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Allergy, erythema multiforme, herpes?
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Allergy, erythema multiforme, herpes?

I had this initial problem back in 2000.  After a long car ride with the sun in my face most of the day, I began to get a tingling sensation in my lips (I had not been drinking alcohol).  That night, my lips and penis were swelled up significantly.  After a day or two, water-blisters formed on my lips and penis (they were yellowish).  They eventually broke, and turned into red sores on my penis.  I also got canker sores in my mouth to the point it was difficult to eat, and cold sores on my lips.  I saw a doc about the mouth sores (too embarrassed about the others) and he gave me meds which eventually got rid of the canker sores.  This happened to me again a few months later, and has happened probably 3-4 times total since then.  All the other times it has occurred, sun exposure and drinking alcohol seem to be the only similar factors.  After this exposure, I get a tingling sensation in my lips and my penis itches pretty badly.  The second time it happened I saw a doc who saw me at the "swelled" stage and said I had an allergic reaction.  He gave me some antihistamine, which reduced the swelling, but I went back to him several days later when the sores had formed and he was shocked at what had happened.  He had me do a blood test for herpes, which came back negative (however, this has been some time ago and I don't remember the exact timeline, I believe he also prescribed acyclovir which I've been told can mask herpes in the blood test).  After this blood test came back negative I saw an allergist and a dermatologist.  The dermatologist diagnosed me with erythema multiforme, but said he couldn't be sure if I had herpes or not until I had another outbreak and he did a culture sample.  That has been a couple years ago, and I have been very careful to not drink and be out in the sun without sunscreen and protective lip balm on.  I am still not 100% positive I don't have herpes, though the blood test did come back negative (it had also been close to a year since I'd had sex when I had the first "episode," and I was not sure how long the virus takes to pop up after exposure).  I've had a few sexual partners since then, and I have been hesitant to bring it up with them since I was told I did not have the virus (don't want to cause undue worry).  At the same time, I don't want to be dishonest with future partners.  

My question is: does this sound like a simple allergic reaction, does it sound like it's for sure herpes, or erythema multiforme brought on by an allergy, or something else?  I have scoured the web for cases like mine and have yet to find them.  Other symptoms of an outbreak include swollen glands in the neck, general malaise, and clay-colored, strange-smelling stools.

I'm hoping this is some weird allergy since the sores only happen after I get the swelling.  In my research on erythema multiforme, I have learned it usually crops up on the extremeties (hands, etc) which was not the case with me.

Any help/advice would be great!
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242489_tn?1210500813
It sounds like erythema multiforme.  Only a small percentage (perhaps 15%) of cases of this condition are triggered by herpes, and the herpes that triggers them is not the sexual herpes but lip cold sores.  The rest of the cases are triggered either by drugs (penicillin, seizure medications) or by nothing at all.

In other words, you have nothing to tell prospective partners about, especially if your tests were negative (and no, Acyclovir doesn't mask them.)  I suggest you check with the doctor who ordered them to be sure of the results and implications, but if they're negative, that's it, and your erythema multiforme doesn't change that at all.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm allergic to penicilin, is it ok for me to take Famvir, Zovirax, or Valtrex for herpes..?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey, listen at this!

I had similar symptoms 12 years ago.
It becomes with a slight tingling sentation that can even pass unfelt.

On an hour or less, terrible blisters formed on my penis, and in my mouth, and tongue, so painful I hardly could even talk, nor eat.

These episodes lasted for days, with no evident correlation between them.

Finally I went to doctor, who just asked me whether I had any medication just before the episodes. I usually had antibiotics on every flu, o throat symptom, so it sounded correct. I had swallowing 'Septrin' for years from infant, which is a sulphonamid medication. He said I could be sulphonamid allergic.

So, I gave it away forever, and I had this terrible symptoms no more in my life!!

I hope it can be helpful for you =)
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, erythema multeforme was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
Could be quinine allergy. Quinine is in tonic water and bitter lemon drinks
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