Hi...About a year ago, I noticed a sore on the inner folds of my vagina. I went to a free clinic, and showed it to the doctor...the doctor there told me that it looked like an irritated hair follicle, and that I shouldn't worry. The sore was painful and I was afraid that it might be herpes, so I went to my ob/gyn. When she looked at it, she said that it looked like herpes, and she took a culture. The culture was really painful, and she prescribed me valtrex and told me to take it for the next 5 days, and to call back in two weeks for my results. When I called back for the results, she told me that the culture came back "non-isolated" which means that I did not have genital herpes.
About a week ago, after my period, I felt an itching in the same place. A few days later, I notice that I have the same kind of sore that I had a year ago. I have not had unprotected sex since then. It is a single sore, and not a series of bumps that I have read are the usual symptoms of a herpes outbreak. I'm wondering, if this is not herpes, what is it? Could it be from irritation from wearing pads/tampons during my period? Please help!
Personally, I would trust the culture since they are typically accurate. Unless you've had any possible exposure since then. When you say you haven't had unprotected sex since I assume you mean you've used a condom. That doesn't always prevent exposure b/c it's transmitted by skin to skin contact, not bodily fluids. Oral sex is a pretty common way to contract herpes, especially hsv1 (which tends to cause pretty mild genital outbreaks).
If you get another bump, I would go back and have it cultured again. I am actually surprised the doc cultured it! I have heard of very few who actually do. So if it were me, I would go back there and try to see the same doc if at all possible. She seems to be pretty on the ball to me.
There are also glands in the vulva (someone will probably know more about this...it starts with a B) that can cause bumps. In college I had one looked at and the doc said that it is common to get them around the time of your period.
As for tampons/pads, it seems unlikely to me, but I don't have a ton of experience with that stuff. I would think that, unless you have always used the same products and just recently switched, if you were going to have any reaction to them then you would have a long time ago.
Cultures are very reliable, BUT they have to be carried out soon after a sore appears (within 1-2 days) as beyond that kind of timescale there is a quite serious risk of a false negative. Was your sore cultured within this timespan?
There are plenty of problems in the genital area which can resemble herpes (and vice versa). An infected hair follicle, a pimple, a cyst etc etc.
Herpes does not always include multiple sores, it can also show up as one single sore. The itching feeling you get prior to the appearance of the sore is also a possible symptom. Cultures are notorious for giving back false negatives if the sore isn't "fresh" enough at the time it was cultured....so your best bet is to go to your doctor or a clinic and ask for a herpes blood test. The fact that its a sore, it itched, and it recurred in the same place as before is a warning sign.
You need a herpes blood test to put your mind at ease.
Last edited by new_to_this; 03-20-2005 at 01:37 PM.
Thanks for the replies everyone. I didn't know about the possibility of a "false negative" until visiting this site. I honestly don't remember how soon after the sore appeared last year that I had it checked out. I think I've already passed the "window" to have a culture for this new one. About the blood test...should I ask my gyn for that, or do I ask my primary care physician? I didn't know that hsv could be so hard to diagnose.
Also, I wanted to know if herpes outbreaks are usually painful (i am experiencing pain and discomfort right now),and if there is anything in the house or over the counter that I can put on this sore to help ease the discomfort, or make it go away sooner.