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Can I Breastfeed If I Have Herpes

What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes

An All Natural OTC Topical Product for Genital Herpes Outbreak Symptoms

Most women with genital herpes do not know they have it. But, if you get symptoms with the first outbreak of genital herpes, they can be severe. Genital herpes also can be severe and long-lasting in people whose do not work properly, such as women with HIV.

The first signs of genital herpes usually show up two to 12 days after having sexual contact with someone who has herpes. Symptoms can last from two to four weeks. There are other early symptoms of genital herpes:

  • Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Infection Of The Central Nervous System: Insights Into Proposed Interrelationships With Neurodegenerative Disorders

  • 1Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy, Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 2Millennium Institute on Immunology and Immunotherapy, Departamento de Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida, Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile

Herpes: From Mom To Babyand Back Again Via Breast

Dr Boyd is clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown and vice president and breast-feeding coordinator of the West Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Breast-feeding is promoted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups for many reasons. Benefits infants gain from breast-feeding include optimal nutrition better bonding with their mother enhancement of cognitive development lower rates of diabetes, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome and especially, reduced rates of infection.1 Human milk contains an array of protective factors, including leukocytes, antibodies, lipids, and glycoconjugates, that provide resistance to infection.2

BREAST-FEEDING AND INFECTION TRANSMISSION In some instances, however, breast-feeding can transmit infection. In this case, infection was transmitted from mother to infant and then back to the mother via breast-feeding. Because this boys mother had a history of recurrent herpes labialis, it is reasonable to conclude that the infant contracted this infection from his mother. Although the results of a culture from the mothers nipple lesions were negative, the clinical presentation and appearance of the lesions were consistent with a diagnosis of HSV infection. Thus, the most likely scenario in this case is that the mother infected the infantprobably by kissing himand the infant subsequently infected the mothers breast.

Also Check: The First Sign Of Herpes On Mouth

How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes

If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from herpes virus and other STIs:

  • Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
  • Get tested for STIs and complete any needed treatment.
  • Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
  • Use condoms, including dental dams during oral sex.
  • Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.

If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:

  • Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms.
  • Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
  • Wait to have sex until scabs fall off.

Spinal Cord Or Peripheral Nerve Stimulation

What You Should Know about Herpes and Breastfeeding

These devices offer a safe, efficient, and effective way to relieve many types of neuropathic pain conditions. Similar to TENS, they are implanted under the skin along the course of peripheral nerves. Before implantation, doctors do a trial run using a thin wire electrode to determine patient response.

The spinal cord stimulator is inserted through the skin into the epidural space over the spinal cord. The peripheral nerve stimulator is placed under the skin above a peripheral nerve. As soon as the electrodes are in place, they are switched on to administer a weak electrical current to the nerve.

Experts believe that by stimulating the non-painful sensory pathway, the electrical impulses trick the brain into turning off or turning down the painful signals, resulting in pain relief.

Symptoms are usually limited to the area of skin where the shingles outbreak first occurred and may include:

  • occasional sharp burning, shooting, jabbing pain
  • constant burning, throbbing, or aching pain
  • extreme sensitivity to touch

In rare cases, if the nerve also controls muscle movement, there may be muscle weakness or paralysis.

Symptoms may make it hard to carry out some daily activities, such as bathing or dressing. PHN may also cause fatigue and sleeping difficulties.

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Complications Of Genital Herpes

Complications may include:

  • Urethritis , which results in ulceration. There may be no tell-tale blisters so that the presentation is identical to gonorrhoea or chlamydia urethritis.
  • Proctitis , which can occur without external lesions. Symptoms include fever, rectal pain, watery discharge, and autonomic nerve dysfunction that may result in difficulty passing urine.
  • Neurogenic pain -leg and thigh pain, which often leads up to a recurrence.
  • Meningitis is rare.

Also Check: How To Eliminate Herpes Virus From The Body

Can I Breastfeed If I Have Herpes

You can breastfeed with some precautions.

If you have herpes sores on one or both of your breasts:

  • You can keep breastfeeding as long as your baby or pumping equipment doesnt touch a herpes sore
  • Dont breastfeed from the breast with sores. Herpes is spread through contact with sores and can be dangerous to a newborn baby
  • Breast milk can be contaminated if it comes in contact with active herpes lesions, either from touching the breast during hand expression or via the pump
  • Discard expressed breast milk from the affected side until the lesions have healed

Talk to your care provider or a lactation consultant for more advice.

