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Could This Be Herpes?

By Anonymous December 9, 2014 - 11:28am
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I am currently a 21 year-old female. Back in September, a guy at school (who apparently was sleeping around with a lot of girls unbeknownst to me) tried to have unprotected sexual intercourse with me after he had fingered me. But because he didn't have a condom, I didn't allow him to continue. However, there was some bare contact (when he tried to penetrate) and he may have even slightly penetrated (it was hard to tell). A few days after the encounter, I began to feel discomfort at the lower part of my vagina, close to the entrance on the left side. It was a bit itchy and irritated. I figured this was the result of the fingering, and that it was normal irritation, and that maybe he had scratched me. When I found out about his sexual behaviors with other girls, I immediately went to the student health clinic and had a pap smear and pelvic exam done. I told the doctor about what happened, too. She examined me and said that everything looked normal. I pointed out the spot of irritation and she prescribed a topical cream and said that it was just an abrasion.

I also asked her if there were any STD tests that she thought I should have due to the encounter. A gonorrhea and chlamydia test were going to be done with the pap smear already, but she said that she didn't think I needed any other tests, and if I still wanted them, I would have to wait to do HIV, Herpes, and Syphilis. I used the cream, and the itchy, irritated spot went away.
Fast-forward to December, and I have recently gotten on birth control (depo-povera) and I have been in a monogamous sexual relationship with someone who gets routinely tested, and we always use condoms. (Though there has been some unprotected frottage or rubbing of genitals together without penetration). My results for my pap smear were normal, and I tested negative for gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, several days ago, the itchy, irritated spot returned, in the same exact spot. At first, I didn't really think anything of it, and started to apply the cream again, but after some research, I'm afraid it could be something else because it has recurred. I also suffered a UTI in addition to this, but I managed to clear it up quickly with a dose of Azo. Further, yesterday, while I was inspecting my vagina, I noticed there was a small, dark red spot (like a blood spot) in the opening of my vagina on the vaginal corona/hymen area. It's about the size of a pen head. I did not touch it, but it doesn't hurt or itch, or seem to be causing any discomfort. My partner and I had engaged in intercourse two days prior, so I don't know if this has anything to do with this red spot. Also, after using the cream for a few days, the itchy, irritated spot is no longer itchy or irritated. I made an appointment to have it checked out on Friday, but I've been so worried about it, that I tried to move the appointment up for today, but was only able to get one for tomorrow. Depending on what the doctor says, I will likely get tested for herpes. Also, right now I'm taking finals, and have been under a lot of stress, so I was wondering if that could be a contributing factor. I also wear panty liners a lot, because I have an active vagina, though I always use unscented and try to change them regularly.
What do you think this could be? I know you'll probably say that I need to have it checked or be tested, but I'm really worried and wanted to see if I could get any type of input before tomorrow. I'm praying it's not herpes or anything serious, because I really don't want to have something incurable, and certainly don't want to pass something like that to someone I love. Do you think this sounds like herpes?

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Hi Anon,

Thank you for following up with your response. At this point, it's hard to say what the cause is as I am not qualified to make a diagnosis. 

A thorough exam and testing will have to be done by your doctor to really figure out what is going on and once he or she sees the red spot, they will know what to do to treat you.

I hope that you you don't worry too much until your appointment. You could always go in for an exam now and wait for the testing till after your period. 

I wish I could be of more help, but this is definitely in the hands of your doctor at this point. Be sure to have all your symptoms listed out and all of your questions so the exam can be as thorough as possible.



December 10, 2014 - 12:15pm

Hi there,

Based on everything you have said, it might not be an STD at all! It might be possible that you are allergic to condoms! Here is some information that I found:

What symptoms appear if you are allergic to condoms?

First, it is important to know if you are allergic to condoms because of the latex or because of another reason. Some condoms contain spermicide, and this can be the cause of an allergic reaction instead of the condom itself.

If you experience symptoms each time during intercourse, try a different brand of condom, one that does not contain the most common spermicide, nonoxynol-9.

MD-Health indicates spermicide allergy is less common than latex allergy, but it can cause similar symptoms and may even cause painful blisters, swelling and abrasions in the genital area.

