Initially there is a stinging sensation in a localized point, then after a short time, this place will appear as a reddish area that will be covered with small blisters, sometimes 2-3 in number, sometimes a little more, with blisters that are filled with a transparent liquid. This liquid is highly infectious. Blisters are very painful and shortly after the blisters break, they dry out and get covered by crusts. Most people infected with genital herpes are asymptomatic or have minor symptoms and signs. The signs and symptoms that may appear immediately after contracting the virus are:
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Dysuria (burning sensation during urination)
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
After this, the virus retreats into the nervous system, where it remains dormant, until certain triggers occur that reactivate it. Typically, subsequent appearances of the lesions manifest several weeks or even months after the first outbreak. In most cases, they are less severe and shorter than the first episode. Although the virus remains in the body indefinitely, the number of active episodes tends to decrease after a number of years, as the body slowly begins to tolerate the infection with every occurring infectious spike.
If case of the first infection, these events are accompanied by painful urination (if the blisters are located in the genital area), burning sensation at the eruption site, headache, back pain, malaise (a general sensation of feeling ill). Women may experience watery vaginal discharges, and in males, urethral discharges.
The first appearance of herpes can spread over a period of several weeks. In case of the first infection, the period between the first outbreak and the disappearance of the blisters can stretch over a period of 3-4 weeks. In the event of relapses the symptoms get milder, the number of blisters decreases, and the period between the eruptions until the disappearance of the ulcerations is even more reduced, lasting no more than 10 days.