Most people infected with genital herpes have no symptoms, but some people can have distressing symptoms. .
They may include:
- stinging or tingling in the genital area
- small blisters on the genital area which develop into small painful red sores
- sores that look like a rash or cracked skin on the genitals
- difficulty passing urine.
The first episode of infection can also have flu-like symptoms such as:
After the first episode, the virus remains dormant (sleeping) in your body for the rest of your life, which means you can experience recurrent episodes (outbreaks) of sores and blisters.
Recurrent episodes are usually milder, shorter and less frequent over time. They are more likely to occur when your immune system is weak, due to illness, tiredness or stress.
Last reviewed: May 2017