Herpes is a common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV).

It’s possible to get herpes symptoms on your buttocks, especially if it’s related to genital herpes (HSV-2) spread through sexual contact. In rarer cases, oral herpes (HSV-1) can cause herpes outbreaks on the buttocks, too.

This virus can stay dormant in your body for years after contraction but can cause outward symptoms during outbreaks. The most notable signs of herpes are bumps, sores, or blisters on the skin.

Read on to learn more about how to identify herpes on the buttocks, how it’s treated, and how you can help relieve some of these symptoms at home.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of herpes on the buttocks:

  • skin feels itchy or burns before bumps or blisters appear
  • red bumps or lesions sensitive to the touch that may look like a rash or pimples
  • fluid-filled blisters with light-colored centers
  • clusters of bumps or blisters on the lower back, buttocks, or inside the groove between your buttocks (also known as the crack)
  • discomfort or pain while peeing

How common is it?

Herpes lesions on the buttocks are relatively common during an outbreak. A 2006 study of 237 people with herpes found that buttock symptoms appeared about 20 percent of the time across all participants.

During a herpes outbreak, you may also notice symptoms that affect other parts of your body, such as:

  • red bumps around your genitals, anus, and inner thighs
  • tingling sensations in your legs
  • head or body aches
  • swelling in your lymph nodes
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • fever above 101°F (38°C) or higher

You’ll most commonly find herpes in this area on the lower back just above your buttocks or on the skin of the buttocks on either side of your crack. Less commonly, you’ll find outbreaks inside the buttocks or the anus.

Below is a gallery of images that can help you identify a herpes outbreak in or around your buttocks.

To diagnose herpes on the buttocks, a doctor may first look at the physical symptoms you’re experiencing.

Physical exam

Identifying red, itchy bumps or blisters along with fever, body aches, or swollen lymph nodes may prompt a medical professional to test for the presence of the herpes virus in your body.

Fluid sample

Tests performed by a laboratory are needed to confirm a diagnosis of any kind of herpes. If your sores or blisters are producing fluid, a healthcare professional can take a sample of the fluid and send it to a lab. The fluid will be examined for herpes and to see what type of HSV is causing the infection.

Blood test

A blood test can also be used to diagnose HSV. The test looks for antibodies created to attack the virus. This test tells you only that you have the virus, not why the infection began or how long you’ve had it.

Also, the blood test might not reveal a positive result immediately. Your result could come back negative after you first outbreak.

There’s also a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that can analyze your DNA to find out whether you have HSV in your body and whether it’s HSV-1 or HSV-2.

There’s no known cure for herpes. Once you have acquired the herpes virus, it remains in your body for years, even if it doesn’t cause any symptoms. But there are many effective treatments for herpes outbreaks.

Some outbreaks go away on their own. Typically, a herpes outbreak will disappear after 1 to 2 weeks without medical treatment, especially if you keep the area clean.

After a diagnosis of herpes on the buttocks, a doctor may recommend several treatment options to help relieve your symptoms and prevent recurring outbreaks.

  • Antiviral medications: Antiviral treatments like valacyclovir (Valtrex) or famciclovir (Famvir) can be taken daily. This suppressive therapy, or taken as needed to reduce the occurrence of outbreaks, makes symptoms less severe when you do have outbreaks. It also lowers the chance you’ll spread it to sex partners.
  • Pain medications: Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) can help reduce pain, discomfort, or swelling from your symptoms. Prescription topical ointments or creams for pain can also be applied to blisters and sores to help relieve pain.

Here are some home remedies you can try to help relieve the pain and discomfort of a herpes outbreak on the buttocks:

  • Bathe or shower every day during an outbreak, gently rinsing the area with warm water and gentle soap to prevent bacterial infections in open sores or blisters.
  • Wash your hands every time you touch an open sore or blister to help stop the virus from spreading to other parts of your body, such as your mouth or eyes.
  • Apply a cold compress to areas of blisters or sores to reduce swelling and relieve pain, such as by wrapping an ice pack or frozen vegetables in a clean cotton cloth.
  • Wear loose cotton underwear to reduce the rubbing of clothes against the irritated area and prevent bacteria from building up in dark, moist areas around your buttocks.
  • Use a lubricant like petroleum jelly to reduce friction on blisters and sores to promote healing.
  • Soak irritated areas in warm water and Epsom salt for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to help relieve pain and discomfort.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse until the outbreak has cleared to help prevent further injury or transmission.
  • Use protection during sex, such as condoms, dental dams, or other barrier methods to prevent the spread of herpes. Also, let all of your sexual partners know that you have herpes. You can still transmit the virus even if there’re no blisters present.

Home remedies may be enough to help you get through an outbreak before it heals and goes away.

But seek immediate medical attention if herpes symptoms are disruptive to your daily life or if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Sores or blisters don’t go away on their own after 2 weeks or get worse over time.
  • Pain or discomfort becomes severe and distracting, even with home treatment.
  • You have severe symptoms like a fever that don’t get any better for more than a week.
  • You have severe pain or discomfort when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
  • You feel any hardness or lumps under the skin around the infected area or in your genital area.
  • You have trouble passing urine or stool or can’t do either without severe pain or obstruction.

Herpes on the buttocks can be uncomfortable but often goes away on its own with home remedies after a couple of weeks.

There’s no known cure for herpes, but medical treatments can help reduce how many outbreaks you have and how severe your symptoms are.

See your doctor if your outbreak symptoms become disruptive to your daily life.