Gonorrhea versus Herpes Simplex Virus
Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD), and so is herpes. These and other STDs can be detected through simple blood and lab tests. Since they can both lead to very serious and in some cases life-threatening situations when left untreated, it makes sense to schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if you suffer from either one of these issues.
According to the World Health Organization, there are 357 million new cases of the four most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reported each year, one of them being gonorrhea.
Herpes is even more pervasive. While 67% of men and women with the herpes virus (either simplex 1 or simplex 2) will never show symptoms or have adverse effects from the infection, they can still transmit the disease. When symptoms do appear, serious complications can arise if the situation is not treated quickly and properly.
Medical information indicates that as many as 2 in every 3 people between the ages of 15 and 50 currently have some type of herpes infection.
There are two different herpes viruses, simplex 1 (HSV-1) and simplex 2 (HSV-2). Herpes initially appears in or around the genitals or the mouth, which leads to these infections being referred to as genital herpes and oral herpes. As mentioned above, in most cases, you may have the herpes virus and never show any signs or symptoms. You may not experience any negative consequences because of the virus. Human beings have tons of bacterial and viral lifeforms inside them, and in most cases, they do not lead to any adverse health effects.
When herpes does provide symptoms, the most common sign is a red blister or sore. These blisters can be painful, and they often burst, expelling a pus-like substance. Herpes is highly contagious when a breakout is experienced, but can be passed to someone else even when no symptoms are present. Oral-to-genital, genital-to-genital and oral-to-oral contact are the most common ways the herpes virus is passed from one person to another.
However, herpes can be transmitted through incidental contact.
If someone has oral herpes and drinks from a container, and then someone else drinks from that same container, the virus can be passed. Aside from red blisters or sores, the herpes sufferer may experience an unexpected or abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina, pain during sex or while urinating, and aches and pains around the infected site. Symptoms may also include fever and headaches, a tingling, burning sensation, fatigue and weariness. Severe complications include encephalitis, meningitis, partial or total loss of vision, brain-based disorders and other serious health problems.
Additionally, herpes symptoms tend to flareup and to go into remission, rather than stay present over a long period of time.
This sexually transmitted disease is not always easy to spot, but it can impact your life negatively whether or not you show symptoms. Men are generally more likely to show symptoms of gonorrhea than women. However, a woman's ability to give birth can be severely affected by gonorrhea. Even in the advanced medical times in which we live, gonorrhea is still responsible for stillbirths and miscarriages, and even infertility among women.
Gonorrhea is passed through oral, anal or vaginal sex, and mothers can pass gonorrhea to a newborn child. If symptoms appear, they usually do so about 10 to 12 days after infection occurs. Symptoms in women include painful urination and pain during sex, rectal pain, abnormal discharge of fluids, inflammation in or around the eyes, nausea, lower back pain, sore throat and bleeding between periods.
The most common gonorrhea symptoms for men include frequent and painful urination, pain in the rectum and rectal bleeding, inflamed eyes, and an abnormal discharge from the penis. Less common symptoms include an itching, burning sensation around the head of the penis, a sore throat and pain in the testicles.
Symptoms of HSV in Men and Women
Herpes is an unfortunately common infection which plagues a lot of people. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that approximately 2 in every 3 people under 50 years of age are currently infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Herpes simplex 1 generally displays no symptoms, and additionally, causes no serious health complications. Most people don't even realize they have the herpes virus inside them.
There is one other type of herpes, herpes simplex virus type 2. HSV-2 plagues nearly 500 million people between the ages of 15 and 49, according to WHO. Combine those statistics, and you see that more than 4.5 billion people between the ages of 15 and 50 have some type of herpes. Herpes simplex 2, like its less serious but equally frustrating and socially inhibiting simplex 1, is usually the cause for genital herpes, while HSV-1 most often appears around the mouth, creating oral herpes.
It should be noted that either of the two herpes strains can cause genital or oral herpes, depending on how the virus was contracted. As far as symptoms go, there are plenty of similarities and differences between men and women, depending upon the type of herpes infection.
Herpes Symptoms for Men
The most common symptom of oral herpes in men is blisters or sores. One or more blisters, often appearing in a cluster, will appear on or around the lips or mouth. They can create different levels of pain, and if the virus is not treated, oral herpes can cause swollen and tender lymph glands in the neck and under the arms. If the immunity of the infected male is very weak for whatever reason, difficulties can lead to flu symptoms, headaches, muscle aches and fever, and in extreme cases, the virus can move up into the eyes and the nervous system.
