If a guy takes a close look at his penis, he may notice the presence of penis bumps. Not all men have them, but penis bumps are fairly common. Many times – as with Fordyce spots, little light raised bumps – they are completely benign. But other times they can be a sign that a penis health issue may be present. For example, genital herpes is sometimes accompanied by the presence of penis bumps.
Herpes in or around the penis in men (or the vulva in women) are known as genital herpes, and are caused by either HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus-1) or HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus-2). Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD); some 775,000 people in the United States acquire it every year.
This form of herpes is almost always transmitted through sexual contact. It may be spread from the genitals of an infected person coming in contact with those of a non-infected partner. Similarly, it can be passed on if a non-infected person performs oral sex on the genitals of a person who is infected, or it could be obtained through anal sex as well.
There are several symptoms that are classically associated with genital herpes. The most common are the penis bumps, which in this case usually take the form of blisters or lesions. These show up from 2 to 12 days after a person has become infected with the herpes virus. When these blisters appear, a person is said to have an “outbreak” of herpes. There usually is pain associated with the blisters. Sometimes there may also be fever, headaches, body aches, or swollen lymph nodes; these tend to be more pronounced during the first outbreak and less intense during subsequent outbreaks. Some people state that they can tell when a subsequent outbreak is coming because they experience pain in the genitals, posterior, or legs.
However, it is important to note that many people who become infected with herpes experience absolutely no symptoms. Unfortunately, that does NOT mean that they cannot pass the herpes virus on to someone else. And since they do not show any symptoms, it means they can do so with neither partner having any knowledge that the virus is being transmitted.
There can be complications associated with herpes. For example, a woman who is pregnant may pass herpes on to the child during childbirth, and this can lead to a potentially deadly infection in the child. Herpes can also be especially problematic for a person with HIV.
The most effective way to avoid herpes is to be in a monogamous relationship in which both partners tested negative for herpes. However, this situation is not easily available for all people. Using condoms when having sex helps significantly, but it is not foolproof, especially if the virus is present on areas not covered by a condom. Individuals who know they have herpes should avoid having sex when an outbreak is present or if they suspect one is imminent.
Herpes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Suppressive medications can help to reduce the number and/or severity of recurrent outbreaks.
Fortunately, most penis bumps are not caused by herpes – and many are helped by maintaining proper penis health. This is made easier by the regular use of a first-class penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Men should seek out crèmes that can maintain appropriate penis skin care, such as those that contain not only a natural hydrator (vitamin E is one) but also a high-end emollient (such as shea butter). In addition, penis skin can be strengthened if the crème contains a potent antioxidant, such as alpha lipoic acid, which can fight off oxidative stress by attacking excess free radicals.