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Genital Herpes Blister Stages

Genital herpes blisters are squishy pus-filled-fluids sores caused by the herpes simplex virus.

It is a sexually transmitted infection commonly transmitted through any form of sexual contact including anal, genital, or oral sex.

These blisters develop in surrounding areas of the genital such as the labia, vulva, and vagina.

Although outbreaks may sometimes occur for a long period, there are steps you can take to treat symptoms and manage outbreaks.

What Are Genital Herpes Blisters Like?

Genital herpes blisters are sores or lesions filled with fluids. It is a sexually transmitted infection caused by one of the herpes viruses which includes;

The Herpes simplex virus is also known as oral herpes which mostly affects the mouth.

The Herpes simplex virus (HSV-2) is called genitals herpes and affects the genitals. This genital herpes virus can be contracted through genital bodily fluids and saliva.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated study shows that the HSV-1 virus is prevalent in 67 percent of people under the age of 50 years old and 11 percent of 15 to 49-year-olds have the HSV-2 infection worldwide.

Genital herpes blisters vary in size and number and affect both males and females. However, outbreaks are more common in females than men.

Females with genital herpes blisters may develop sores inside the vagina or on the outer part of the genitals including the vulva and labia.

Men with this condition also develop blisters on and around the penis. These blisters look like small red or white pimples that become larger red, white or yellow fluid-filled sores.

Genital herpes blisters in males and females burst afterward and then crust over.

Are Genital Herpes Blisters Soft Or Hard?

Genital herpes blisters are often mistaken for minor bumps and pimples because of their similarities.

However, a genital herpes blister will develop into a pus-filled blister. These blisters feel soft and squishy compared to a pimple.

They may appear as one sore or be in clusters, depending on the severity. You may also experience other symptoms such as;

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
  • Open, red wounds on and around the anus

When you experience symptoms of this infection, it is often called an outbreak.

Although some people have few or no symptoms, typical symptoms of genital herpes blisters will occur within the first few weeks after contracting the virus.

The first few symptoms are usually the worst but they become milder.

What Are The Genital Herpes Blisters Stages?

A typical outbreak of genital herpes blisters occurs in 4 stages which include;

The Prodrome Stage

This is the first stage of a genital herpes blister showing the onset of infection.

During this stage, the virus progresses to the surface of the skin and causes redness, painful urination, pain, burn, and itchy sensation in the affected area and surrounding areas.

Other symptoms include fever, headache, swollen glands, and other flu-like symptoms. Although blisters do not form during this stage, the skin becomes highly contagious.

The Blister Stage

The blisters stage is characterized by the formation of blisters, small red bumps filled with clear to whitish-yellow fluids.

These blisters are usually painful and extremely sensitive, the skin around these blisters may appear red and irritated. Blisters may also develop in single sores or clusters of many.

Often, blisters may be mistaken for razor burns, ingrown hairs, or pimples. Fever-like symptoms may also continue through this phase.

The Ulcer Stage

This is the third stage of the genital herpes blisters where the blisters burst and drain.

Afterward, open sores known as ulcers will develop. These look like pink or red-colored wounds that bleed or ooze fluids.

Ulcers are more painful than blisters and build up white-yellow colored fluids that harden and crust after the affected area dries out.

The Healing Stage

This stage often takes a long time because ulcers and blisters take a while before reaching this phase.

First outbreaks take between 2 to 4 weeks of healing while subsequent healing of outbreaks is quicker and takes a shorter amount of time. 

How Quickly Do Genital Herpes Blisters Form?

The average time frame for genital herpes blisters to form is usually between 2 to 12 days after exposure, but this may also range from 4 to 7 days.

This is usually after the prodrome phase, the first stage that shows the onset of an infection.

During this incubation period, your body tries to produce antibodies, an immune response to the infection.

For some people, symptoms may not appear at the onset and may still test negative for the virus if their body has not produced enough antibodies to help fight against the virus.

How Long Do Genital Herpes Blisters Last?

The occurring period for genital herpes blisters depends on a range of factors;

If it is your first or subsequent outbreak

The type of outbreak, is it an oral type of herpes or genital herpes?

A first-time Genital herpes blister may occur for 14 days while healing lasts for as long as 6 weeks or fewer. Meanwhile, subsequent outbreaks last for a shorter time.

A typical genital herpes blister occurs in stages and this may vary depending on the severity of your condition.

However, the healing stage is often the longest phase. Since blisters heal from outside-in and are easily prone to unexpected occurrences, healing dried and crusted ulcers or open wounds may become inflamed and bleed fluids that affect the healing phase.

Prevention Of Genital Herpes Blisters

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection and having multiple sexual partners can increase your chances of contracting this infection.

The best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections including genital herpes blisters is to avoid oral, anal, or vaginal sex. However, you can also follow these tips;

Use Condoms

Condoms are one of the proven ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections when having sex.

This is because having oral, anal, or vaginal sex with an infected partner with no protective barrier makes you susceptible to any STI they may have.

Get Tested

Be sure to go for regular tests and checkups with your partner. It is also advisable to go for tests before having sex with a new partner.

Limit your sexual partners

Having multiple sexual partners makes you liable to a variety of sexually transmitted infections. If possible, reduce the number of partners to prevent infections.

Stop Douching

Douching is cleansing mostly done by females to clean the inner parts of the genitals, the vagina.

Not only does this upset your natural PH balance, but it also reduces and weakens the normal bacteria in the vagina that protect against STIs

Genital herpes blisters may vary in size and number and do not have a permanent cure.

Although they may clear up eventually, you may still experience subsequent outbreaks.

But you can reduce the risk of contracting and transmitting this infection by avoiding skin-to-skin contact during symptom flare-ups. You should also use a condom during outbreaks.

MedicalNewsToday: What Does Herpes Look Like

WebMD: All about HPV

Superdrug Online Store: What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes

Air Doctor: What Are The Herpes Outbreak Stages

Healthline: How Long Does It Takes For Herpes Symptoms To Appear Or Be Detected On A Test

Healthguide: How Long Does A Herpes Outbreak Last

OASH: Genital Herpes

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