August 29, 2015 at 7:23 am #9042ffgs22Spectator
I have a rash with bumps in my genital area. It appears to be simply ingrown hairs from shaving, but I am worried that I am one of those people who mistake their symptoms for something else.
Here’s the history: In late April 2015, I tested negative for HSV 1 and 2 IgG blood tests. At that point, it had been about two and a half months since sexual contact with my last partner. My last partner had a history of HSV 1 oral since childhood, and he got cold sores maybe once or twice a year. We avoided mouth-related sexual activity when he had a sore. I never had any symptoms.
In June 2015, I had sex with a new partner. He claimed to have been tested for STIs but I’m not sure if he included herpes in that mix. The sex we had was fairly rough and vigorous. I developed no symptoms.
On Tuesday of this week, I noticed a swollen and painful lymph node in my right armpit. It went away in a day or so. I was a bit sneezy but chalked it up to allergies (of which I have plenty).
On Wednesday, at someone’s request, I shaved my vulva entirely. I very rarely do that — in fact, I don’t think I have in years. That’s because shaving my vulva even a little bit usually results in razor burn and ingrown hairs. (Sometimes I get those on my legs, too, which I do shave semi-regularly.) I have very sensitive skin there. (I can’t even use most commercial lubes — they burn!) Prior to shaving, my pubic hair was maybe half an inch long (I trim it). I used an electric razor, but it wasn’t a very good razor, or else I am not very good at shaving. I nicked myself a little. My skin was irritated and inflamed after that. It felt painful and swollen, and parts of it itched because I only partially cut some hairs on the inside of the labia majora because of the angle and because I didn’t want to hurt myself. These hairs were sharp and poked at other parts of my vulva, causing a mild itching feeling (or so I imagined).
Also on Wednesday, I took an airplane flight to a different city. I did not observe anyone who appeared to be sick on the plane, but then, I am not terribly observant in general.
On Thursday, I engaged in some sexual activity with a new person. He went down on me briefly. We also used some sex toys, whose prior history I am not aware of. My vulva felt painful and swollen and partially cut hairs were prickly. This sex partner has told me he tested negative for STIs but I am not sure the details.
Overnight on Thursday, I broke out in a painful rash of what appear to be ingrown hairs. There are tons of them, but as far as I can tell, they are located at the site of hairs. They are small and reddish or small and whitish and look like pimples. They can be popped and yield a white pus-like fluid, like a pimple. My vulva is generally painful and swollen. It felt helpful to put lotion on it, and I also put some ice on it and that helped too.
On Friday (last night), I began feeling generally lousy and exhausted. I developed a sore throat. I am not congested but appear to have some extra snot/phlegm. In the evening I became feverish (although that has gone away for now). I am achy all over. The bumps are still there. My pelvic area feels generally sore, but then, all the rest of me feels generally sore too.
So at first I thought this was explained by the following: The sores are due to the shaving, which my skin is not used to. The fever is explained either because I was already beginning to get sick on Tuesday (sore lymph node) or because I got something from someone on the airplane, which happens to me not infrequently (my immune system is generally not very strong, and I get sick a lot).
But there are other possibilities: Shaving made my vulva irritated which made it easier to transmit viruses. I got herpes from my recent sex partner and my flu-like symptoms are due to a primary infection.
Or: I got herpes from my sex partner in June, but never showed symptoms until my skin was irritated, which brought on my first outbreak.
What do you think? I am more than a little concerned.
August 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm #9053Terri WarrenKeymaster
I think you need to go in and see a professional today or tomorrow. While this may very well NOT be herpes, I don’t like the combination of symptoms not being evaluated by a medical provider. If I had to guess, there is an excellent chance that this is folliculitis from shaving. But you are correct, shaving can open up hair follicles and let other things in. The timing also suggest folliculitis but even if this isn’t herpes, having such a tender genital area makes me worry about other things getting in like bacteria. And I have to say, the whole shaving process as you describe it makes me cringe. Ouch! Are you able to get in to be seen perhaps tomorrow?
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