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Genital herpes is a painful condition caused by the herpes simplex 2 virus. This condition results in eruption of multiple sores on the skin areas near the genitals such as the vagina, penis and the anus. Not all cases of genital herpes result in visible symptoms. There are some stages of genital herpes in which the symptoms or sores in particular gradually develop.

The stages of genital herpes start with development of redness in areas of skin and the skin may seem itchy or sensitive. Eventually swelling can be observed and small cluster of blisters develop on the skin. These blisters may be filled with a clear or whitish fluid. Eventually the top portions of the blisters may come off and wet ulcers may appear and these sores may feel raw or tender to touch. With time scab forms on the wet ulcers and the sores heal. As the crusts harden the sores dry out and new skin forms beneath the scabs.

As per the stages of genital herpes the crusts fall off and with this the sores heal. The area of the sores may look slightly different from the skin that surrounds it. During an asymptomatic phase the virus is normally dormant and so there are no visible symptoms. However in this period the virus may be replicating itself and this is known as viral shedding. In this stage a person can spread the virus around even if no clear symptoms are visible.

It is important to understand that while there are eight stages of genital herpes not all stages may be experienced in all the cases. In some cases a few of these stages may be experienced. In many cases patients are able to sense the onset and activation of the virus. Patients may also be able to sense when the outbreak is bound to occur. This is called the warning stage or the prodrome signs.

The initial warning signs in the stages of genital herpes may also include pain in the legs or the buttocks along with flu like symptoms, headache, swollen lymph nodes and irritability or depression. The period between outbreaks may be days, weeks or even months and years. There is no way of predicted when the recurrences may be experienced.

There is no permanent cure for genital herpes and patients have to take antiviral medication to reduce the symptoms. Anti viral medication such as famciclovir, acyclovir and valaciclovir also helps in increasing the time period between outbreaks and also helps in reducing the severity of the outbreaks. It is advisable for those suffering from genital herpes to wear loose clothing and avoid sexual contact particularly when the virus is active.


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