Genital Herpes is the most common sexually transmitted disease, and most people are not aware of their condition. Here let’s discuss it in detail:
- What is genital herpes?
- Causes of genital herpes
- How is genital herpes transmitted?
- Genital herpes symptoms
- Treatment of herpes
- Herpes prevention
What is genital herpes?
We can define herpes as a viral infection of the body which is caused by the Herpes Virus. When this infection occurs in the genital region of man and woman, it is known as genital herpes.
There are two types of Herpes Simplex Virus which are HSV 1 and HSV 2. HSV 1 is more responsible for cold sore or herpes in other parts of the body but can cause genital herpes too. Same as HSV 2 mostly causes genital herpes but can also cause general herpes.
Causes of genital herpes
Both HSV 1 and 2, viruses get into the body through the mucous membrane. The mucous membrane covers all openings of the body like the vagina, glans, penis, mouth, anal, and others. Once Virus penetrates the mucous membrane, it makes its home in the nerve cell of the pelvic region.
This Virus does not cause any sudden symptoms. HSV remains silently in the body, and once immunity goes down due to any reason, it outbreaks.
Typically herpes will appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. When the blisters break they leave tender ulcers (sores) which can take two to four weeks to heal the first time. Usually another outbreak will appear weeks or months after the first and is almost always less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Even though a herpes infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.
How is genital herpes transmitted?
Men are less likely to contract genital herpes virus, one in eight, and women are more at risk, one in four. This is probably due to the fact it is much easier for a woman to contract this infection from a man and less likely for a man to contract the infection from a woman.
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease. The strain of HSV can be found in the fluid of an infected person and transmitted through direct touch. Other ways of transmitting are:
- Sexually contact
- Kissing or oral sex
- From mother to baby, during delivery
Genital herpes symptoms
Genital herpes causes blister-type lesions. The appearance of blisters is known as the outbreak of the disease. The first outbreak may happen to be as early as 2 days or 30 days afterward. These herpes blisters are red in color, cause severe burning sensation and pain. It also produces watery discharge, which makes them moist. These blisters spread very fast. Outbreak happens to start with one blister and often spread within one day. Infection and blister of herpes in different parts of female genitals called with different names too like vaginal herpes, herpes on the vagina and in male, it is commonly called as penis herpes.
60% of all those infected with the herpes virus show no signs of the disease, show no herpes symptoms, and have no knowledge of the infection. While they are asymptomatic, or show no herpes symptoms, they are still capable of passing the virus to others.
For those who do display herpes symptoms, the first outbreak is usually the most severe, as that person has not had the infection before and has not built up any anitbodies to the infection.
Upon the initial contact with the virus, which reproduces quickly, the skin will become red and sensitive (one of the herpes symptoms). It is not unusual for blisters or bumps to appear, quickly bursting opening into an open infection. This is what is commonly called an outbreak. An outbreak is usually very painful and may itch and burn and is the most common herpes symptom.
a) Common symptoms of herpes:
- Swollen lymph glands.
- Painful inflamed blisters develop around infected area (one of the most common herpes symptoms)
- Muscle ache.
- Vaginal or penis discharge.
- Infection of the urethra causing a burning sensation during urination.
- A burning sensation in the genitals (another of the common herpes symptoms).
- Lower back pain.
- Small red bumps may appear in the genital area following earlier symptoms, later developing into painful blisters, which crust over, form a scab, and heal. (another of the common herpes symptoms).
b) Symptoms of herpes in women:
Genital herpes can infect man and woman, but the woman is at slightly higher risk for it because generally, the female vagina is moist, which makes them preferable environment for the virus. In females, herpes virus blisters can be present in the vagina, vulva, anus, and buttocks.
c) Symptoms of herpes in men:
Blisters of genital herpes in man may be found in the anus, scrotum, and in the head of the penis.
d) Recurrent herpes symptoms:
With recurrent herpes symptoms, it is important to fully understand the active phases of infection so you can avoid sore-to-skin contact when necessary. It is also important to use safer sex precautions for the prevention of herpes and all other sexually transmitted diseases, especially if there are any herpes symptoms.
