t have female herpes.
- Practicing safe sex by using condoms every time you have sex, even if the partner doesn’t show any signs of herpes.
It is important to note that even if you take the steps above, you can contract other forms of herpes, such as HSV-1, which is transferred by oral contact.
Is There a Link Between Herpes and HIV?
Herpes on guys cause sores or breaks in the skin or lining of the mouth, penis, and the rectum. This increases the chances of HIV transmission. Thus, it is advisable to stop having sex if you have herpes as it can also make you vulnerable to contracting HIV.
What Is the Difference Between Oral and Genital Herpes in Men?
Oral herpes is often caused by the HSV-1 virus, whereas genital herpes is caused by the HSV-2 virus. Most individuals contract oral herpes during childhood or young adulthood as a result of non-sexual contact with saliva. Genital herpes, on the other hand, is contracted during sexual intercourse with an infected partner.
Debunking Myths About Herpes on Guys
Here are some myths about herpes that are debunked.
- Only individuals who have multiple partners get herpes.
This is not entirely true. Even if you have sex once in a blue moon and no matter how safe sex practices you follow, there is always a chance of contracting herpes.
- Herpes is stoppable with a condom.
Again, this is not true. Condoms can only help reduce the chances of herpes transmission. They are not foolproof.
- Over-the-counter genital herpes medications don’t work.
This, again, is not true. In fact, many over the counter genital herpes medications, such as genital herpes cream, can significantly help men’s herpes outbreak and reduce itching, tingling, burning, and other discomfort caused by herpes.
- Herpes isn’t that threatening.
It is advised to get treatment for herpes ASAP as it can lead to other complications, including death, in some cases.
Genital herpes in men is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to serious health complications. However, early detection and prompt treatment can significantly reduce the severity of herpes outbreaks and helps keep the virus under control. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you think you may have herpes or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. Additionally, be sure to practice safe sex always and use a condom, as herpes can still be passed on even when there are no visible signs of herpes sores.