The signs and symptoms of genital herpes in men often overlap with those of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it is important to get a medical examination for sure.
You should also consider genital redness or irritation as herpes signs and ask your healthcare provider to check for herpes during a checkup. If you have a significant other who has herpes, it may be a good idea to discuss the symptoms with him.
Male Genital Herpes Symptoms
Symptoms of genital herpes in men are similar to those of women, except that men may have different locations affected. Women typically experience outbreaks in the vagina, vulva, and buttocks, while men may develop outbreaks on the penis, scrotum, and outer labia.
While outbreaks can be mild or severe, new lesions can appear five to seven days after the initial group. Symptoms can last from five to seven days, and you may also experience flu-like symptoms, joint pain, or fever.
The signs of genital herpes in men are similar to those of other STIs. If you notice irritation or redness under the foreskin, consult a healthcare provider to rule out other possible causes of the irritation.
If you notice any sores or fluids in the genital region, it may be a sign of an outbreak of HSV-2. Men with suppressed immune systems should not touch the affected area.
Genital herpes in men often begins as an outbreak or the first reactivation phase. Symptoms may include itching, burning, and tingling in the area of the outbreak.
Pain during urination is also another sign of herpes infection. Men who have sex with men are more likely to develop proctitis. However, recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first one.
Most men who have genital herpes don’t have any visible lesions. The first episode can take months or even years to appear.
While the first episode lasts up to a year and heals on its own, subsequent episodes can be mild. Even if there are no lesions, the virus can cause other symptoms. It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice any symptoms.
Treatment for male herpes includes using an antiviral medication called aciclovir. These medications can reduce the severity of outbreaks and improve fertility in some men.
But the infection remains contagious throughout its entire outbreak. It’s essential to get tested before initiating sexual relations, as men who experience outbreaks of genital herpes may experience unexplained fertility problems in men.
Causes of Genital Herpes in Men
Unlike women, men are not immune to genital herpes. They are more susceptible to the disease because it is spread more easily by intercourse. In fact, the virus can even infect the brain during pregnancy.
If a man has the disease, he is at a high risk of contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, the disease can affect a newborn, causing blindness and brain damage.
While outbreaks tend to disappear over time, repeat outbreaks can occur. Taking antiviral medication every six months is recommended to prevent recurrences.
Men with frequent outbreaks can also be treated by seeing a specialist. Genital herpes is highly contagious. The first tingling of an outbreak is contagious, but lesions can also develop in different parts of the body.
Men may also have sores on their penis. They may mistake genital herpes for penile thrush, which is more common in men with an uncircumcised penis.
A man may also experience pain when defecating or have difficulty urinating. Men who have sex with men may have proctitis as well. The virus may also go into the latent phase for several years without causing any symptoms.
Despite the prevalence of genital herpes in men, the symptoms are not always present. A health professional should test any man suspected of having the disease so that proper treatment can be provided.
During the outbreak, men may take antiviral medications to reduce the severity of the disease and shorten the outbreak to a couple of days. Repeat outbreaks are milder than the first. However, it is still best to get tested to ensure that the disease is not recurring.
After a man is diagnosed with genital herpes, his treatment will depend on the type of outbreak. In the case of the first episode, antiviral medications are usually administered orally.
This is called suppressive therapy. This treatment reduces the duration and frequency of the outbreaks while minimizing the risks of transmitting the virus to an uninfected partner. If men take suppressive therapy, they can reduce the frequency of outbreaks.
Male Genital Herpes Treatment
Symptoms of genital herpes in men can vary depending on the type of infection. In type 1, there are a group of vesicles in one anatomical location, which heal within 10 days.
In type 2, there are clusters of ulcers and sores in different areas of the body, each of which can be painful or oozing. While the disease is usually asymptomatic, some men may experience symptoms such as fever, soreness, and swollen lymph nodes.
Symptoms in men may begin mildly, as blisters that ooze fluid are common in men with genital herpes. A few days after the first outbreak, blisters may scab over and become crusty.
The outbreak may be followed by a fever or a throbbing pain when urinating. Some people experience flu-like symptoms, joint pain, and a headache.
The duration of an outbreak is important when selecting a treatment. For the first episode, oral antivirals are usually prescribed for 7-10 days. If the patient has only one or two outbreaks a year, episodic therapy is sometimes recommended.
This method does not decrease the number of outbreaks but reduces the duration. The duration of illness can also be shortened, thus reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus.
During outbreaks, men should wash their hands thoroughly and take aciclovir tablets. The medication can be purchased online from our doctors or from your GP.
These tablets can help reduce the severity of the outbreaks and the frequency of recurrences. However, it is important to note that acyclovir tablets are not available over the counter. Men can also take these tablets orally to control outbreaks.
While the symptoms of male herpes can be mild, they may last as long as 2 or 3 weeks.
This means that they do not affect fertility. Most men with the disease are not sexually active and do not experience any genital herpes symptoms. In addition to antiviral medications, men can also try a topical cream to minimize the pain. It is important to wash their hands after touching the sores in their bodies.
Recurring Genital Herpes in Men
Recurrence of genital herpes in men is a common condition, but the reasons for its occurrence are still unclear. The virus can cause different types of lesions, depending on where it’s transmitted.
Rectal/perirectal lesions are more common than penile lesions, and infection may occur via saliva, or even oral/anal contact. For this reason, men with rectal lesions are more likely to experience the disease.
Most patients experience at least one outbreak during the first year following the initial infection. Up to 20% of patients will have as many as ten outbreaks per year.
While the duration and severity of recurrence are similar to those of the primary infection, men typically have milder symptoms. The first episode of genital herpes can last for a week or even a day.
The first stage of recurrence is known as the initial outbreak. The recurrence is usually milder than the first episode, but it may still cause sores and ulcers.
In addition, recurrent episodes may happen without any contact. Symptoms of genital herpes in men are often undetectable, but symptoms can include itching, burning, or tingling.
Symptomatic recurrence of genital herpes in men is common in this population. Up to 35% of persons with an initial episode of the infection suffer a recurrence.
This recurrence rate is independent of antiviral therapy with acyclovir. The recurrence rate of men with genital HSV-2 infection is approximately 20% higher than that of women, which may help explain the increased transmission of the virus between men and women, and the recurrence of this disease in the United States.
Treatment for recurrent herpes in men depends on the type of outbreak. For the first episode, antiviral medications are taken orally.
Oral acyclovir and famciclovir may be taken orally. Long-term suppressive therapy may be used for recurrent episodes. Some men may benefit from episodic therapy if they have fewer than six outbreaks a year.
Generally, episodic therapy will not reduce the number of outbreaks, but it will lower the duration of the infection.
Steve Page is a recognised expert on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and STD treatments, having published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and presented his research at conferences around the world. He has an in-depth understanding of the latest medical research on STDs, and is an advocate for the development of new treatments and protocols to improve the health of those affected. In addition to his research, he has dedicated his career to understanding the causes and symptoms of STDs, as well as how to best treat those impacted.