Help! Do I have herpes?

A man's groin highlighted in red

Let’s slow down for a moment. You are probably reading this because you’ve found a lump or bump or blister on your genitals.

Firstly, here is a quick list of just a few of the common things that can cause a lump or bump in your genital area, and there are many!


A vulva has multiple glands, all of which can sometimes get clogged up, resulting in a cyst. You can also get cysts in the vagina and on the penis. Depending on the size and location of the cyst, there are various treatments available and most cysts are painless.

Genital warts

One of the most common confusions is between genital herpes and genital warts. They are not the same and are not caused by the same virus. Genital warts can be treated with topical treatment and cryotherapy.

Ingrown hair

Ingrown hair is common and can turn into a boil or bump. It’s especially common if you remove your public hair by shaving or waxing. Boils caused by in-grown hair can be painful to the touch and can grow and get infected so if it doesn’t go away using the usual methods, it’s good to see a doctor for treatment.

Skin tags

Skin tags are common in 25% of adults and can occur on various parts of the face and body, including the genital area. They aren’t dangerous and don’t hurt but make you worry if you don’t know what they are. Removal is usually only for cosmetic reasons.

Varicose veins

Some people develop varicose veins in the genital area. For example, it can happen quite often in pregnancy due to increased blood flow to the area. Varicose veins will look and feel lumpy and naturally will cause concern.

OK, thanks for that, but I really think it’s herpes

If you think you might be experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes, you need to see doctor or specialist nurse for a diagnosis. A diagnosis is usually achieved by physical examination and a PCR swab of one of the bumps or lesions for the herpes simplex virus.

Genital herpes is characterised by all or some of the following symptoms:

  • Tiny white-headed blisters
  • Small reddish bumps
  • Pain and tenderness in the genital area
  • Itching in the genital area
  • Fever, feeling run down

When the blisters finally rupture, they will likely bleed and excrete their contents. When they open up they cause ulcers, which are sore and can sting especially when you pee. After a while, scabbing and crusts will form over the ulcers and they will heal.

The sores can develop in several areas and it is possible to spread the infection by touching the sores then touching other parts of your body. Common sites for sores are your bottom and thighs, mouth, anus, vaginal area and external genitalia (vulva), penis and scrotum.

This is really scary!

Many people feel that way and it’s totally understandable. Although genital herpes is not “curable”, it is manageable and many people live with it successfully:

  • Recurrences tend to be less severe than the original outbreak
  • There is medication available to reduce the severity of symptoms
  • You can help reduce the occurrence of outbreaks through a healthy lifestyle, boosting your immunity and avoiding stress

The first step is a diagnosis and the earlier you see someone, the better. Our doctors and specialist nurses are available Monday – Friday and we can provide fast testing and treatment. Book online today.

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Alya Shakir

Alya Shakir

Alya has been responsible for the growth of the clinics, overseeing their expansion and development and creating policies and procedures to ensure optimum patient care and experience. Alya is the registered manager with the Care Quality Commission.

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