Do Herpes and HPV Cause Pimple-Like Symptoms?

woman in underwear

Your genital area may develop small bumps that look like pimples. They could be filled with similar pus as you would see in facial pimples. But you should never pick at pimples, especially when they form on your genitals.

Why do people get genital pimples? First, it is essential to know the critical difference between genital pimples and genital warts. Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes genital warts, while clogged pores and hormonal changes cause genital pimples. Genital warts do not contain pus, either.

Herpes sores are also different then genital warts and genital pimples because herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) causes the formation of herpes sores on the genitals. Knowing the difference between genital herpes, genital pimples, and genital warts is critical because each simple requires a unique treatment.

Let’s explore the differences between the three:

Genital Warts

HPV is the primary cause of a sexually transmitted infection called genital warts. Most HPV strains don’t cause genital warts or cancer, but a small percentage will cause one or the other. Reporting shows women are most likely to suffer from HPV-based genital warts than men.

Intimate skin-to-skin contact is how you contract HPV and HPV genital warts. Penetrative sex is not required to contract HPV. The symptoms of genital warts typically include flat or raised bumps with a soft texture. They appear rather small and usually have the same color as your skin. Some people describe the appearance of warts as being like cauliflower.

The best way to prevent genital warts is by getting the HPV vaccination as early as possible. And when you have sex, wear a dental dam and condom to avoid intimate skin-to-skin contact. These safe sex practices are not 100% effective but are your best chance of staying safe when having sex with an infected person.

Fortunately, most genital warts disappear after the immune system eliminates the HPV strain from the body. But if your warts continue growing larger without ever going away, you need to contact your primary care physician for assistance.  Some potential treatments for genital warts include chemical treatments, cryotherapy, prescription creams, and a loop electrosurgical excision procedure.

Genital Pimples 

Genital pimples are the formation of pimples on the genital region of the body. These pimples look similar to facial pimples because they form similarly.

For instance, a hair follicle with a blocked pore could stimulate bacterial growth. You can have blocked pores on the genital region just like you can have them on the face. The result is inflammation looking like red raised bumps. In addition, cysts can form if an infection exists under the skin of the blocked pore. Cysts are also filled with pus but are painful, whereas genital pimples are not.

Many women develop genital pimples from waxing, plucking, or shaving their genital region. These actions irritate the pores and make it easier for them to get clogged with oils and chemicals.

Therefore, it is better to avoid shaving the genitals altogether. But if you must shave, use shaving cream and a fresh razor to limit the irritation on the genital skin. Make sure the shaving cream doesn’t have scent ingredients. Plus, continue to shower regularly to keep your genital pores clean. Then you’ll have the best chance of avoiding genital pimples.

Most cases of genital pimples will disappear within a couple of days naturally. In the meantime, you could apply warm compressors and topical creams with tea tree oil to reduce the inflammation.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a type of viral sexually transmitted infection. It is easy to recognize the symptoms of genital herpes because they appear as painful blisters on the genitals. You may also experience burning, itching, body aches, and fever.

The blisters contain fluid inside of them rather than pus. Once a blister breaks, it becomes a sore leaking fluid. The upside is that an active infection should heal and cause the blisters to disappear. The downside is that flare-ups and reinfection can happen again down the line.

The herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) can form oral herpes. As mentioned previously, HSV-2 can form genital herpes. However, oral sex can still cause someone to get HSV-1 lesions on their genitals if the person giving the oral sex has an HSV-1 infection. That is why safe sex practices are essential for preventing herpes.

For instance, wear a dental dam before oral sex and a condom when performing penetrative sex. The idea is to block intimate skin-to-skin contact during each sexual act to avoid transmitting or contracting the virus. Remember that you should inform your partner if you have tested positive for herpes, and they should do the same for you. Then you can both make an informed decision about whether to have sex.

There is no cure for genital herpes. All you can do is take certain kinds of anti-viral medications to reduce the chances of infecting others with your herpes virus. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to limit the duration of your herpes outbreaks.