Genital herpes is one of the most common and dreaded sexually transmitted infections. About one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition is slightly more common in women, as the virus can more easily infect a vagina as opposed to a penis. Here are the most common herpes symptoms in women.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the herpes virus is spread by skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the herpes virus, and who has visible sores, but you can also contract the virus from people with healthy looking skin. The herpes virus can enter the body through the the mouth, labia, vagina or even regular skin that has small cracks or cuts.
Women who have the herpes virus may have no outbreaks or signs of infection, and as a result, many do not know they have it.
For those who do have outbreaks, the first usually occurs within two weeks after contracting the virus from an infected person. Common symptoms in the first outbreak include:
Tingling or burning feeling in the vaginal or anal area
Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and swollen glands
Pain in the legs, buttocks, or vaginal area
A change in vaginal discharge
Painful or difficult urination
A feeling of pressure in the area below the stomach
Painful sores on the part of the body where the virus entered.
Future outbreaks can occur after the first, but these are usually less severe than the initial outbreak. With time, these outbreaks also occur less often. Condoms can seriously decrease your likeliness of catching the virus, but the virus can still spread from parts of the body that the condom does not cover.
According to the CDC, pregnant women with herpes need to discuss their condition with their doctor as herpes can increase risk of miscarriage, and can be passed from mother to child during delivery.