Genital herpes symptoms for men include the same types of blisters and sores, as well as the other signs of herpes just mentioned. Additionally, pain during urination or sex, pain in the upper thigh area, itching and burning around the infection site and fatigue are sometimes experienced. Less common symptoms include complications which lead to encephalitis, eye infections, meningitis and eczema.
Herpes Symptoms for Women
The symptoms of oral herpes in women mimic those just discussed for men. Painful blisters will appear on the lips or around the mouth, and they can lead to the complications just discussed for males who are infected with oral herpes. Women experiencing herpes in the genitals, anus or buttocks area may experience pain in the upper legs or genitals, a dramatic change in vaginal discharge, headaches and swollen glands, and a feeling of itching and tingling in and around the infection site.
After a few days of a genital herpes outbreak, a woman may experience ulcers and blisters near the infected area, but also in the urinary tract and on other parts of the body where the virus has migrated. Complications of genital herpes for women include transmittal to a newborn during pregnancy or delivery, bladder infections, encephalitis and meningitis, rectal inflammation, and an improved risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases at the infection site.
If there is any good news regarding herpes, it is this ... in 2 out of every 3 cases, there are no symptoms, physical or otherwise. Most people with the herpes virus never suffer any negative effects because of it. However, it is important to understand that even if you don't show symptoms, whether you are a woman or a man, you can pass the virus to others. If you have never been tested for herpes and other STDs, considering getting a test soon. Simple lab tests will reveal whether or not you are infected with the herpes virus.
Is It Herpes or Something Else – Conditions Confused with HSV
Both oral and genital herpes provide similar physical symptoms - blisters and sores, a red rash, and pain at the infection site. Unfortunately, these and other herpes symptoms can mirror non-herpes medical conditions, ailments and illnesses. Because of this, you may wonder if you have contracted herpes, or if another disease or health problem is at work.
Doctors familiar with herpes and the fact that it can produce symptoms common to other conditions can help you determine exactly what is going on. Before you consult a physician, which is always the right move when you don't understand what health hazard you have encountered, there are few questions you can ask yourself to help you narrow down the field of potential causes for your symptoms.
Are Your Symptoms Temporary or Permanent?
Do your signs of illness come and go? Do you experience a tingling sensation right before blisters appear, and then those blisters and other symptoms disappear after a short period of time? The herpes virus tends to last for anywhere from 3 to 14 days when genital herpes has been experienced. If you have a cold sore or another sign of oral herpes, a flareup usually has an 8 to 12 day duration. If your symptoms continue for longer than those periods of time, herpes may not be the issue.
Are Your Blisters Inside or Outside Your Mouth?
If you have blisters and sores appear on the outside of your mouth and around your lips, this could be a sign of the cold sores or so-called "fever blisters" which denote the presence of the herpes virus. If you experience similar sores and blisters on the inside of your mouth, these are probably canker sores. Canker sores are not symptomatic of herpes and will almost always heal themselves without treatment.
Do You Have a Cluster of Blisters, or Just a Few Which are Not Clustered?
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can produce what looks to be the blisters associated with genital herpes. Syphilis responds very well to antibiotics, especially when the condition is treated as quickly as it is diagnosed. Genital herpes often produces groups of blisters, not the few spread-out, blister-like chancres which are telltale signs of syphilis.
Is There a Burning and Itching of the Vagina Accompanying Painful Urination or an Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?
These are common signs of a yeast infection. A woman may experience an abnormal, thick, gray or white discharge, and may have pain during intercourse. Coupled with the symptoms above, this is usually sign of a bacterial or yeast infection, and not herpes. Men who get a yeast infection will often have no symptoms, but sometimes, a rash or burning sensation in the penis after sex is a sign of a yeast infection.
Remember that herpes can be detected through some simple lab tests. PCR blood tests and cell cultures can determine the presence of the herpes virus. If your symptoms have you confused as to whether or not you have herpes or some other health problem, it always makes sense to contact your doctor. If your doctor is new to testing for herpes, she can refer you to an urologist or dermatologist that can give you the answers you are looking for.
Common and Uncommon Symptoms of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2
The herpes simplex virus is usually just referred to as herpes. It can appear in two different strains, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Herpes simplex 1, sometimes called oral herpes, usually appears on or around the mouth. This is because it is most commonly transmitted by oral to oral contact, such as kissing, sharing someone's drinking container, or using an infected person's toothbrush. The HSV-1 virus can also cause a genital form of herpes.
