If you are experiencing a constant itch in your genital area, you may be wondering if herpes could be to blame. In the vast majority of cases, a temporary itch in the private areas of the body is not caused by herpes, but rather another type of infection including fungus.
If, however, the itchiness being experienced is accompanied by small bumps that turn into blisters and open sores, herpes may indeed be the cause of the discomfort.
What Is Herpes?
Before we discuss the symptoms of herpes (including extreme itchiness), it is important to understand what this disease is. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that features two distinct varieties: the herpes simplex virus type one which is abbreviated as HSV-1 (which causes sores and blisters in and around the mouth) and herpes simplex virus type two which is abbreviated as HSV-2 and causes sores and blisters in the genital area of the body.
When Does Herpes Itch the Most?
A burning sensation and itching are two of the main symptoms of herpes, in conjunction with the tell-tale blister outbreak in the affected area. Luckily, this annoying symptom does not necessarily last throughout the viral flare. The herpes virus can cause itching several times during a flare up of the disease:
- Right at the beginning of the infection – before he blisters of herpes become evident, a burning and severe itching sensation may occur
- At the end of the flare-up – once the herpes blisters and open sores appear, the symptom of itching usually subsides. However, it often returns once those blisters begin to dry up, signifying the end of the flare.
- When herpes simplex 2 is evident – itching is rarely experienced during flares of herpes type 1(which affects the mouth and face) ; that is not the case in the instance of herpes type 2 (which affects the genital area).
How Long Does Herpes Itchiness Last?
In most cases, patients can expect to feel some itchiness for about 3-4 weeks during a herpes incident. That said, the most intense and ongoing itchy sensation is usually at the beginning and end of the flare, with some respite in between. For those with strong immune symptoms or who use healing medications, herpes itching may subside within a few days or a week. Still, most people report at least mild itching throughout the duration of the active herpes episode.
What Can Be Used to Relieve Herpes Inching?
There are several homeopathic as well as traditional therapies to help relieve herpes symptoms including itchiness. Here are just some of the treatment options available to ease your discomfort during an active herpes episode:
- Prescription medications and creams designed to ease itchiness and burning sensations associated with the herpes virus.
- Salt baths – by adding some Epsom salts to a warm bath, you can often relieve the intense itchiness experienced during a herpes flare. In addition to offering some much needed relief, an Epsom salts bath can also help to sterilize the area and quicken the entire healing process
- Tea Tree Oil – a common homeopathic antiseptic, tea tree oil is known for its ability to calm itchy skin.
- Ice – applying an ice pack to the affected area can help to relieve burning and itching in the genital area. Be sure to only use a covered ice pack on this sensitive area (do not apply ice or ice pack directly to the akin), and remove after about 10 minutes.
When to Seek Medical Help for Your Genital Itchies
Living through a bout of genital herpes can be embarrassing as well as a painful. Wondering whether your genital itchiness may be caused by herpes or some other type of infection can be a real concern for most people. Like most other medical disorders, herpes left untreated can cause other problems and should be looked at by your doctor. So, if you experience any type of burning or itching in your genital area that lasts more than a day or two, be sure to contact your doctor immediately for an evaluation.
You may not want to face the fact that your discomfort may be due to a herpes outbreak, but it is essential to get the correct treatment right away to keep your symptoms from worsening and causing even more serious health problems.