Herpes Symptoms in Men

Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. The disease, which is actually more of an infection, is spread through sexual contact. Once transmitted, it often causes painful blisters and ulcers at the area of infection, which could be the mouth, the genitals, or the anus. There are actually two strains of the herpes virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is the strain that typically causes oral cold sores while HSV-2 is more commonly responsible for genital lesions. However, either strain of the virus can affect the mouth area and/or the genital area. It also must be understood that herpes symptoms in men do not always occur or are not always obvious, even when a person has an active infection and is contagious. Therefore, it is possible to contract the virus from a symptom-free person and, if you already have the virus, to pass it on to another person even when you are symptom-free.

The First Outbreak

The first herpes outbreak is usually the worst, in terms of the severity of herpes symptoms in men. Again, not everyone will have an obvious outbreak, but among those who do, the first one tends to be quite unpleasant. The affected skin usually becomes itchy, painful, and/or inflamed within two to ten days after being exposed to the virus. It may then develop blisters or sores which will eventually break and ooze. The fluid inside of the blisters is highly contagious. As such, you should avoid touching the sores and then touching other parts of the body, since you can spread the virus. You also should avoid engaging in sexual activity when you have active sores; however, the virus can be spread even when you do not have visible sores so care should always be taken when engaging in sexual contact.

Common Herpes Symptoms in Men

As mentioned, not everyone will have that first major outbreak. Just because a person does not have an extreme initial outbreak, however, does not mean that he will not have any symptoms. In fact, though they are often very mild and go unnoticed by sufferers, there are some common herpes symptoms in men. If you engage or have engaged in unprotected sex, especially if you think you may have been exposed to the herpes virus, you should be especially watchful for any of the following symptoms:

  • Unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as body and muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Running a fever
  • Difficulty urinating or pain and burning when urinating
  • Irritation or infection of the eye (indicates the virus has spread)

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible. He or she will be able to tell you for sure whether or not you have herpes. If you do, your healthcare provider can educate you on the type of herpes you have, what your management options are, and how you can reduce the risk of spreading the disease to your sexual partners. There is no cure for genital herpes, but fortunately, there are many ways to make living with the disease more manageable.