According to the experts, approximately 500,000 to 1 million new infections of genital herpes occur each year. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases around. Although the disease primarily affects women, men are also at risk of getting genital herpes, particularly if they engage in anal sex.
Unfortunately, many men do not realize they have genital herpes. They may not present any symptoms or the symptoms they do have are very mild and easily ignored. Because a man ejaculates his semen into his sexual partner, it is easier for him to spread the disease to others. It is important to understand what the genital herpes symptoms in men are and to immediately get yourself checked out if you begin to display them.
The most common symptom of genital herpes is the blisters that erupt on the genitals. Approximately 1 to 3 mm in size, they form in clusters on the scrotum, penis, urethra, in or around the anus, thighs, and buttocks. They may be red or pink in appearance, tender to the touch, and filled with a clear or yellow liquid. The infected skin may feel tingly, itchy, or painful prior to an outbreak.
Other Symptoms of Genital Herpes
In addition to the lesions, a man may present some or all of the following symptoms:
- Decreased appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches
- Painful urination
- Tingling, itching, or pain in the infected area prior to an outbreak
The lesions can form inside of the urethra and cause it to swell closed. If this occurs, you will need to use a catheter to empty your bladder until the outbreak passes.
Diagnosing Genital Herpes
Typically, the doctor will drain fluid from one of the blisters and test it for the herpes simplex virus. A blood test may also be conducted to check for antibodies related to HSV.
Treating Genital Herpes in Men
Currently there is no cure for genital herpes. The standard of care in the medical community is to prescribe antiviral medications that reduce or eliminate the number of outbreaks a man experiences. However, prescription drugs can cause serious side effects. For example, Zovirax can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and swelling in the hands and feet.
A man is most contagious when the virus is active in his body. However, he can prevent passing the virus onto his sexual partner by wearing a condom during anal, vaginal, or oral sex, or using a dental dam when performing oral sex on a female partner.