Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

How can I tell the difference between genital herpes and acne?

How can I tell the difference between genital herpes and acne? I have a bump on the outer lip of my vagina, where the pubic hair stops, that looks like acne-but I’m not sure.

That’s a great question, but a hard one. Whenever you get any type of bump, lump, sore or rash in your genital region, especially if you’ve never had it before and don’t know what it is, it is very important that you get it checked out by a health care provider. It may feel awkward to describe and show your bump to a provider, but he/she can diagnose the condition, give you advice about treatment, and potentially alleviate your fears. Keep in mind that even if it goes away, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is gone from your body. If you are hooking up with anyone, I would recommend waiting until after you meet with a health care provider to engage in any type of activity that involves the affected area. People do get infected hair follicles in their pubic hair, so it is a possibility that’s what you have, or it could also be pubic acne. On the other hand, approximately 45 million people in the U.S. have genital herpes (CDC, 2001), and it’s more common in women than in men. Don’t risk it; make an appointment at Student Health and Counseling (5-4996) and get it checked out. If you want more information on genital herpes, feel free to email me ([email protected]), call (5-4095) or drop by my office (Women’s Building, room 2).

When will I stop getting more pubic hair? And when will I START getting chest hair.

Everyone goes through puberty at different times and at a different pace. You may know people whose voices changed really early, but whose bodies still haven’t really filled out or gotten much hair. Or maybe you have a friend who left school last year all scrawny and hairless, and came back this year looking buff and sporting a goatee. Men’s bodies go through changes more slowly and at a later age than women’s. While the majority of women will not grow very much in college, if at all, most men still have some growing to do.

Your pubic hair will continue to fill in around your genitals and your anus. Most men will get pubic hair before they start developing chest hair. It’s possible that you won’t develop hair on your chest until late in college or even after. Keep in mind that there are probably guys out there that are dreaming of the day they will get more pubic hair. If your pubic hairs are starting to creep up past your belly button, well, you may want to ask a doctor about that one.

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