Herpes on the buttocks is caused by the same virus that causes genital herpes - Herpes Simplex virus. HSV targets the mucous membrane of the body particularly the mouth, nose, genitals and anus. Successful infection results into: rash, sore, blisters, burning, swelling, fever, muscle pain and headache. Symptoms may vary based on the health of the individual.
Herpes is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease that affects 16% of the American population aged 14-49 years old. Reports showed that 776,000 Americans suffer a new type of herpes, every year.
Despite the number of cases, the symptoms are frequently mild and cause no particular health risk. 8 out of 10 patients are not even aware they have it because there were almost no noticeable problems. And if ever there was, it heals by itself without any need for medicinal aid.
Herpes Simplex virus is classified under two categories: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Both viruses are highly contagious and can be transmitted to another through sexual contact such as oral, anal or vaginal. Previously, it is HSV-2 which isresponsible for most cases of genital herpes, but scientists have reported that HSV-1 is now responsible for almost 80% of cases of genital herpes.
Genital herpes is known to be a chronic condition, meaning that it can reappear again after it healed. The first two years after being infected with HSV has a recurrence rate of 4-5 times. However, as the time progresses, the immune system of the patient will build its own resistance that would render the virus less severe and reduce the chances of recurrence. But problems may occur if the patient will not take care of his health.
Using protections can prevent infection, but not entirely. Refraining from any sexual contact would still be the best idea.
After being infected, it does not react at once. The herpes virus burrow itself within the nerve cells of the patient and will only start showing noticeable activity after a week or two.
Herpes can also be passed even if the blisters have already healed, but it is rare.
Different herpes on the buttocks symptoms happen on different genders and vast differences can happen on different individuals. But here are signs and symptoms that occur on the onset of the infection:
- Lesions on the genital areas
If the patient had the infection for the first time, then the body would not know how to respond to it. Hence, the primary symptoms that they would receive are always severe and may last from a few days to a whole month. The following may or may not happen:
- Painful urination (dysuria)
- Stiff neck
- Genital Discharge
- Ulceration of the cervix
- Herpetic Proctitis
- Red blisters around the genitals and legs which may spread to the buttocks and rectum
If the infection is a recurrent one, then the body of the patient would have already built its own antibodies. This would control the infection and protect the health of the host from further damage. Symptoms for recurrent infections are mostly mild and does not last more than 2 weeks.
- Cold sores around the mucous membrane - nose, mouth and genitals.
- Itchy and burning sensation.
In rare cases, an event called "Elsberg Syndrome" may take place. It is a case that happens when the spinal cord was affected by the virus that thrives in the sacral region. This causes a dramatic surge of painful symptoms such as radiculitis, myelitis, and an acute retention of the urinary tract. Further symptoms may include loss of sensory, painful rash, and parathesia - an abnormal sensation of being tickled, pricked, or burned without any physical means.
It can be damaging to the health and may require assistance from specialists.
There is no cure for herpes on the buttocks, but there are plenty of methods and medicines that can decrease the severity of the virus, shorten its life span and prevent any further outbreaks. Among the drugs that doctors recommend are: acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir.
These drugs are prescribed based on whether the infection is a primary outbreak (first time) or a recurrent one.
Acyclovir is a drug that fights viral infections such as varicella-zoster, Epstein-Barr viruses and herpes. It doubles as a pain reliever that would decrease the pain, while at the same time, reduce the amount of lesions. It is applied against primary infections as it can also strengthen the body's immune system so that further recurrence would be less severe.
Acyclovir has the side effect of headache and dizziness. It is sold in the market as an ointment, tablet, capsule, injection and powder for injections.
Valacyclovir is an antiviral drug that acts similarly to acyclovir, except that it has a longer duration time. Its main focus is to promote healing of the sores, soothe the pain and reduce discomfort. It is sold only as caplets.
Famciclovir is a pro-drug that the body converts into penciclovir once digested. It has the longest duration time among the three and sold only as tablets.
Primary Outbreak – the first infection is always the most painful. For safety reasons, it is recommend that the patient should contact the nearest sexual health clinic as soon as possible.
To stop the virus growth, doctors would commonly prescribe acyclovir. The standard admission is 5 pills a day, for a week. But it can take longer based on how prevalent the infection is, and how your body reacts to it.
Some people are allergic to certain drugs. When that happens, certain adjustments may be made and other types of drug may be used.
Recurrent Infection – Recurrent infections are no longer as serious as the primary outbreak. Doctors may now allow you to do some self-treatment and recommend some healthy tips:
- To alleviate the pain caused by herpes on the buttocks, you can use cold tea bags or an ice pack. Apply it on the sore areas and massage gently.
- Avoid tight and uncomfortable clothes that would irritate the blisters. Wear loose clothing as it would promote air circulation and help cool down the body.
- To restore the urine flow and decrease the pain, drink plenty of water and avoid soft drinks.
- Avoid any junk foods. These would damage your health and prevent healing. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, instead.
- Applying Vaseline, petroleum jelly and anesthetic creams on the blisters may help.
- Always keep the area clean. After washing with soap, you can rinse it with water with salt and/or baking soda. It may sting a little but do not worry. Salt and baking soda would dehydrate the blisters and promote crusting.
If the symptoms of herpes on the buttocks persist, your health care provider might prescribe the same drugs but you will take it in lesser amounts.