When you search on search engine sites what these red bumps on your vagina are, you will be given two options: ingrown hair and herpes. How can you tell the difference between herpes and ingrown hairs?
You may start to panic and try to research more about the condition but before everything else, remember that your pubic region is very delicate. It is likely that you are going to have other bumps, spots and other lesions that are caused by different reasons. It can be harmless, and it can also be serious.
You need to know if you only have ingrown hair or herpes but how will you find out the proper details when you do not know where to begin?
What is Ingrown Hair?
Ingrown hair may be commonly found in the underarm area especially for some people, but it may also appear in the genital area. This type of skin infection may be caused by the removal of hair around the genital area.
Ingrown hair is caused by hair that has grown out of the skin then curls back towards the skin again and is absorbed by the skin. This can cause that portion of the skin to be inflamed. A lot of times, pus will form, and it can be very irritating. Some people would try to pop it, but it can be painful especially in the pubic area. The most common reasons why people get ingrown hair are the following:
- Poor personal hygiene
- Wearing clothes that are too tight
- Frequent shaving of the hair.
Some studies show that people with curly hair may become more prone to getting ingrown hair as compared to people with straight hair.
What is Herpes?
Herpes is a severe viral infection that is very contagious. It can spread quickly through sexual contact. The moment that you get a skin to skin contact with someone who has herpes, the chances that you are also going to get affected increases.
Ingrown Hair Vs. Herpes How to Tell the Difference?
Both ingrown hairs and herpes lesions are caused by sexually transmitted viral infections. They will fade after healed. However, herpes will return after several months and an ingrown hair will disappear permanently.
The symptoms of ingrown hair and herpes may be hard to tell apart. These are some of the things you need to consider so that you will know the difference:
- Take a look at the bump up close.
This may be hard to do especially since you cannot directly look at your genital area but you can use a mirror to scope out the area. The ingrown hair bump will look similar to a pimple. It may come in clusters, and some of the bumps may be pus-filled. If you would look at a pimple closely, you may see that the pus inside surrounds the ingrown hair.
Genital herpes, on the other hand, will look a bit different. The bumps are filled with fluid, and they may sometimes burst. The liquid will come out, and the bumps may scab.
- Take a look at the surface of the bumps.
When you just have an ingrown hair, you will notice that the bump is normally red while the center portion will be white or yellow. With herpes, the surface will look like it is just made out of fluid all over.
Remember that ingrown hair will go away on its own. If you do not try to pop it or pick on it, it will eventually go away. With herpes, the bumps will burst. It would need to scab so that the blister underneath can heal.
- Press the bump.
If you are a bit confused because you think that ingrown hair and herpes look similar to each other, you can press the bump. The bump of the ingrown hair usually is hard. Even if you try to prick it, you will feel that it will not burst easily. If it finally breaks, thick yellowish pus may come out together with the ingrown hair.
If you are dealing with genital herpes, the bump may immediately pop when you try to pop it. The liquid may also be a bit yellowish, but it is runny.
- You are having trouble urinating.
Ingrown hair will not cause you to have issues with passing urine but herpes can. If you start to feel pain because of urinating or you usually feel uncomfortable when you try to pee, you need to contact your doctor.
There are times when your problem with urination is not caused by herpes at all. You may have an ingrown hair and UTI. (Urinary Tract Infection) This is the reason why you need to have yourself checked by the doctor immediately.
- You may have symptoms that will make you feel like you are coming down with the flu.
When you are suffering from ingrown hair, you need not worry about other things. People will not even know that you are worried about the bump on your genital area unless you tell them about it. If you start feeling flu-like symptoms, this can be a sign that you have herpes. Take note if you have fever, headaches and if you are suffering from flu-like symptoms.
- Take note of the pain.
Both ingrown hair and genital herpes will cause pain when you try to prick the bumps on your genital area, but the pain caused by genital herpes will be far greater. You will surely regret pricking the bump because of the pain that it has caused you to feel.
Treating Ingrown Hair
After all of the things that you have learned, you have realized that you are dealing with ingrown hair. How are you going to treat it then? A lot of ingrown hair can go away on their own but if in case it doesn’t, here are some of the possible options:
- Use hot compress. You can place it over the affected area for about three times a day. Whenever you do it, put the warm compress for 15 minutes. This will encourage the hair to uncurl so you can remove the ingrown hair safely.
- Rub steroid medicine on the affected area of the skin to get rid of the swelling and the irritation.
- Take an antibiotic if your ingrown hair has become infected. You may choose to take the antibiotic or rub it over the affected area.
- Use tea tree oil to make the ingrown hair less inflamed. If the bump looks painful and inflamed, apply tea tree oil on it, and the pain will go away after some time. Some people say that tea tree oil is a bit too strong for their skin. You can dilute it with another type of oil like coconut oil or olive oil to make it easier to absorb by the skin.
The very first thing that you need to do if you have genital herpes is you should go to your doctor for a thorough check. You may also need an antiviral treatment to prevent your condition from getting much worse.
One of the things that people are scared about when they have herpes is if they would spread their infection to their partner. A lot of partners do not get infected as long as the infected partners take their medications correctly and they undergo regular treatment.
If you have herpes and you want to have sex, these are the things that you can do:
- You need to take the proper medications so that you will prevent the spread of the virus from yourself to your partner.
- Men still need to wear a condom.
- Tell your partner the truth. If you would try to keep your partner in the dark, he/she will feel hurt that you never trusted him/her enough with the information.
Some people use home remedies to treat their herpes. If you want to try, you can use this treatment:
- Honey – Aside from herpes, honey can treat various skin conditions. This can help you get rid of the new virus on the skin. Choose Manuka honey as this is the best type to use against the herpes virus.
It is best that you see your doctor at the soonest possible time if you suspect that you have herpes so that you can get the required treatment immediately.