Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
What is genital herpes in women?
What are the symptoms of genital herpes in women?
Christopher R. Lynch, MD on November 21, 2011
Thanks for your question. It’s a good one because even though the symptoms of genital herpes in women are similar to those in men, it can be helpful to be more specific.
Although most people (men and women) don’t notice any signs or symptoms when they become infected with herpes, those who do may experience tingling, pain or burning in the genital area. A short time later, small blisters that become red open sores are also common signs of genital herpes.
Genital herpes in women can cause sores on the skin of the vulva or inside the vagina on the cervix. It’s also possible for sores to occur on the anus or buttocks. Herpes sores may also occur on the thighs, although this is less common.
Other signs of genital herpes in women include:
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, muscle ache)
- Itching, tingling or discomfort in the vaginal area
- Pain or discomfort with urination
- Vaginal discharge
- Swollen lymph glands
The first outbreak of herpes is often the most severe...but recurring outbreaks may happen. Typically recurring outbreaks can be set off by stress, illness, fatigue, menstruation and even sun exposure.
If you have any signs or symptoms that could be herpes, I encourage you to visit a doctor. Or if you don’t currently have symptoms, you might consider our Herpes Simplex Virus Type-Specific HSV-1/2 IgG blood test. This looks for antibodies to the types of herpes that can cause oral and genital herpes and can tell you if you’re infected.
And you can learn more about our herpes test, in our Expert Guides.
Thanks again for sharing your question with us and I wish you good health.
Dr. Lynch is President of the Analyte Physicians Group. He is also attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Warren Barr Pavilion Skilled Nursing Facility, the Methodist Home Skilled Nursing Facility and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Providing both inpatient and outpatient care, his areas of expertise include STDs, women's health, preventive care, asthma, cardiomyopathies, diabetes, mood and anxiety disorders, and rheumatological disease. Dr. Lynch was educated at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX and completed his residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center.