Fatal reactions to spermicide are rare but do occur.

Once you’ve eliminated other possible causes of irritation, it is time to consider the possibility you are allergic to condoms.

There are two types of latex condom allergies. Type I allergy, which can be life threatening and is known as anaphylaxis, is characterized by a sudden drop in blood pressure and unconsciousness. The other type of latex allergy is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction or Type IV allergy.

Symptoms of Type IV allergy, also known as a contact allergy, include:

Skin rash/ hives




Watery eyes

Runny nose

Yeast infections

Anon, what do you think?


December 9, 2014 - 1:07pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to kristincaliendo)

Dear Kristin,

I thought about a condom allergy too, but I didn't think that was necessarily the issue because I had experienced this weird itchiness/irritation with the first guy, who did not use a condom when he tried to penetrate me. In that regard, I didn't think that it was a condom allergy.

However, that is not to say the theory is without merit. My new partner and I, who started our sexual relationship in November, were first using Trojan condoms for her pleasure, and we recently switched to the bareskin. I'm not sure if these contain spermicide or not. So in short, I'm not sure if the change of condoms caused this irritation, or the little red spot. Plus, do you think a condom allergy would cause such a spot? Perhaps the irritation, but the spot does not appear to be a rash or hives. And I do not really have any of the other symptoms.

The cream she prescribed was Nystatin and Tramcinolone Acetonide Cream. It's an antibiotic medication that prevents fungus from growing (also a steroid), it's used to prevent fungus or yeast. When I apply the cream, I find that it helps with the itching and irritation. Does this suggest that it's some sort of mild yeast growth occurring? And I though yeast infections produce white spots, not blood spots that look like blood clotting under the skin...

Let me know what you think,


December 9, 2014 - 1:30pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Also, I may have failed to mention that when my partner and I had intercourse a couple of days prior to the appearance of the red spot, he did finger me a bit beforehand, though he keeps his nails short. Do you think this was significant in creating the spot?

December 9, 2014 - 2:24pm

Hi Anon,

Thank you for reaching out to the EmpowHER community and sharing your question. I am sure that you are very stressed out about this situation. I am glad that you are handling it responsibly and maturely and getting checked out. 

The small red spot doesn't sound like herpes to me. In women, genital herpes usually causes blistering lesions on the vulva and around the vaginal opening that progress to ulcer formation. It is usually painful and bothersome and will burn when urinating or touching the blister.

Typically, right before an outbreak of herpes, there's a very recognizable tingling or unusual skin sensations that happens down there. Have you experienced that tingling? It almost feels like electricity, not itching. 

I am sure that you are going to be ok, the tests that you will take tomorrow will let you know for sure. 

Try not to stress out and be very thorough with your doctor during the exam.

Anon, did this help?



December 9, 2014 - 12:21pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to kristincaliendo)

Hi Kristin,

Thank you so much for your prompt response and helpful information. Unfortunately, after writing my comment, I got my period! So I had to call and reschedule the appointment for next Wednesday (because apparently I can't get STD tests on my period either...), but I'm trying not to stress! And fortunately, I took a picture of the spot before then (in case it went away before my appointment), so I'll be able to show the doctor in the event it is gone by next Wednesday.

As to not stressing, your assessment helps abate my fears significantly. I was mostly worried about herpes because STD info sites have said that herpes symptoms can be mild, and are often confused with other symptoms or conditions, or go unnoticed because they don't always cause pain/itching/irritation. I also read that itching could start at the site of where the virus entered the body. I was worried because the itching/irritation I was feeling was occurring in the same spot as last time.

There was only one time that while I urinated there was a slight sting (that could have been in the area of the red spot), but I don't know if the red spot was present at this time, and this was after the Azo started working to clear up my UTI. Do you think that is significant?

I wouldn't say that the itching I felt (which was in a separate spot as the little red spot), felt like electricity. It was more a dull itching, not enough to make me scratch, but was noticeably uncomfortable. And every time I would check where it was itching, the area would only look red. I couldn't see any visible blisters or anything, (but of course, I'm not entirely sure what I should be looking for because I'm not an expert). What do you think?

Thanks again for your help!

December 9, 2014 - 12:45pm
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