Bumps That Aren't Herpes

Herpes results from infection with the herpes simplex virus. It occurs very commonly, with 16.2 percent of adults infected with genital herpes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 57.7 percent of those age 14 to 49 infected with oral herpes. However, many who have been exposed to herpes are unaware that they are infected. They may be asymptomatic, or their symptoms are so minor that they go unrecognized. When a herpes infection is mild, it is very easy to mistake herpes blisters for other commonly occurring bumps.

Man experiencing discomfort Credit: vchal/iStock/Getty Images

Jock Itch

Men experiencing a herpes outbreak often confuse their symptoms for jock itch. Jock itch is a common infection caused by fungi called dermatophytes that live in moist areas. It thrives in the moist darkness of the genital region, according to Kidshealth. The pain, itching, burning and redness associated with jock itch is similar to that of a herpes infection. Jock itch is treated by keeping the area clean and dry while applying antifungal cream or spray.


Hemorrhoids are veins around the anus that have become inflamed and irritated. They frequently appear during pregnancy or from straining during bowel movements, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hemorrhoids cause pain, itching and discomfort that mimic a herpes infection. They are often felt as lumps or bumps around the anus. Because herpes sores can appear anywhere in the genital area, hemorrhoid bumps can easily be mistaken for herpes.

Ingrown Hair

Ingrown hair results when hair that is removed grows back without protruding from the skin. As the hair curls in on itself, bumps form that are easily irritated. They often become inflamed, resulting in pain and itching. Ingrown hairs commonly form when removing hair by shaving or tweezing. In females, the genital area is one of the most common sites for ingrown hair formation. According to the Mayo Clinic, ingrown hairs can cause solid bumps or pus-filled blisters. These appear similar to the fluid-filled lesions that appear during herpes outbreaks.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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