Genital herpes blisters are one of the most common symptoms of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Although blisters or sores can also appear on the mouth, face, or anus, it is quite common for them to appear around the genital area of both men and women who are infected. An appearance or recurrence of blisters is usually known as an outbreak or episode; since the virus is incurable, most people with herpes have multiple recurrences throughout their lives.
There are two known forms of the herpes virus that causes blisters: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is passed through contact with someone who is infected, often through sharing clothing or eating utensils. This form of the virus more often affects the mouth and face, causing cold sores. HSV-2 is usually passed through sexual contact and is significantly more likely to cause genital blisters, as well as blisters on the legs and buttocks.
The first sign of blisters is usually a rash over the affected area, which may be itchy or uncomfortable. Small, red bumps will develop and become blisters, and they may appear filled with liquid or fluid. The blisters eventually burst, creating what is known as herpes sores. After several days, sore begin to scab and heal, eventually returning the skin to its regular appearance. For some patients, this cycle occurs every several weeks, while in others it reoccurs very rarely after the initial outbreak.
In female patients, genital herpes blisters occur on the urethra, cervix, and throughout the vagina. Men tend to have them on the penis and scrotum. Both sexes are extremely contagious during an active outbreak with blisters, and sexual activities should be avoided while any sign of the sores remains. Although certain barrier protection methods, such as condoms, can cover some of the affected area and reduce chances of transmission, there is still a possibility of passing the virus. It is also important to note that, while it is far more likely a person will contract the virus from someone with blisters or sores present, it can be passed by an infected partner at any time.
Although herpes is incurable, it very rarely has serious effects on a patient's general health. There are several antiviral medications available that can help reduce the frequency of genital herpes blisters and make attacks shorter when they do occur. To treat the blisters themselves, some topical ointments can help reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the outbreak. There are several herbal remedies as well, but many health experts recommend consulting a medical professional before trying alternative forms of treatment.