STDs Expert Forum
Herpes and UTI Connection
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Herpes and UTI Connection

Hi doc.  I am pretty sure I have genital herpes.  About 2 weeks ago when I was urinating I thought I had a pimple because it felt strange but I felt down there but there was nothing there.  The feeling went away and then a few days later I felt a little pain and looked in the mirror and had what looked like a scratch or sore, a long oblong shape, near my vaginal opening.  I never saw a blister but it could have been there.  A few days after, it burned when I urinated for 2 days and it is now almost healed and gone.  I am now having what I think is a urinary tract infection, back pain, chills, slight fever, and bubbles in my urine.  I assume this is herpes related but it seems strange that this started when the other sore went away.  I thought maybe I had herpes in my cervix or urinary tract but I have no discomfort, itching, or pain, it has never hurt to urinate (other than over the 1 sore).  

I do not have medical insurance and just can't afford to go the the dr right now.  On the whole I'm feeling pretty good.  I did have unprotected sex with 1 person about 30 times in the past year and this has been the first symptom of herpes I have had but I also have HSV1 so I thought I would not have a primary genital outbreak.  My partner says he has not noticed anything unusual but I know many people experience no symptoms.  I'm not looking at it as the end of the world just an inconvenience and I could be much worse off.  Anyway, my questions are:

1.  Does herpes cause a urinary tract infection?
2.  Is it possible for herpes to be in my urinary tract/cervix and feel no pain?
3.  If it just is coincidental, are there any home remedies for what I think is the uti?
4.  Any other advice or suggestions?
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Your symptoms sound consistent with genital herpes, but not typical.  You should not assume you have it; you need to be tested.  Also, you describe no symptoms that make me suspicious you have a urinary tract infection.  But to answer your specific questions:

1) No, herpes does not cause UTI.

2) Infections of the cervix, whether herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or anything else, almost always are painless.  The cervix has very few pain nerves.  However, the lower urinary tract (urethra, bladder) is full of sensitive pain nerves, and herpes of those sites generally would be highly painful.

3) There is no reliable home remedy for a UTI.  Prescription antibiotics are required for adequate treatment.  But as I said, there is no evidence--based on your description--that you have a UTI anyway.

4) Yes, I have other advice/suggestions.  Stop trying to figure things out online.  Bite the bullet and see a health care provider.  Unless you're in a very remote rural area, low cost (or cost-free) health care almost certainly is available at a community clinic or health department clinic.  Call your local medical society or health department to find out where to go.

Good luck-- HHH, MD
7 Comments
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Sorry, I forgot one question.  Does herpes interfere with a woman's menstrual cycle?  I have really been trying to research these things online but other than the basic information I am not finding too much.  Thanks
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Herpes does not affect menstruation.

HHH, MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,I am so sorry but i have no credit card and really need your help.

I would like to know if someone has a reccurent outbreak of hsv 1/2, could have a very small blister that breaks but does not weep or look wet which lasts for 5 days then heals and have another outbreak of 2 blisters 4 days later which does not break for 3 days then when it does have another outbreak of 2 tiny blisters. All in the pubic hair region.There is tingling  before blisters appear very slight to none itching and tenderness. Does herpes usually be like this?
Please help anyone.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks Dr.  Yes, you are correct that I need to get it checked out, it has healed now so a blood test is required.  You may be surprised to know that not a lot of places (free clinics and such) test for herpes.  When you ask about std testing they all test for hiv, syphilis, chylamida, etc... but not herpes, that usually requires a blood test from a normal doctor, planned parenthood doesn't even do it.  Anyway, since herpes is so common and easily spread I'm very surprised there isn't more information and education on it.  It has a horrible stigma attached to it but I would guess the percentage of people of have it and don't know it is extremely high.  Since many people, especially men, don't have a lot of symptoms and most people already have hsv1 their outbreaks are probably chalked up to irritation or aggressive sex/masturbation.  Just my two cents, have a good day!
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239123_tn?1267651214
Thank you for the additional comments.  I am very aware of the spotty nature of availability of HSV blood tests, especially in community clinics and health departments--indeed I have worked hard to change that situation.  It's a combination of inadequate knowledge about the tests by people who run and/or work in such clinics, plus cost.  You're also right about the nonspecific nature of genital herpes symptoms and that many infected people (men and women equally) are unaware of it.  But still, most people with unexplained genital itching or nonspecific symptoms don't have herpes, and nobody should assume herpes as the explanation until specifically tested for it.

HHH, MD
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It is true that herpes can often cause UTI symptoms. If you have continuous UTI symptoms but urine cultures come back negative (meaning they can't find any bacteria that would be causing a true UTI,) herpes is a strong possibility. Your symptoms sound very much like herpes because an initial outbreak often brings fever, chills, etc.
There is tons of information about herpes available, and be forewarned that most general practitioners DO NOT know much about it.
Most people who have it do not know they have it, but are plagued by unexplained issues because herpes can manifest itself in non-textbook ways.

By the way, herpes and HPV can be spread even with "protection" because they are transmitted via skin and not bodily fluids. When I was a kid, my school preached condom use as the stop all for any and every STD, but it is not true. With herpes and HPV, they can only protect the parts that are always covered.
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