Almost everyone who has genital herpes symptoms will experience further symptoms at least once more. About 70-90% of people with symptomatic HSV-2 and 20-50% of people with symptomatic genital HSV-1 will have a recurrence within the first year.
Most recurrent attacks are much less severe than the first attack, but can still be painful and disruptive to your life. This can vary from person to person, as can the symptoms and location of each outbreak.
Outbreaks are often preceded by early symptoms or warning signs (known as prodrome symptoms). These include mild tingling or itching in the genital region, or sometimes pain in the genitals, legs or buttocks. The duration of prodrome symptoms varies –they may be as short as 30 minutes or last up to 5 days before an outbreak.
The good news is that daily suppressive antiviral therapy can help reduce the number of outbreaks and make them less severe when they do occur. Speak to your doctor about the best way to prevent future outbreaks.