If you are facing issues such as loneliness and the fear of discussing genital herpes with new partners, keep in mind that these are very common issues and that frustrations can be overcome through a commitment to yourself and to your ability to grow from this experience. In addition, you may wish to have treatment for recurrent herpes symptoms. People with recurrent genital herpes symptoms now have choices to make regarding antiviral treatment for control of the infection.
e) Symptoms of genital herpes in newborn baby or neonatal herpes:
Babies do get infected through normal vaginal deliveries. Genital herpes is not a life-threatening disease to adults, but neonatal herpes can cause severe and life-threatening complications in newborns. HSV virus may enter the central nervous system and cause brain damage, brain retardation, blindness, and other severe conditions. Even early treatment of neonatal herpes is not sufficient because before even producing symptoms, it had damaged the central nervous system.
Here are some common symptoms of neonatal herpes:
- Blister and ulceration on the face, lips, and other parts of the body.
- Bleeding through the blister.
- Fast breathing, fever, and restlessness.
Treatment of herpes
There is no effective treatment for it. Genital herpes medication can only provide relief during an outbreak but cannot cure the condition. Because once the virus is entered into the body, it can remain in a dormant condition in neuron cells for years and can cause a recurrent outbreak. Low immunity due to immunity suppressant drugs, HIV infection, and other diseases plays an important role in the outbreak.
a) Genital herpes medication:
There is no genital herpes cure, but supportive treatment and care can make it easier to live with it.
- Antiviral drugs: There are several antiviral drugs like acyclovir that speed up the healing process during outbreaks. Antiviral drugs also reduce pain and burning that occurred due to blisters.
- Health supplement: Viral infection is associated with low immunity and nourishment. The doctor may advise Multi-vitamins and multi-minerals supplements.
- Immunity booster drugs: There are several Ayurveda drugs that have been scientifically proven to boost immunity, such as Amla, Ashwagandha , Shatavri, Tulsi, and others are effective in treating viral infection.
b) Home remedies for genital herpes:
c) Effective types of herpes treatment are available to reduce symptoms:
You should discuss the value of using herpes treatment therapies such as antiviral agents with your physician.
Here are some suggestions if you have, or think you may have, a first episode of genital herpes:
1. Go to your doctor or clinic as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and herpes treatment will help you to feel substantially better more quickly.
2. Have a trained professional diagnose the problem and confirm the infection by a virus test taken from the affected area (a culture test with typing is preferred, but a direct antigen test or an electron microscope test is also acceptable). A blood test for syphilis, HIV, and possibly hepatitis B may also be performed. Proper herpes treatment will be recommended then.
3. If the pain is severe, you may wish to take a prescription pain reliever as an aid to herpes treatment.
4. If it is helpful, take very warm showers to run warm water over the area 3 or 4 times a day, while not a herpes treatment, it may lessen the discomfort.
5. When you get out of the shower or bath, blow dry the genital area with a hair dryer. Set the temperature on low or cool.
6. Make sure you are passing urine without difficulty. Try urinating in the shower or tub to decrease the sting. Some people have found that drinking a lot of water (8 glasses a day) dilutes the urine enough that it hurts less.
7. If the pain continues, please seek medical attention immediately for herpes treatment.
8. If you cannot pass urine and you’ve tried several times, wait a couple of hours – even 3 or 4. If there is still no result, you must seek medical attention. Not passing urine can lead to serious problems, which are totally preventable by a prescription herpes treatment. Either visit your own doctor or go to the emergency room of a local hospital for recommended herpes treatment.
9. Avoid wearing tight underwear. If possible, do without underwear altogether. Try wearing loose clothes made of pure cotton. When you get home, take a shower or soak in the tub.
10. Talk to your physician about the value to you of using antiviral medications in your herpes treatment.
11. Avoid (because they may be worse than doing nothing and none are a valid herpes treatment):
- Cortisone and antibiotic cream or ointment. Any cream or ointment that does not contain a useful, specific herpes treatment drug.
