Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that currently there is no cure for. The virus is transmitted through close personal contact with an infected person during an outbreak, or when sores are present. There are two different types of the virus that cause genital herpes in women. The first one is called herpes simplex virus 1. This type of the virus typically causes sores and blisters around the mouth, although it can also cause sores around the genitallia. The second is called herpes simplex virus 2. This type of herpes usually causes sores, blisters or lesions around the anus area and also around the vaginal and penile areas.
Although both men and women can be infected with herpes, women are four times more likely to contract this disease. This may be because a women’s genital region has a bigger area of moist cells with body fluid than men do. Women also have more hormone changes, including each month with their menstrual cycle, which affects the immune system making it easier to catch the disease and have an outbreak.
Women may not know they have the virus because they are less prone to have symptoms or outbreaks of sores and lesions than men. Genital herpes in women can also be more difficult to diagnose because some women have no symptoms whatsoever. Other symptoms can mimic the likes of another infection or disease like a yeast infection, urinary tract infection, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Symptoms of genital herpes in women can be as subtle as mild itching, mild irritation during urination, mild rash, all with minimum discomfort. Usually a women’s first outbreak is the most painful and the most noticeable. This can include sores and lesions appearing in one or more of the following areas: the cervix, urethra, inside of the vagina, outer vagina, in and around the anus, upper and inner thighs, and in or around the mouth. These sores can be present for as long as three weeks or longer, depending on the amount of infectious cells contained in them.
Besides the sores, a woman’s first outbreak symptoms can also include vaginal discharge, swollen lymph node glands in the groin, and burning sensation during urination.