ZocdocAnswersIs this folliculitis or herpes?

Question

Is this folliculitis or herpes?

I had sex about two days ago and noticed red bumps on my pubic area. I had showered and shaved my pubic area about a half hour before I had intercourse. The person I slept with had not had an outbreak in weeks, and from what I have heard, herpes does not show up right after sexual intercourse. These bumps showed up right away, and are red around all hair follicles, there is one "swollen" looking bump, that I had been able to squeeze and a white puss had come out (kind of like an ingrown hair) but is still swollen. I am very scared and unable to get to a doctor until next week due to being in college. I am a female, if that helps. The area was a little itchy yesterday, like the feeling of when hair is growing in. What can I do to check to see which it is? How can I help it if it is folliculitis? Could the bumps have been caused by the friction of sex right after shaving (with a dull razor may I add). Someone please help.

Answer

Your condition does sound a lot like inflammation of the hair follicles (called folliculitis), though I recommend that you speak with your doctor or ob/gyn. The swollen bump you describe could well be an ingrown hair or a furuncle or carbuncle, which are basically small abscesses. Friction and shaving with a dull razor are possible risk factors for folliculitis, which can usually be managed conservatively with time and warm compresses. Genital herpes usually causes small blisters that are small and usually extremely painful (causing a kind of burning pain). Another condition called hidradenitis supperativa can cause itching, redness and small lesions that look similar to acne that can rupture and then connect to each other to cause a tract within the skin. Other skin conditions such as drug rashes, yeast (or candida infection) or insect bites can also cause lesions that look similar. If you have any concern about this rash you should speak with either your primary care physician or your ob/gyn. It should be ok to wait a week, though I would go to the hospital sooner if you develop fevers, chills, or lump that is painful, filled with pus, and growing in size. If your partner has herpes, it would be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor to determine how you can minimize your risk of transmission of this infection, especially since this is clearly an issue that is worrying you.

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