You Might Not Have Herpes - Commonly Confused Genital Infections
If you've recently discovered trouble symptoms that you fear are related to the herpes simplex virus, which causes genital herpes, you should be aware that, although nothing can substitute for a full blood work-up, there are a number of common genital infections that mimic the telltale signs of genital herpes. This can be a great relief to people afraid that they might be infected with genital herpes, and especially for those unsure as to whether they have herpes or a less serious disorder.
Today, there are blood tests available that can tell you with up to 98% accuracy whether or not your symptoms are related to genital herpes, or if you have something else. There is a minimum waiting period that must be observed before the tests can be ruled conclusive, because it takes some time for a herpes simplex infection to build up in the body to the point that the indicators of its presence, such as an increased immune-system response to HSV, can be detected by a herpes blood test.
It Might Not Be Herpes - Understanding Folliculitis
Folliculitis, speaking broadly, refers to an infection of the hair follicles, the bulbs underneath the skin which house the hair root and essential oils important for hair health. Folliculitis refers to the infected state of the hair follicles, but the underlying causes of folliculitis can be physical, viral, or bacterial in nature. When a patient presents with folliculitis symptoms, they may have small clusters of painful red bumps, reminiscent of genital herpes infections and herpes outbreaks. Patients may also experience intensive pain or discomfort in the area prior to any visible eruptions of sores or bumps, just as in the prodrome phase of a looming genital herpes outbreak, during which time patients may experience tenderness or pain in the affected area. This leads many patients with moderate to severe folliculitis to fear that they in fact have genital herpes infections because of the visible and prodromal similarities. Folliculitis can also cause intense sharp and shooting nerve pain just like a genital herpes outbreak, leading to further confusion as to the true nature of the infection.
Because the genital region has a high density of hair follicles, is usually kept in the dark and can easily gather moisture and sweat, it is an ideal situation for the underlying causes of folliculitis to manifest. This leads to many cases of folliculitis around the genital region that is in fact confused for the herpes simplex virus.
The most common physical causes of folliculitis are shaving related. When you shave too closely on a tender region of skin, you run the risk of slicing off the first few layers of skin, thereby bringing internal layers of skin into contact with the bacteria and grime on the blades of your razor. This alone can result in a folliculitis outbreak that will mimic the appearance and feeling of a genital herpes infection.
Another common cause of folliculitis in the genital region is the common staphylococcus aureus bacteria. This bacteria is in fact usually present on human skin, but is kept relegated to our outer levels where it does not generally cause disorders or complications, unless the skin is damaged. When skin is damaged it is very easy for this virulent bacteria to enter inner layers of skin or the blood stream and begin to wreak havoc. Staph infections can range in symptoms from boils to painful clusters of blisters which resemble genital herpes infections. Once again, a condition that is in no way related to genital herpes can show frightening similarities in terms of physical experiences and diagnostic criteria.