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How Can You Avoid Contracting Hpv

At this time, there is no known cure for HPV, and oftentimes, people do not even realize they have the virus until they are tested for it. If you do have symptoms, there are treatments available to reduce them. In many cases, the virus will clear up on its own. Even though it may be difficult to know if you or your partner carry the virus without testing, there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting it.

Using condoms and dental dams during sexual intercourse or oral sex is a good way to reduce your risk of contracting the virus, but it is not complete protection. One of the best defenses against the high-risk strains of HPV that can lead to cancer is the new HPV vaccinations. Vaccination is now recommended for anyone under the age of 45 who is sexually active. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now also recommend that breastfeeding women under the age of 26 who have not yet been vaccinated should be offered the vaccine. The vaccine is completely safe during pregnancy, and the latent virus that is used in it will not pass to your breast milk, so there is no risk of your baby contracting it.

The earlier you are protected, the less chance there will be of contracting one of the HPV strains that can lead to cancer or other possible health problems. That is why it is now recommended that both boys and girls receive the HPV vaccination between the ages of 11 and 12 to protect them against the virus before possible exposure occurs.

How Is Herpes Treated In Pregnancy

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Its not clear whether all antiviral medications for genital herpes are safe during pregnancy, so follow your doctors lead when it comes to treatment.

Herpes symptoms may be managed with antivirals and during an outbreak, and they may reduce the length and severity of it. Daily medication, which is called suppressive therapy, can also reduce the number of outbreaks you experience.

Recommended Reading: How To Stay Healthy With Herpes

Is It Safe For A Mother To Give Her Infant Hand Expressed Or Pumped Breast Milk If She Has Active Herpetic Lesions On Her Breast

No. Breast milk can be contaminated if it comes in contact with active herpetic lesions through touching the breast during hand expression or via the pump. Therefore, if a mother has herpetic lesions on her breast, she should discard expressed breast milk from the affected side until the lesions have healed. Expressing breast milk will be important for maintaining milk production while not directly breastfeeding from the affected breast. Mothers should be vigilant about practicing appropriate hand hygiene and cleaning the pump parts thoroughly. Mothers should talk with their healthcare provider to determine if their lesions have healed and they can resume breastfeeding or expressing milk from the affected breast.

It is safe to use expressed breast milk from the unaffected breast, as long as the mother ensures that the lesions on the affected breast are completely covered to avoid transmission. Appropriate hand hygiene and cleaning the pump parts thoroughly are still important.

For more information about managing breastfeeding with specific medical conditions, read Lawrence RA, Lawrence R. Breastfeeding: A guide for the medical profession, 8th Edition.

What Are Possible Complications Of Herpes

Theres some research that a genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage or result in the preterm delivery of your baby, which is why its important to discuss any symptoms you have with your physician so your case can be managed carefully.

If you have recurrent herpes , youre at an extremely low risk less than 1 percent of transmitting herpes to your unborn baby.

Same goes if a routine screening for sexually transmitted diseases at your first prenatal visit diagnoses HSV for the first time, or if youre infected during the first trimester of your pregnancy and are asymptomatic.

Only women who are infected for the first time in late pregnancy have a greater risk of infecting their unborn babies, because their bodies have not yet produced HSV antibodies. In the rare case that a newborn gets herpes, transmission most often occurs when the baby passes through the mothers infected birth canal.

To prevent this from happening, your health care provider may prescribe medication in your third trimester to decrease the chances of a herpes outbreak around the time you give birth. And if you have active sores or youre expecting a breakout near your due date, you might be advised to have a cesarean section to minimize the risk of infection.

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Can You Breastfeed If You Have Herpes

Yes, most women can breastfeed their babies even when infected with herpes, as the virus cant be passed through breast milk. But be on the lookout for sores and lesions on your breasts, which can spread the virus and always wash your hands with soap and water before and after each feeding session. If do you spot a sore, dont feed your infant from that side.

