Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What are the symptoms of herpes?"
How do you know if you have herpes? I know the symptoms include sores and bumps, but those seem associated with a lot of STDs and other problems. As a sexually active young guy I have to know what to look for, and I'm not sure my clinic even tests for herpes.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of STDs is important for early detection and treatment. You can greatly reduce your likelihood of getting herpes by wearing protection every time you have sex. If you have an unprotected encounter and have any concerning symptoms afterwards, you should be seen by a physician right away.
See a doctor who can help
Find a Primary care-doctors near you
Genital herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. You are correct in that it can cause sores and bumps. Herpes can be distinguished from the other STDs in that it causes burning very painful blisters that are usually associated with fever. These ulcers are the worst on your initial infection. After a couple of weeks, they typically go away. Without treatment the lesions return usually during times of stress or when our immune system is knocked down somewhat. Other causes of genital "bumps" such as HPV (genital warts), and Syphilis are painless lesions. This is probably the best way for you to tell the difference. I must stress that patients do report some overlapping symptoms and thus, only a qualified health care professional can diagnose genital herpes. Keep in mind the most important treatment for STDs is prevention. Always use a condom. You should see a primary care physician regularly to insure that no disease goes undetected. Good luck.
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.