What's in this article?
- 1 What is Herpes
- 2 What Are the Symptoms of Herpes?
- 3 Symptoms of Genital Herpes
- 4 What are Genital Warts?
- 5 Causes of Genital Warts
- 6 Are Genital Warts Dangerous?
- 7 Genital Warts and Cancer
- 8 Genital Warts and Pregnancy
- 9 Difference Between Herpes And Genital Warts
What is Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by HSV (herpes simplex virus). This virus affects the genitals, the cervix, as well as the skin in other parts of the body. There are two types of herpes simplex viruses: a) HSV-1, or Herpes Type 1, and b) HSV-2, or Herpes Type 2.
Herpes is a chronic condition. Chronic, in medicine, means long-term. However, many people never have symptoms even though they are carrying the virus. Many people with HSV have recurring genital herpes. When a person is initially infected the recurrences, if they do occur, tend to happen more frequently. Over time the remission periods get longer and longer. Each occurrence tends to become less severe with time.
What Are the Symptoms of Herpes?
Oral Herpes Symptoms
When a person has oral herpes, “cold sores” or “fever blisters” can show up on the lips or around the mouth. These sores may also show up inside the mouth, but this usually only happens the first time oral herpes symptoms appear. Symptoms may last a few weeks and go away. They may return in weeks, months, or years. They are annoying but usually harmless in children and adults. But cold sores can be very harmful to a newborn.
Genital Herpes Symptoms
Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms, have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed, or have symptoms but do not recognize them as a sign of infection. The most common herpes symptom is a cluster of blistery sores usually on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, buttocks, or anus. Symptoms may last several weeks and go away. They may return in weeks, months, or years.
The first time that genital herpes symptoms appear is called “first episode” or “initial herpes.” The initial herpes symptoms are usually more noticeable than later outbreaks.
Genital herpes symptoms may include
- burning feelings if urine flows over sores
- inability to urinate if severe swelling of sores blocks the urethra
- open sores
- pain in the infected area
During initial herpes, symptoms may also include
- swollen, tender glands in the pelvic area, throat, and under the arms
- general run-down feelings
- achy, flu-like feelings
When there are initial herpes symptoms, they usually appear from 2 to 20 days after infection. But it may be years before the first symptoms appear.
Initial herpes sores usually heal in about 2 to 4 weeks. But the virus stays in the body. It can flare up and cause sores again. Symptoms from flare-ups usually heal in 10 to 14 days. Herpes symptoms may be more painful and last longer in women or men with illnesses that weaken the immune system like leukemia and HIV.
Herpes and HIV
If you have herpes or HIV, it is especially important to practice safer sex. Studies show that all sexually transmitted infections can increase the risk of getting HIV. People with genital herpes have at least twice the risk of getting HIV if exposed to it than people without herpes. And people with HIV and genital herpes are more likely to pass HIV to their partners than people without genital herpes.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
Most people with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) don’t experience any symptoms of genital herpes when first infected. As a result, many people don’t know they have the condition.
Symptoms may not appear until months or sometimes years after you’re exposed to the virus.
If you experience symptoms when first infected, they usually appear four to seven days after you have been exposed to the virus. The symptoms are usually more severe first time around than in cases of recurrent infections.
read more: Most Common Genital Herpes Symptoms in Women
What are Genital Warts?
A genital wart is a contagious, projecting fleshy growth on the external genitals or anus, consisting of fibrous overgrowths covered by a thickened epithelium (outer layer).
Genital warts are due to sexual contact with a person infected with human papillomavirus (HPV); they are usually benign (non-cancerous), but many subtypes have the potential for malignant (cancerous) change.
Causes of Genital Warts
The virus that causes genital warts is called human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 70 different types of HPV. Many cause no problems. Some cause warts on other parts of the body and not the genitals. Types 6 and 11 are most commonly linked to genital warts.
Certain other types of HPV can lead to precancerous changes in the cervix, or to cervical cancer. These are called high-risk types of HPV. They can also lead to vaginal or vulvar cancer, anal cancer, and throat or mouth cancer.
Important facts about HPV:
- HPV infection spreads from one person to another through sexual contact involving the anus, mouth, or vagina. The virus can be spread, even if you do not see the warts.
- You may not see warts for 6 weeks to 6 months after becoming infected. You may not notice them for years.
- Not everyone who has come into contact with the HPV virus and genital warts will develop them.
You are more likely to get genital warts and spread them more quickly if you:
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Are sexually active at an early age
- Use tobacco or alcohol
- Have a viral infection, such as herpes, and are stressed at the same time
- Are pregnant
- Have a weakened immune system due to a condition such as diabetes, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, or from medicines
If a child has genital warts, sexual abuse should be suspected as a possible cause.
Are Genital Warts Dangerous?
You may find genital warts to be unpleasant or mildly uncomfortable, but they are not dangerous. They can, however, cause sores and bleeding which can increase your risk of HIV infection.
Genital Warts and Cancer
Many people may worry that their genital warts will place them at risk of cancer. But the types of HPV that cause genital warts do not cause cancer.
It’s not unusual to have more than one HPV infection at a time. And warts may be a sign of infection from more serious types of HPV. Women can test for more serious types of HPV by getting regular Pap tests.
Genital Warts and Pregnancy
Women with genital warts can have healthy pregnancies. But a pregnant woman should tell her nurse or doctor if she’s ever had genital warts. That way she can get any treatment she might need. Sometimes genital warts grow more quickly during pregnancy. A provider can remove warts before birth to keep them from bleeding during delivery.
Very rarely, a woman can pass genital warts to her newborn during vaginal delivery. This can result in serious medical conditions for the newborn, including problems with breathing and severe, sometimes fatal, developmental disabilities. A cesarean section may be needed to prevent passing an infection during delivery or if warts are likely to bleed heavily during delivery.
Difference Between Herpes And Genital Warts
Herpes and Genital warts are three very different members of the sexually transmitted infection family. One is a symptom of another. However, they are all associated with the eruption of uncomfortable bumps in both very visible and very discreet places.
The Difference is the human papillomavirus can cause genital warts, while the painful blisters typically associated with genital herpes come from a different virus entirely: herpes simplex virus.
read more: Genital Pimple: Quick Brief Overview