Uh oh… I have noticed something different!

Sometimes we can’t help but think the worst, particularly when an unusual “irritation” pops up. Although herpes is a common condition it is not always the culprit. There are many other conditions that can appear similar at a glance and even ordinary nuisances, such as pimples, jock itch and ingrown hairs can be mistaken for herpes.

If any irritation looks suspicious it is recommended that you visit a Doctor, if possible, make the visit while you still have active symptoms. A herpes specific test is often required to find out the real cause of the infection.

Is this Herpes?

OK, so you have what you think could be herpes but are unsure…

To help figure out if your symptoms may be caused by the herpes virus there are some simple questions that you can begin with. Just remember, these points are merely a guide! Herpes is not always typical and can vary from the “norm”.

Do the symptoms COME and GO?

The herpes virus is only active on the skin for a short period of time before it retreats back inside the body, at which point the skin typically heals and returns to normal.

Depending on the individual, the symptoms of a genital herpes infection can last as long as six weeks, but

  • The typical duration of a genital outbreak is 3 to 14 days
  • The typical duration of a cold sore outbreak is 8 to 12 days.

If the infection persists for longer periods of time without relief it is possible that the cause is something other than herpes.

Does a blister or sore appear?

A herpes breakout will sometimes (but not always) develop into a cut, sore, blister or lesion.

Herpes symptoms are not always easy to identify because they can vary so much from person to person and do not always appear as expected. In fact, some people show little to no symptoms at all.

Real herpes symptoms can be overlooked or passed off as being something less significant, such as a pimple, bump, skin rash or ingrown hair. If you have ANY doubt please contact your Doctor for appropriate testing.

Commonly Confused Conditions

It is very easy to confuse other conditions with herpes. Here are a few ailments commonly mistaken as being herpes. To view pictures of cold sores and genital herpes

Canker sores (Aphthous ulcers)

Canker sores are not a form of herpes, however, they are often confused and mistaken as herpes.

Canker sores are not considered to be contagious. Cold sores and mouth herpes on the other hand are caused by the herpes simplex virus and can be very contagious.

Canker sores usually occur inside the mouth, are gray in color and have a distinct edge. The sores will usually heal within 10 to 14 days, without treatment.

In comparison, oral herpes sores (such as cold sores or fever blisters) are caused by the Herpes simplex virus and are usually relatively easy to identify.

Canker sores are ulcerations, especially of the lip or oral mucosa and can be caused by acute stress, trauma to the area in your mouth, allergies, or by a reaction to a particular bacteria.

Bacterial or yeast infections

Bacterial infections are sometimes confused with genital herpes, but do not usually produce blistering.

Some symptoms of a bacterial/yeast infection can include:

  • Vaginal discharge can be but is not always present
  • Burning, irritation and itching in the vaginal area
  • Painful urination and/or pain during intercourse
  • Thick, grayish-white discharge is common and
  • has the appearance of cottage cheese, although it can
  • vary from watery to thick in consistency.

If a yeast infection is present in a male, most often there are no symptoms. Some men have, however, reported a transient rash and burning of the penis after intercourse when condoms were not used. These possible symptoms are usually short lived.

More information about Yeast Infections:


Impetigo is a highly infectious bacterial disease, more common among children often producing crusty blisters.

More information about Impetigo Infections:


Syphilis is a type of bacterial infection which causes chancres, sometimes mistaken for blisters caused by genital herpes.

Unlike genital herpes, syphilis does not usually produce a cluster of blisters, and it usually responds well to antibiotics.

Molluscum contagiosum (molluscum)

Molluscum contagiosum, like herpes, is a viral infection of the skin. Unlike herpes, molluscum produces lesions that are raised, with a central dimple.

Genital Warts (HPV)

Genital Warts causes growths of skin-colored, cauliflower-like masses of various sizes and shapes.

Symptoms may occur several weeks and even months after being exposed to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and include:

  • Itching or burning around the genitals
  • Painless growths in either sex, usually on damp or moist surfaces of the body
  • Growths typically begin as tiny, soft pink or red spots
  • Spots develop into small, white/yellow/gray bumpy warts on the genitals and/or anus
  • Warts can grow quickly into irregularly shaped cauliflower-like masses

Herpes outbreaks can also be mistaken for:

  • Ingrown hair follicles
  • Pimples
  • Insect bites
  • Jock itch
  • Abrasions
  • Friction from intercourse
  • Razor burn
  • Yeast infections
  • Hemorrhoids

If you are experiencing any unusual irritation, or if you suspect that you have contracted a sexually transmitted infection PLEASE consult your doctor or other health care provider immediately. Genital herpes should always be diagnosed professionally.

