Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

anonymous on September 14, 2011

I had oral sex seven months ago and just noticed some bumps on my vagina...do I have herpes?

The last time I had sexual contact with anyone was about 7 months ago. I've never had sexual intercourse; however, I have performed oral sex and had it performed on me (without a dental dam). I have developed a mild itch and redness on my labia majora and I noticed one or two hard, painless bumps on my labia minora. Do I have herpes? 

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on September 14, 2011

Thank you for the detailed description of your symptoms to help me understand what you’re experiencing. 

First, your symptoms may or may not be related to your sexual encounter. But unprotected oral sex definitely puts you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 

Because your symptoms aren’t unique to any one STD, I would encourage you to play it safe ⎼ talk to your doctor and get tested for all of the usual STD suspects, including herpes 1 and 2, gonorrhea and chlamydia, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and HIV. I would also suggest that you see your doctor to get checked out for other conditions that might be causing your symptoms, like a harmless yeast infection. 

If it turns out that you have herpes, it might be herpes type 1 (HSV-1), which is typically transmitted from mouth to genitals during oral sex. The good news is that herpes can be effectively treated with oral antiviral medications that can prevent or shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks, and help decrease the risk of passing the virus to a sexual partner. You can learn about herpes and other STDs in our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2 and our Expert Guide to STD Basics.  

Last, but not least, I encourage you and your partner(s) to use latex dental dams or condoms during all sexual activities...unless you are in a mutually monogamous relationship in which you and your partner know each other’s STD status. 

Thank you so much for your important question, and I wish you good health and a speedy resolution to your symptoms. 

Related info:

CDC: Herpes Fact Sheet

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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