Herpes Expert Forum
Dr. H please help! Can extreme anxiety and guilt cause sensitivity/burn...
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Dr. H please help! Can extreme anxiety and guilt cause sensitivity/burning

About 20 days ago I cheated on my gf & had unprotected oral and vaginal sex w/ a stranger. I was intoxicated & unable to keep an erection so was inside for about 60 secs.  This situation is causing extreme anxiety & guilt.   The next 2 days I began to feel a general discomfort in my genitals and a heightened awarness of the boxer shorts region. I feel every itch, tickle, rub...  I began looking up symptoms of STDs which began to feed into my already high anxiety. I've taken 2 std panels (5 days and 2 1/2 weeks after contact) both neagtive except HSV1 & doc told me they should be accurate.

My symptoms at the moment seem to be a sensitive/warm penis head and sometimes a cool sensation on the tip of my penis but when I check, no discharge. I was experiencing some pain in my lower back and near my lymphnodes and legs (especially after a 24 hours of driving in 3 days). I have yet to see any sores, swollen lymphnodes, discharge, or any real visual symptoms. All symptoms seem to be only on left side of body and I have a damaged lymphnode on that side from a previous uti. The symptoms I do have seem to be way worse when I begin to dwell on my infidelity, guilt and anxiety is high. And I usually have 1 or 2 at a time.When I calm down they seem to go away. I know I sound like a nut case and I feel loonier than Saturday morning cartoons but I am generally worried about my physical, mental, and emotional health. I already have 2 apps set up with psychologists for next week. Over the past 3 weeks I've had every std in the book, at least in my mind. It's just scary because sometimes the symptoms feel so real and other times they are nonexsistant.

So my questions are, can extreme anxiety and guilt cause some of these symptoms or can HSV2 symptoms turn off and on like a faucet? Could it be when I'm anxcious the virus pops up and as soon as I calm down it goes away? What is the real likelyhood of contarcting HSV2 in my situation? Could the HSV1 affect my penis?
55646_tn?1263664409
Yes, extreme anxiety and guilt can certainly contribute greatly to perceiving abnormal body sensations.  I have nothing to feel guilty about, but if I sat here, right now, and focused very intently on sensations in the genital regions, I could probably perceive something that was slightly itchy or tingling.  We all have body sensations that most of the time, we pay not attention to whatsoever.  They have no meaning, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.  In my experience of 30 years running an STD clinic, when people have a sexual encounter outside of their normal relationship, they begin to be aware of every single body sensation they have.  Not only do they become aware, but they give these feelings meaning - that is, that there might be something wrong, like an STD, like herpes.  

In it's extreme form, this is what panic attacks are about - they are misperceiving normal body sensations as abnormal, and escalating from there.  

It think the chances of you contracting herpes in the situation that you describe is incredibly small.  You've been tested for the STDs that you might have more likely contracted, I'm assuming, and they are negative.  If you develop sores, please do to seen immediately.  Otherwise, try to work on your thinking.  You've got a good start, recognizing that you have these sensations when you focus, but not when you don't.  

I know this is difficult, but I think you will be OK.

Terri
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55646_tn?1263664409
Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
Portland, OR
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