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Herpes symptoms
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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 symptoms

This is probably a really dumb question..........but here goes.

Over the course of a herpes outbreak, is it possible to get "relief" from the pain (say for up to 12 hours)and then have the pain come back again?  Over the course of 10 days, this is what my symptoms have been like:

Day 1 slight burning, not too irritating
Day 2 slight burning, then pain went away for 12 hours
Day 3 slight burning, then pain was completely gone for 12 hours
Day 4 slight burning increasing to agonizing pain - - needed to use Icepack to relieve some of the pain.  Then took gyne-lotrimin in hopes it was just yeast.

Day 5 same as Day 4
Day 6 - Day 8  slight to moderate pain (depends upon hour of the day as to the intesity of pain)
Day 9 slight burning all day
Day 10 - finally feel reief again...just crossing my fingers it the pain finally disappears forever.

Is this typical of herpes to have "on again/off again" burning sensation with pain totally subsiding within the 10 days?  

(Ever since an incredible yeast infection in August of last year, I've been having recurrences of burning pain on again/off again - - when the pain was extreme, I used gyne-lotrimin and it helped.  I stopped tracking the pain over the past 7 months...so, I can't tell you have frequent it's been)

I was tested at 17 & 24 weeks past exposure with HerpesSelect type specific and the results were negative.

Can I assume I'm negative and these "on again/off again" burning sensations are something else?  Perhaps Vulvodynia?

Thanks for your help...........what a wonderful site!

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Anything that causes a break in the skin or other surfaces can have variable amounts of pain.  Think of a skinned knee or a burn that gets a little infection; over the course of several days, everybody has more pain at some times than others.  For herpes, I suppose it is possible that pain might vary a bit more, because the virus affects nerve fibers.

In any case, it is unlikely you have herpes, in view of your blood test results.  Also, you don't describe genital sores or ulcers--which of course are the hallmark of genital herpes.  The pattern of pain you describe does not make herpes either more or less likely.  It seems pretty certain you don't have it.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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Thanks for your quick response!  Your response struck another question..........(I'm sure you're not surprised).  With all the reading I've been doing on herpes, I'm trying to "piece it all together without having a medical degree".  So, please excuse the clarifying questions.....  (I was given a scare of herpes after my GP used old IgM tests......hence, my veracious reading/researching began - - it's your site that got me to retest using HerpesSelect type specific IgG tests).

So, here's my confusion - - you say "sores/ulcers" are the hallmark of herpes, yet many people never show these hallmark signs, hence the reason most people (approximately 90%) don't even know they are infected.  I thought I read somewhere (quite possilby this site) that you could have "minor irritation" and have herpes and just not realize it's herpes versus a pimple, rash, yeast infection, etc. (basically, most people don't recognize the non-ulcer/sore herepes signs).  I'm soooooooooo confused!  

Based on another thread in this web-site, you said in your experience "a persons who has pain due to herpes always has visible herpes lesions".

I have had "on again/off again" vaginal burning (it has been excrutiating, mild or no pain at all) for 7 months.  I have had no known genital lesions/sores/ulcers - - my vulva & vagina has been checked by my GP (okay, and me too) more times than I care to count.  

So, based on your comment in this thread, is it okay to conclude that if there haven't been any lesions/sores/ulcers but incredible pain it's due to something other than herpes? (Perhaps Vulvodynia....per my GP's diagnosis - - I do have an appointment with a clinic dealing just with vulvodynia to confirm diagnosis).  

(As I mentioned and you acknowledged, I did have negative herpes results at 3 months and 6 months past exposure - - however, also per this site, it's possible (although very small chance) for someone not to seroconvert).

Thanks again for you help..........I promise, no more questions on this thread!!!

ps:  you're doing such wonderful work - - I can "hear" from most (if not all) posts you give folks solace from your responses.  



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In philosophical/logical terms, you are committing what is called the post-hoc fallacy.  Many people with herpes have subtle or atypical symtpom; but that doesn't mean that most people with such atypical symptoms have herpes.  Such persons should be tested for herpes - but if the symptoms are atypical, like yours, and the blood test is negative, that is very strong evidence against HSV infection.  Also, the atypical symptoms associated with herpes, in my experience, always are mild, not severe.  Finally, when people with atypical symptoms turn out to have herpes, they just about always recognize a lesion/ulcer component.

Bottom line:  Your symptoms truly do not suggest herpes; their severity without visible ulcers is near proof against the diagnosis, and that has been confirmed by the diagnostic test results.  You got it right:  "Is it okay to conclude that if there haven't been any lesions/sores/ulcers but incredible pain it's due to something other than herpes?"  The answer is yes.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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"Finally, when people with atypical symptoms turn out to have herpes, they just about always recognize a lesion/ulcer component."

In addition to this, I just thought I'd share my experience. I have herpes, and never had an obvious outbreak. However, I once had a weirdly painful "yeast infection" that happened just before my period. Not only did it grow worse during OTC treatment, but just inserting a tampon was *excruciating*. And intercourse? Yeow. lol. Now that I know I have herpes, it seems quite obvious that was an outbreak, but at the time I dismissed it as just one of those freaky things. So I do agree that even atypical symptoms probably are pretty obvious, but we just don't recognize them for what they are :-)

I'm glad you're going to a vulvodynia clinic. I've heard it really makes a HUGE difference in treatment. Good luck!
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