Do I have herpes or a fungal infection? This is a question that most people ask their doctors when they get sores or blisters in the genital area. A fungal infection and herpes can look similar, but they can still have some differences. In this article, we’re going to talk in detail about these two conditions. And how to differentiate between them.
Herpes is a skin condition that affects the area around the mouth or the genitals. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This virus includes two main types of HSV. These are HSV-1 and HSV-2.
HSV-1 can be responsible for oral herpes, while HSV-2 can be to blame for genital herpes. People usually refer oral herpes to as a cold sore or fever blister. It occurs in or around the mouth and the lips. Genital herpes, on the other hand, is most commonly found in or around the genital and anal area. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes. This happens during oral-genital sex and can make up 40% of all cases of genital herpes.
Herpes is a very contagious disease. If not treated, the virus can spread to other people, including your baby, or your partner. Here are a few common habits and behaviors that can be to blame for herpes transmission:
Sexual intercourse. Any kind of sexual contact (including oral, vaginal or anal) can lead to transmission.
Skin-to-skin contact. Kissing someone with herpes. Touching a herpes sore. Scratching the affected area. Rubbing an infected area of skin on your own body. These acts can put you at an increased risk of contracting herpes.
Object-to-human. Using personal items of an infected person makes you more susceptible to herpes.
Mother-to-child. A mother with genital herpes can pass the virus to her baby through delivery.
Learn more: How Do I Know if My Child Has Herpes?
Fungal Infection Overview
Fungus is everywhere around us. It lives in moist, warm areas, such as the air, soil, plants, water and the human body.Most of the time, fungus is harmless and causes no health problems. But when it multiplies and grows out of control, an infection may occur.
Fungal infections can affect the skin or internal organs, such as the lungs. For skin infections, they are more common and tend to appear everywhere on the body. Here are a few fungal infections of the skin that you need to know.
Athlete’s foot. This is a fungal infection of the feet that most commonly occurs in athletes.
Jock itch.It usually appears in the groin, inner thighs, genitals and buttocks. Men and adolescent boys are most at risk of jock itch.
Ringworm.Ringworm is caused by a group of fungi called tinea. It can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp, groin, feet, beard, or other areas. A red, itchy, scaly, ring-shaped rash is a common symptom of ringworm.
Yeast infection. This infection results from candida. It can affect the mouth, causing oral thrush. Yeast infection can also occur in the vagina, called vaginal yeast infection.
A person is more likely to develop a fungal skin infection if they:
- Are obese
- Have diabetes
- Sweat a lot
- Wear tight shoes or clothes
- Use public showers frequently
- Go barefoot everywhere
- Have close contact with a person or pet that has the disease
Learn more: Foods to Avoid When You Have Jock Itch
How to Know If You Have Herpes or a Fungal Infection
Herpes can be misdiagnosed as a fungal infection and vice versa. This is because both conditions cause a rash with sores or blisters. Besides, they are contagious and can spread easily through skin-to-skin contact. To know if you have herpes or a fungal infection, carefully examine your symptoms. If necessary, ask your doctor about diagnosis and testing. Here are a few simple ways to find out you have herpes.
Watch for herpes symptoms
After infection, it can take 2 weeks for herpes to show up symptoms. A fungal infection, on the other hand, only needs 4 to 10 days.
Notice if there is a red or itchy skin
If you see a rash with redness, itching, or burning on your skin, it means that you have herpes. These symptoms often occur before an outbreak. Fever, sunlight, stress, and trauma can contribute to the problem.
Look for blisters on or around your genitals
Herpes usually causes painful blisters that can break, ooze and form scabs. The whole process can take 7-10 days before healing. A fungal infection rarely causes sores or blisters. It only happens in severe cases or due to scratching.
Notice any pain while urinating or having sex
A fungal infection, like yeast infection can be mistaken for herpes. They can both cause:
- pain during sex and/or urination
- abnormal discharge
However, there are differences between the two conditions. A fungal infection usually causes a white, thick, cottage cheese discharge. And the discharge will be odorless. Herpes, on the other hand, causes a clear, white, or off-white pale discharge with an odor.
Examine your risk factors and behaviors
You’re more prone to get herpes if you have the following risks:
- Being female
- Having multiple sexual partners
- Having unprotected sex (especially oral sex)
- Having a weakened immune system
- Having another STD, such as genital warts, HIV or syphilis
Common infections that can be mistaken for herpes
- Contact dermatitis
- Yeast infections
- Jock itch
Learn more: Herpes and Eczema: What’s the Difference?
Fungal infections, such as jock itch and yeast infections can look like herpes. To confirm if you have herpes or a fungal infection, talk with your doctor. If you are tested positive for herpes, use ProsurX immediately. This is one of the best antiviral creams that can help get rid of herpes in a few days. Many people use this cream to get relief, reduce transmission and prevent new outbreaks. Doctors say that ProsurX can kill the HSV both on the surface and lower layers of the skin. Thus, it can help stop an outbreak before it develops. To get the best results, you should follow the instructions on the product. For severe cases, ask your doctor about oral medication.
Learn more: Herbal Teas Prevent Herpes Outbreaks