- Petrolatum (e.g., Vaseline).
- Antibiotics (unless you have a clear-cut secondary infection).
- Alcohol (because it stings).
- DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide).
12. Avoid (because they are of no proven benefitand none are a valid herpes treatment):
- idoxuridine (IDU, Stoxil, Herplex-D)
13. If you have your first episode of herpes during pregnancy, tell your physician. Take care of yourself by giving yourself time to heal, treating any other infections, and continuing your herpes treatment. Even though you are pregnant, discuss the possibility of medications if you are having a true primary episode.
It is hard to learn and figure out everything all at once about herpes treatment, but the answers will come. Your ability to cope and your methods for coping will also evolve.
d) Alternative herpes treatment:
Oxygen therapy for a herpes treatment may offer some promise for people with recurring and especially painful cases of genital herpes. Herpes treatment with the oxygen compound ozone can be used to boost the immune system and fight off the simplex virus.
In oxygen therapy, typically, less than one pint of blood is drawn from the patient, mixed with different amounts of ozone and oxygen, and then reintroduced into the veins. Herpes treatment therapy with hydrogen peroxide, another oxygen compound, may also be effective. Oxygen therapy has more acceptance in Europe than in America. Check for the practitioner’s experience with method of herpes treatment.
e) Herbal medicine for herpes treatment:
Herbs as an alternative herpes treatment can perform several functions for people with genital herpes, including overpowering the simplex virus, boosting the body’s own defenses by strengthening the immune system, and promoting the healing of sores with topical herpes treatment.
An ingredient of licorice root, glycyrrhizic acid, may slow the multiplication and action of the herpes simplex virus (a natural herpes treatment). An ointment of licorice root (glycyrrhizic acid gel), applied daily to the genital area, is commonly prescribed as a herpes treatment. (Patients who use high doses of licorice for more than one month need to be monitored for the potentially serious side effects of this herpes treatment — sodium retention and high blood pressure.)
Echinacea (or purple coneflower) is one of the most widely used herbs in America as a herpes treatment. Its use in cases of herpes is warranted because of its well-established ability to strengthen the immune system. This herb is most often taken orally in either tincture or capsule form as a herpes treatment. Raw garlic eaten on a regular basis can also help the body’s defenses and is an effective herpes treatment for preventing outbreaks. Calendula (marigold) may fight the virus and encourage healing. Soaking in strong calendula tea is often prescribed, and is an effective herpes treatment.
If you know of any herbal remedies as a herpes treatment, please contact us and we will post them.
While there is no guaranteed herpes prevention… short of total abstinence, couples can have sex for years without any transmission of the virus. The best practice of herpes prevention is to avoid sexual contact when signs or symptoms are present simply. A good practice of Herpes prevention means proper care between outbreaks, using condoms, or other protection is recommended to help protect against becoming infected.
Genital herpes does not mean complete abstinence from sex or even reduced enjoyment. The changes or getting the virus from your partner are small if you take the necessary precautions and practice proper herpes prevention.
- Condoms for herpes prevention will greatly reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. In a long-term relationship, using condoms is the only viable option a couple has to continue having sexual relations.
- Practicing the best herpes prevention, couples should avoid sexual intercourse at all costs during an active episode of herpes, including the time from the first warning signs of an outbreak, as this is when the virus is most likely to be transmitted. Sexual contact will also prolong the healing process and is another reason for abstaining from sex during this time.
- Without proper herpes prevention practices, the likelihood of infection is greatly increased if there are any breaks or tears in the skin, sometimes due to “rough” sex or a lack of lubrication. Sores around the buttocks or thighs can be just as contagious as the genital area and should be avoided as well.
- Oral sex should be avoided if the other has a cold sore as this can spread the virus as well.
- Herpes cannot be spread by sharing cups, towels, or toilet seats. The only way to contract the virus is through the skin to skin contact with an active sore. Herpes prevention is effortless if you follow these rules.
The above article is only for knowledge purposes. Please contact your healthcare provider before using any of the above medicine or method. For any query or personal consultation according to your health condition.