Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease made up of the herpes simplex virus (HSV), HSV-1 and HSV-2.The HSV-2 strain is by far the most common, as it is the variant passed on by sexual activity. HSV-1 is mainly passed orally and is the cause of cold sores. HSV-2 is the virus passed on by unprotected sexual contact.
Herpes is a very common virus, estimates state that at least one in six people carrying the HSV-2 form. In many cases, the virus is asymptomatic, meaning most people could easily be completely unaware they are carrying the infection.
Herpes symptoms in men are very similar to those of women, if symptoms do occur they can be quite sever to begin with. That means many people carrying the herpes virus will either be completely unaware, or very aware.
Symptoms of Herpes in Men
Herpes symptoms in men include small blisters, pain when passing urine and flu-like symptoms. As mentioned, it’s quite possible to be infected with the herpes virus and not know it.
In those cases where no symptoms appear, the carrier will be completely unaware of their condition. This makes the virus easy to spread, which is why infection rates are so high.
In those that do display symptoms, they will appear one or two weeks after initial infection. Herpes symptoms in men should then last for around two to three weeks. There may be subsequent outbreaks which will generally be shorter and less serious.
Herpes Symptoms in Men
One of the initial herpes symptoms in men are clusters of small, fluid-filled blisters located around the genitals, anus and upper thigh area. These will burst after a day or two, leaving a painful sore in its place. These sores will develop a crust and are likely to remain for the period of symptoms.
Pain Passing Urine
Another prominent herpes symptom in men is pain passing urine over the open sores. If there are sores on the end of the penis, or around the skin underneath the foreskin, urine can cause pain as it passes over them.
The most common herpes symptom in men is flu-like symptoms that seem impervious to flu treatments. These symptoms can include headaches, backache, fever, lack of energy and a general feeling of being unwell. These symptoms can last the entire period of symptoms of the virus.
The first episode of symptoms may be followed by recurring outbreaks. Typically, these follow-up episodes will be milder and shorter lived, gradually decreasing in frequency and severity. The sufferer may receive a warning before an outbreak called a prodrome.
The prodrome is a precursor to an outbreak and can include itching skin, pain, or a tingling sensation at the site of infection. The flu-like symptoms may also appear and can last anywhere between a couple of hours and a couple of days.
Transmission and Treatment
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that is passed through skin contact. While transmission is mainly through contact with sores, it is possible to contract the virus from skin that appears clear. Herpes symptoms in men have been known to appear after contact with a partner who seems completely asymptomatic.
The reason this virus is so prevalent is that there is often no outward sign of infection. So unprotected sex transmits the disease freely.
Treatment of herpes in men mainly revolves around treating the virus. It cannot be cured. There are two stages of treatment for herpes symptoms in men. The first is an antiviral medication that suppresses the actual symptoms of an outbreak. These are obviously only useful is the person develops symptoms of an outbreak.
The second stage of treatment is a suppressive drug therapy to reduce the transmission to sexual partners. This is a daily course of drugs that has to be maintained to prevent transmission of the virus. The person with the virus has to practice safe sex from the period of infection onwards, but these drugs help prevent further accidental transmission.
During an outbreak, it can become painful, or at least uncomfortable. There are several things sufferers can do to ease those symptoms. Aspirin or paracetamol are both effective painkillers if there is pain present.
Washing any sores in a mixture of salt water can soothe them and dry them out quicker. Wearing loose clothes minimizes friction, which prevents sores hurting even more. Ice-packs are also useful whenherpes symptoms in men are present.
As far as we know, there are no secondary complications to herpes. The main problem is the herpes symptoms in men when they appear. In many cases, they will be painful, annoying, irritating and possibly debilitating. It also means that the sufferer will need to practice safe sex for the rest of their life.
It is very easy to transmit herpes in-between outbreaks through contact with the skin, even when there are no sores present. During an outbreak, the sufferer is very infectious and should restrict their sexual activities accordingly.
The prevention of herpes should always be the priority, although it’s often easier said than done. In cases where the infection is asymptomatic, it’s generally only diagnosed by accident as part of tests for something else. If there are no herpes symptoms in men, it’s unlikely that extra care will be taken to prevent transmission.
The prevention of herpes comes down to four common-sense things.
- Don’t have skin-to-skin contact while symptoms of genital herpes are present in either partner.
- Don’t kiss or have oral sex while symptoms of genital herpes are present in either partner.
- Use condoms when having vaginal, oral or anal sex.
- Don’t share sex toys. If they are shared, make sure they are thoroughly clean and cover them with a condom.
If only one partner is known to have herpes, a regimen of regular testing of the other should be undertaken to ensure transmission is being effectively prevented. The suppressive drugs should also assist in preventing transmission between partners.