Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).
Many people with genital herpes have no symptoms and may not even know they have the infection. Others do have symptoms such as painful blisters and ulcers in the genital area, and itchy, burning sensations in the skin. Some people also develop fever, body aches and swollen lymph nodes.
Genital herpes symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may occur often, rarely or somewhere in between. When symptoms flare up, this is known as an “outbreak.” Often, the first outbreak is the worst. Some people have only one outbreak.
In some cases, genital herpes can cause serious complications. The infection can increase your risk of getting other sexually transmitted infections, as well as meningitis, proctitis and bladder problems. Pregnant women are routinely screened for genital herpes because it can lead to brain damage, blindness and other risks for the newborn.
While there is no cure for genital herpes, there are effective medications to lessen the severity of symptoms and reduce the risk of future outbreaks.
If you are concerned you might be infected, talk with your doctor about genital herpes testing. Mercy physicians understand the sensitivity of this common condition and offer compassionate, supportive care.