Herpes is a contagious disease caused by herpes simplex virus, which can be type 1 (HSV-1) or type two (HSV-2). Based on where the symptoms are located, herpes can be divided into oral herpes and genital herpes. Oral herpes affects the lips and mouth and it is also called cold sore or fever blister. Genital herpes, simply referred to as herpes, affects the male and female sex organs.
Symptoms of oral herpes in men
Oral herpes commonly appears on the lips, but it can develop inside the mouth as well as on tongue, cheeks, throat and gums. Internal herpes usually causes problems when swallowing and it can be quite painful.
The most common forms of oral herpes are cold sores or fever blisters. Usually the area where herpes will develop turns slightly red and causes itching. After a few hours, one or more blisters form. Blisters are painful to touch and they are filled with liquid. During the next stage the blisters will rupture and the liquid will leak. There may be some bleeding as well. Blisters usually go away within two weeks. The crust is then formed where the blisters were, and if it is touched, picked at or removed, it can leave a scar that, in most cases, disappears after some time.
Other symptoms of oral herpes may include fatigue, headache, muscle ache, swollen lymph glands and low grade fever.
Symptoms of genital herpes in men
Herpes simplex virus can affect the genital region as well, mainly the scrotum, the penis or the rectum. The skin becomes bright red with scarlet sores or blisters all over it, and it is also sensitive or painful to touch. Like in oral herpes, before the sores appear there may be an itching or burning sensation, especially during sexual intercourse or urination.
Aside from swelling, redness and sores on the skin in the genital region, the general symptoms of the infection in men commonly include fever, headache, muscle ache, fatigue, tiredness, lower back pain and swollen lymph glands in the groin.
It is important to realize that the infection can be hidden and not necessarily show these symptoms. This is especially common in men, who can be infected and carry the virus without even knowing it. The virus in such cases goes away on its own, without significant complications, but since the person can be the carrier, he or she can pass the virus to the sexual partners.
Genital herpes should be reported to a doctor as soon as it is noticed, because that way the infection can be treated before the symptoms worsen and before possible complications set in.