Where to Now?

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. I’m so scared. I think I might have herpes, I’ve always iched on my outer vagina but I always thought it was a yeast infection and I went and got checked one time and my doctor told me it was a yeast infection. well just this weekend, where I always ich turned into sores and blisters and it kind of looks like herpes. I also have all the symptoms, I’m pregnant and my doctor checked my blood for STDS but everything came up negative. I’ve been with the same guy for the past 9 months, he hasn’t cheated on me and I have not cheated on him. If I do have it, I’m worried for my baby’s health and how my boyfriend will react to it cause most likely I gave it to him cause we never use protection. I’m going to my gyn today.. I’m so nervous.

  2. Help plz dr said 70%herpes might!

    But wit else cant it b whn he did tha herpes test it didnt hurt he said tht wired cyz someone with herpes would b in agony whm he did tha test.thru out tha day it dsnt realy bother me whn i b it burns n i notice one lession wad two bit had become one. They came out og nowjere after i shavec any advice

  3. I think I may have herpes. I have a bump on one of my labia that doesn’t seem to go away. I thought it was a skin tag but looking back I did have a cold after my potential exposure and now I’ve started experiencing some other bumps that I’m not sure if they are normal irritation or not. They look like pimples, right now I have one on my panty line and 2 on my buttocks. Does this sound like a recurring outbreak? Can anyone tell me how likely I am to have it if my genitalia were only in contact with someone else’s genitalia for under 2 minutes? I know that sounds weird, basically a guy started trying to have sex with me but I stopped him. Someone please help!

  4. Can someone answer thos for me my girlfriend smokes meth some times especialy when she planes to clean the whole house … Well recently she has developes sores down by her genatil area and she thinks it might be herpes what o wanna know is can meth sores be mistaken for herpes

  5. Can somebody answer this… If my GF cheated on me and this person possibly had herpes, then slept with me a day or 2 later, could she have passed me the infection without having an out break?

  6. Can somebody answer this… If my GF cheated on me and this person possibly had herpes, then slept with me a day or 2 later, could she have passed me the infection without having an out break?

    1. Yes jake that’s exactly what’s happening to me rn!! My gf cheated on me and I’m the one who gets hurt. I honestly have never felt so hurt in my entire life. She does the evil and I get the pain

      1. I’m sorry man. My gf says she didn’t cheat. I got tested and I’m clean but i still exposed myself so i have this feeling like it will surface one day… I don’t know if i want to be with her but if she didn’t cheat and i possibly already have it then how can i be angry with her… I don’t know what to do. We live together..

    2. Jake, I don’t know if your girlfriend cheated on you, but to cover all possibilities, she could have gotten it from a partner before you and might not have known. If she did spread it to you, it could have been asymptomatic. The worst part is from what I’ve gathered, you’re not really gonna know you have it until it happens, and that could be days from now or even years from now.

  7. I developed something abnormal after I shaved and had sex and right away I thought of herpes, my friend told me as well as when I called the doctor that it didn’t sound like herpes at all bc I don’t have any symptoms of chills or fever or anything like that BUT I have something horrible going on down there that won’t heal, it doesn’t hurt now but at the beginning I did feel discomfort now it just stings when I pee…. Can anyone tell me if I can have an outbreak without pain and fever/chills?? That’s what it looked like at first after I plucked out a hair thinking it was an ingrown hair and that’s what it looks like now. Please someone tell me something

  8. Pissed idk wtf is under my lip no symptoms of herpees but a single clear bump blister i squeezed it one time and white stuff came out I squeezed it again nothing and it hurts plz help

  9. Herpes?!?!?
    So I was recently started dating a new guy and a little after we had sex I started getting these bumps that looked like sore on my vagina. They burned when I peed and my lymph nodes felt swollen. I’ve had a history with guys. So I went to get it checked out for a culture test. There that doctor by looking at it said you have herpes. Could she be wrong??? I really have a gut feeling I don’t have herpes. Could it be mistaken for something else??? I put a zoomed in picture of some of the sores! Could this be anything else? I have to wait two weeks until I get my results but I’m very impatient. And could the guy I recently was with given it to me??

          1. The type just means where the infection is like type 1: oral and type 2:genital but I have type 1 genital because it happened when someone gave me oral

          2. I was told the same thing today. That I have type 1 cold sores. But I also found a bump today, it isn’t so much painful but makes me uncomfortable. I was negative for type 2 but was told that I was possible given it when I was given oral. Have you learned anything else?

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