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Can you have a herpes outbreak without pain? (Unsure if having a second outbreak, diagnosed 1 month ago)

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I have pcr confirmed G-HSV 1. I did not have any prodrome symptoms but have been checking myself everyday and noticed on 8/14 some very small white bumps in one area only. I've had no pain or felt anything unusual. When I think about it, I do feel some itching and a weird sensation but when I'm busy and not thinking about it I don't feel anything. Could this be an outbreak even though there isn't pain? Should I take Valtrex? It looks different than my first outbreak. I very much want to have sex again but I am very nervous about spreading this to my partner. If it is another outbreak then it's great that I don't really have symptoms, but it seems like I could miss a potential outbreak and therefore spread it to my partner. Any advice?

Some background. 7/14 was the last time I had sex (vaginal and oral) with my partner (he is the only one I've ever had sex with). 7/18 started having pain, urinary retention, itching, burning in my genital area but I was away on vacation and knew it wasn't a UTI because my urine was clear. I chalked it up to irritation from going to the bathroom frequently because I had stomach upset for a few days while away. 7/24 I check myself and noticed 4 individual sores in my genital area. 7/25 get a pcr test of the sores, Dr has me take 500 mg valtrex 2x/day for 7 days. 8/3-sores clear up, still have tingling and itching feeling occasionally. PCR test was positive for HSV-1. IgG and IgM were both negative making me believe this was a first time infection.

8/6-I get diagnosed with COVID and have a high fever. 8/7 I start feeling tingling, burning, itching in my genital region so I take 500 mg Valtrex 2x/day for 3 days. I have been checking myself everyday with a mirror and a light and I was unsure if I saw any bumps, but didn't see any sores. There was no more burning and only an occasional itch, but on 8/14 I saw a very small area of redness with some tiny white bumps. However, I have no other symptoms at the moment and this is not what my initial outbreak looked like, which was individual and unmistakable sores like a canker sore. Do you think this is a second outbreak? And am I going to have to check myself everyday for the rest of my life to make sure I don't have any sores so I don't accidentally transmit it to my partner? How do you distinguish what is and isn't an outbreak when it can appear in different areas? He must have given it to me but he's asymptomatic and I don't know if he recently acquired HSV-1 orally from sharing a drink or something or if he's had it for a while and thus has antibodies and would be more protected.

Lastly I asked about daily meds and my doctor told me that only if I have a lot of outbreaks, more than 8 or so in a year will they prescribe them because they start to lose effectiveness if you're on them all the time. I was prescribed doses for my outbreaks only. That's a scary thought but from what I've read I didn't see anything proving that they lose effectiveness. I've heard some people say to take it for the first year and other people who say it's better not to take it so your body builds up a defense. Thoughts? Thank you!

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  • mr_hopp changed the title to Can you have a herpes outbreak without pain? (Unsure if having a second outbreak, diagnosed 1 month ago)


I hope you are feeling okay ❤️ 

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us! 

In regards to how you may have gotten GHSV-1, it is most likely from receiving oral sex from your partner. Many people don't even know they have oral HSV-1, some people have it since childhood, and others have cold sores/fever blisters and they don't realize that this is HSV and is transmissible to others (through oral sex or kissing). Has he ever had cold sores before? 

He could get a blood test to see if he has HSV-1. If he has HSV-1, he has the antibodies for it, which means the body can protect itself from infection elsewhere (such as the genitals). It is hypothetically possible to get the same strain in two different locations on the body, and the risk is higher for those with autoimmune illnesses or those on immunosuppressant medication. If these do not apply to him, then everything should be okay! Of course, still avoid intimacy when you are experiencing symptoms or an outbreak. 

