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How do you know you're having an outbreak?

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I was recently diagnosed with HSV-2, and my first outbreak was so so SO painful. I'm afraid I'm going to miss an outbreak because I will be expecting it to be like my first, which I wouldn't wish that pain on my worst enemy. My first OB was May 1, and it's now the middle of June and I don't think I've had one? I am confused. How do you know if you're having an outbreak or about to have one? I know everyone's diagnosis is different, but any advice would be great!

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Everyone's body reacts differently. And your recurring outbreaks will not be like your first. Remember the first one hits you hardest because your body hasn't developed its defenses.


I'm still rather new to this, just had my diagnosis and initial outbreak in mid-April. I looked up common prodromal symptoms and stay on the lookout. This is from the CDC website: "Recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes are common, and many patients who recognize recurrences have prodromal symptoms, either localized genital pain, or tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips or buttocks, which occur hours to days before the eruption of herpetic lesions" - personally I feel a soreness in the back of my legs and butt and I can almost track it moving from deep within the muscle tissue until it feels like it's just beneath the surface. And the skin in my genital area burns like there's a rash before there is any skin discoloration or lesions.


Some people also develop swelling or pain in the lymph nodes in the hip/groin region. That makes sense if your body is preparing to fight something off.


For the first year or two, I plan try to track my trigger(s) as well as early symptoms to try and get a handle on it. Some suggest keeping a diary of sorts to track what you're eating, where your stress level is, hormonal changes like having your period and even sexual encounters.


Do what you can to build up your immune strength. Healthy diet, hydrate, regular exercise and rest are key.

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For me, it's mostly itching and sensitivity. One small area will really sting if I touch it or spray water from the shower on it. Sometimes I get tingling sensations on my butt. Everyone is a little different and it can take a while to figure out what outbreaks look like for you!

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My first outbreak was a sore on my thigh. It's the only sore I've had like that in a year since my diagnosis. I've been told (through urinalysis at the ER) I was having an outbreak multiple times last year without having any symptoms that I knew of at the time. So.. I've gone a year not really knowing myself.


Since becoming pregnant and giving birth, I'm not sure what's hormone related and what's not. I had an increase in pimple-like bumps appearing on my chest, and all over my butt. The ones on my rear-end were in abundance and itchy. The ones on my chest mostly appear individually. This greatly increases my fears of auto-inoculation.


Edit: And to be honest here, I never once thought it could have been an increase in hormones until I started typing this out.. Like others have said. Everyone's outbreak is different!

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  • 6 months later...

Do you ever notice worsening sensitivity after an outbreak heals? I had slight prodrome for a day prior to the outbreak. It's been a week since the healed outbreak, the sensitivity is much less but i'm going on week 3 and i'm trying not to be frustrated. It seems to be more sensitive after the outbreak than before. Any suggestions? I'm already on daily antivirals.

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