HSV-2 is usually transmitted through sexual contact. Because of this, herpes simplex 2 generally shows symptoms around the genitals, the upper thigh areas, and the buttocks. HSV-2 causes genital herpes, and along with oral herpes, it is an infection that lasts a lifetime. As far as symptoms go, sometimes there are no signs that you have contracted herpes, either the first or second strain. When symptoms do occur, there are both common and infrequent signs to look for.
Common Signs You Have Developed the Herpes Virus
Oral herpes is extremely common. In many cases it is not very painful, and slightly noticeable if it is noticed at all. Small blisters or ulcers will develop around the mouth area, and when physical symptoms are present, this is when herpes is highly contagious. Bear in mind that someone has to come in direct physical contact with herpes blisters or sores for the virus to be transmitted.
Signs of oral herpes, almost always HSV- 1, are generally referred to as fever blisters or cold sores. HSV- 2 can also be present in and around the mouth, and in this case, was usually transmitted through oral/genital contact during sex. Common herpes simplex 1 symptoms include itching and tingling sensations around the infected site. In 2012, there were as many as 3.7 billion people with some form of oral herpes infection. Common symptoms for HSV-2 mimic the sores and blisters of HSV-1, and these blisters around the anal or genital regions are called ulcers. Genital herpes often causes an irregular discharge from the penis or vagina.
Uncommon Herpes Symptoms
In addition to the mild to medium pain around the infection site due to blisters and sores, herpes simplex 1 and simplex 2 can cause the following uncommon problems. When left untreated and a weakened immune system is also present, due to some chronic illness, side-effect of medication or another reason, herpes can cause high fever and headaches.
Swollen lymph nodes may also appear, along with body aches, and pain in the hips, buttocks and legs with genital herpes. These symptoms usually come and go as the herpes becomes dormant and recurs, which is typical with the herpes virus. Difficulty urinating may also be experienced, and in rare cases, a herpes infection can cause the spinal cord to become inflamed to the point where pain is experienced in the eyes, and a stiff, painful neck may also be present.
A Look at Different Types of Herpes Virus
Herpes is a rather common infection that plagues men and women, young and old alike. If you are in your mid to late teens or twenties, you are more prone to become infected by the herpes virus. This happens for a number of reasons. Regardless the factor that puts you more at risk for herpes between the ages of 15 and 29, it makes sense if you are in this age group to get tested for herpes and other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) as soon as possible.
Just because younger people are more inclined to contract herpes does not mean older adults should ignore the possibility that they may have the herpes virus within them. Whether you are 15 or 50, male or female, you have approximately a 2 in 3 chance of being infected by one of the two different strains of the herpes virus.
Herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) are the two different kinds of herpes. HSV-1 is usually encountered on the lips and the mouth area. HSV-2 usually appears around the genitals, or the buttocks, anus and upper thigh areas. In some cases, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, and HSV-2 can cause oral herpes. The reason why the two different strains of herpes appear where they do has everything to do with how the virus is transmitted.
Oral-to-Oral, Oral-to-Genital or Genital-to-Genital
Genital herpes is given its name because it is usually transmitted when someone's genitals come into contact with the genitals of another person. Genital to genital contact is the most common form of genital herpes, when someone has the herpes virus in or around their genital area, and they pass it to the genitals of another person.
In the case of oral sex, oral herpes can lead to genital herpes, or genital herpes can be passed to the oral region of a sex partner, causing oral herpes. Regardless of which herpes simplex is involved, initial symptoms are generally similar.
The first outbreak of oral or genital herpes will often be precluded by a tingling, burning, itching sensation. This can happen around the mouth, the genitals, the buttocks or the upper thighs. Soon afterward, one or more blisters will appear, often in a cluster. These blisters can be painful and can pop or break, releasing a thick pus-like liquid.
It is at this stage that herpes is the most contagious. Soon afterward, from a few days to a couple of weeks, symptoms will dissipate and eventually disappear. Sometimes, when the host has a healthy immune system, the herpes virus will become dormant and never awaken again. In many cases though, someone that experiences an outbreak of herpes will have one or more flareups in the future, sometimes several times a year.
Concerning oral and genital herpes, early detection leads to the most effective management of this infection. Regardless of your sexual practices, it makes sense to get tested for herpes and other STDs regularly, at least once every couple of years. Since complications can be extremely serious, and herpes can lead to low levels of self-esteem and social withdrawal, it pays to find out whether or not you are infected with this extremely common virus, so you can treat it properly before it spreads, and causes more emotional and physical damage.