This leads to the question How do I know if I am having an outbreak...?!?! which can be so frustrating. However, rest assured that you are symptomatic and you will most likely know when you are having an outbreak, which is good! What symptoms did you have prior to your first outbreak? These symptoms will most likely reoccur (at a less intensity) when you have your future outbreaks. For me (I also have GHSV-1), my first outbreak consisted of intense burning and itching and pain, but my later outbreaks honestly weren't even noticeable. I just looked down and saw a sore and was like, "oh alright then." While I didn't get any precursors, others may get prodrome symptoms like burning, itching, fatigue, redness, etc. In your case, because you started taking the medication, it is possible that the antivirals helped to stop a full on outbreak from happening. So, it's possible that the redness and white bumps are an outbreak, and it's so minor because of the antivirals taken immediately when symptoms arose after your COVID diagnosis. Also, perhaps because your body is healing from COVID, your immune system wasn't as strong to fight the outbreak from occurring 100%, so the white bumps and redness appeared. Your body is working in overdrive when you are sick, so try to take it easy and rest ❤️ I would abstain from intimacy in the genital area for right now until it goes away. Plus, engaging in intimacy may trigger or worsen the redness and bumps and cause an outbreak (if this wasn't one already). Remember, there are so many other ways to be intimate with your partner! Get creative and feel happy ❤️🙂 !! 

On a side note to our friends here on the forum, rashes are a side effect from COVID! I tested positive for COVID almost three weeks ago, and I got very weird symptoms. Apparently with the new strain, people have been getting rashes, ranging from hives (that's what I had randomly all over my body), to dots similar to that of chicken pox or shingles, to bumps of sorts (I had weird bumps all over my forehead and cheeks that weren't acne but instead just looked like little bumps that didn't have a head/center). My doctor said that these rashes with COVID are actually normal. Some people get them prior to symptoms and others get them during or after. I also have had very odd neurological symptoms (half my body randomly gets tingles at random spots) and my doctor said that the new strain also impacts the nervous system. Honestly just very bizarre! 

I hope this all helps. Please know that you will not need to constantly evaluate yourself with a mirror every day. You are safe ❤️ 

Be kind to yourself! Sending blessings of healing and happiness your way! 🙂❤️ 



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Hi Grace thank you for taking the time to reply. I had a busy week and read your response but am only now able to reply. I greatly appreciate it.

He has no memory of having cold sores, but it seems like people sometimes have them as a child and then forget because they don't get them when they're older. Or some people are asymptomatic and have the virus but don't get cold sores. He did not have one at the time we had sex or after.

Yes, I will talk to him about getting bloodwork and see if that is something he wants to pursue. He is not immunocompromised so that is a good thing and hopefully the risk of transmitting it to his genital is very low as you said, especially since he has been my only sexual partner I know that I must have gotten it from him.

Do you mind me asking how often you get outbreaks with GHSV-1?

Yes that is the part that is stressing me the most. I know I should avoid sex when potentially having an outbreak, but I'm not sure what a future outbreak for me will even look like. My first outbreak I had itching, burning when peeing, urinary retention, and a tingling weird sensation. I feel like I have had occasional itching and burning since the primary outbreak but I have not had any OB. The white bumps are still there and have not ulcerated and it has been 5 days since I saw them. I am trying to tell myself that with time I will learn about my body's response to this virus and be able to manage it better, but it is daunting to think about. And the thought of having to be careful about having sex with my partner and not to be able to be as spontaneous and have it whenever is a downer. I know that sex isn't the only thing that matters and you are right that there are many ways to be intimate, it just will take some time to accepting that. And like I said, I am nervous and I feel like I'm going to think every little feeling is a sign that I'm having an outbreak. Now I'm just rambling my feelings hah.

Very interesting about the rashes with COVID. Good to know. Thank you again for your kind words and your help!


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I hope you had a good week!

I have had GHSV-1 for about three years now and have only had 4 outbreaks (including my first big one). My second, third, and fourth outbreaks were much smaller (only about one to two sores). I didn't have any prodrome symptoms for the third and fourth outbreaks but I did for the second one. For the third and fourth outbreaks, I just looked down and noticed a sore one day. I didn't take antivirals for the third and fourth outbreaks either because they were so small and I wasn't intimate with anyone at that time. 

You will get to know your body's responses to HSV, don't worry!  Stay positive and be kind to yourself. You can still have a happy and spontaneous sex life with your partner! If anything, HSV can make us appreciate intimacy and value it even more. 

A primary outbreak can be a lot for the body to handle, so it is normal to still feel not the best down there after the sores clear up. The white bumps could be fordyce spots (harmless bumps as a result of glands) or perhaps just your body healing from the sores. Sometimes the new skin that the body grows after sores disappear is much lighter in color than the surrounding skin. If you are concerned, you can always see an OBGYN or dermatologist.

I hope this helps! Please reach out with any other questions or concerns 🙂 !!

Blessings!! ❤️ 

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