And as for milk thats been pumped or expressed by hand from a breast that has an active lesion, its a no-go for your infant. This milk may be contaminated and must be discarded since it may have come in contact with the sore during the process. But if your other breast is sore-free, you can pump and feed that side to your infant, though be sure both your hands and the pump parts are super clean to avoid any transmission.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When Youre Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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Maple Syrup Urine Disease

Could I have HSV

A baby born with maple syrup urine disease cannot break down the amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. When these amino acids accumulate in the baby’s blood, they give off a sweet maple syrup scent that is noticeable in the urine, ear wax, and sweat. The build-up of these amino acids can cause sleepiness, poor feeding, vomiting, seizures, coma, and death.

To fulfill the baby’s nutritional needs, your baby’s doctor will order a special infant formula that does not contain the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine. The doctor may also recommend partial breastfeeding if the amount of breast milk is carefully measured and the baby is monitored closely.

Read Also: How To Prevent Giving Herpes To My Partner

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
  • What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
  • How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
  • Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
  • How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
  • Should I lookout for signs of complications?

Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes

Yes as long as there isnt an open lesion on your chest or breast. If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.

Read Also: Can You Treat Oral Herpes

What Are The Warning Signs In Babies

Because newborn babies have underdeveloped immune systems, they can quickly become seriously ill after catching the virus.

  • is lethargic or irritable
  • has a rash or sores on the skin, eyes and inside the mouth

These are early warning signs that your baby may be unwell.

  • is lacking in energy
  • is becoming floppy and unresponsive
  • is difficult to wake up from sleep
  • has breathing difficulties or starts grunting
  • breathes rapidly
  • has a blue tongue and skin if they have brown or black skin this may be easier to see on their lips, tongue and gums, under their nails and around their eyes

Very often the baby will not have any specific herpes symptoms, such as a rash.

But they can become unwell very quickly, so you need to act fast.

Symptoms Of Genital Herpes For Pregnant Women

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Women who have the herpes virus might have no outbreaks or signs of infection such as cold sores. Many dont even know they have the virus. Once youre infected, the virus stays in your nerve cells for life.

When the virus isnt active, theres no sign of infection. When the virus becomes active, a herpes outbreak occurs.

Some women might have no outbreaks or possibly only one, while others could have multiple outbreaks.

General symptoms of genital herpes infection can include:

  • Tingling or itching on or around the genital area
  • Painful blisters or ulcers on the genitals
  • Pain when passing urine or inability to pass urine
  • A warning tingling sensation just before a sore appears
  • Fatigue and feeling generally unwell.

Contact your GP for an appointment if you have any of these signs of genital herpes.

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Can I Breastfeed With Herpes

If a mother has herpes simplex virus, she can still breastfeed as long as the following precautions are observed:

#1 Prevent baby from touching the sores

As these viruses are spread by simply touching the sores, it is important that your baby doesnt come into skin-to-skin contact with any of the herpes lesions. Sores should be completely covered so the baby cannot touch them.2

#2 Observe strict hygiene

Observing strict hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with soap before breastfeeding and sterilising breast pump parts after each use will help prevent spreading the infection.3

#3 Seek medical advice for babies under three weeks of age

Herpes can be very dangerous and life threatening for a newborn baby up to three weeks of age. A mother should speak to her healthcare provider for the latest recommendations and precautions if she has a very young baby and suspects she has herpes or has recurrent herpes.4

#4 Avoid kissing your baby if you have oral lesions

A mother with a cold sore on her lip can breastfeed but should be warned not to kiss her newborn and to wash her hands often and be very careful about hygiene precautions while the sore is active .

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex

Preventing HSV-1

You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.

If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:

  • Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
  • Touching the skin near their mouth.

Preventing HSV-2

If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:

  • Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
  • Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
  • Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
  • Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.

Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.

If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:

  • Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
  • Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
  • Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.

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Ways To Avoid Getting Herpes While Pregnant

Women who dont have genital herpes should be careful about sex during the third trimester. Unless you know for sure that your partner is herpes free, avoid sex altogether during the third trimester. If your partner gets cold sores , they should not perform oral sex on you during this time.

Some doctors think all women should be tested for herpes when they get pregnant, especially if their sex partners have herpes. Ask your doctor if you or your partner should be tested.

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