Causes And Risk Factors Of Genital Herpes
Two types of viruses cause genital herpes herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 .
Usually, HSV-1 causes oral herpes, which becomes visible in the form of cold sores, or fever blisters, on the face, close to the mouth. Most people contract an oral herpes infection during their childhood or young adult years from nonsexual contact with the saliva of an infected person.
HSV-1 mainly spreads through direct contact with cold sores or saliva. Having oral herpes, or cold sores, does not mean that you have genital herpes. But if you have oral herpes, you can spread it from your mouth to another persons genitals if you perform oral sex on them.
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What Causes Recurrent Herpes Simplex Labialis
Herpes simplex labialis is the result of a virus called herpes simplex virus type 1 . The initial acquisition usually occurs before age 20. It typically affects the lips and areas around the mouth.
You can get the virus from close personal contact, such as through kissing, with someone who has the virus. You can also get oral herpes from touching objects where the virus may be present. These include towels, utensils, razors for shaving, and other shared items.
Since the virus lays dormant inside the nerve cells of the face for the rest of a persons life, symptoms arent always present. However, certain events can make the virus reawaken and lead to a recurrent herpes outbreak.
Events that trigger a recurrence of oral herpes might include:
The original acquisition may not cause symptoms at all. If it does, blisters may appear near or on the mouth within 1 to 3 weeks after your first contact with the virus. The blisters might last up to 3 weeks.
In general, a recurrent episode is milder than the initial outbreak.
Symptoms of a recurrent episode may include:
- blisters or sores on the mouth, lips, tongue, nose, or gums
- burning pain around the blisters
- tingling or itching near the lips
- outbreaks of several small blisters that grow together and may be red and inflamed
Tingling or warmth on or near the lips is usually a warning sign that the cold sores of recurrent oral herpes are about to appear in 1 to 2 days.
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How Are Cold Sores Treated
Cold sores cant be cured, but, if symptoms are severe, treatment may help relieve some symptoms. Treatment may include:
Antiviral topical ointments
Antiviral oral medications
Over-the-counter topical anesthetics or anti-inflammatory agents may help with symptoms
Cold sores take about 1 to 3 weeks to heal. The first time they appear, they can take up to 3 weeks to heal. But, when cold sores return, they usually take a week to heal if no medicines are used. Antiviral medications may help, but they need to be started before day 3 or 4 of the blister formation. Antivirals are usually not recommended for otherwise healthy people. Always consult your health care provider or dentist if the sore does not heal or becomes worse as time passes.
Recognizing The Signs: The Prodrome
Early in the phase of reactivation , many people experience an itching, tingling, or painful feeling in the area where their recurrent lesions will develop. This sort of warning symptomcalled a prodromeoften comes a day or two before lesions appear. To be on the safe side, its best to assume virus is active during these times.
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What Are Genital Herpes Infections Like
The first herpes infection is usually the worst one. Genital herpes infections come back over and over again. The first time, you may have one sore or many sores. The sores are painful. Some may be hidden inside the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder. The sores make urination painful. Some people also have a fever, a sore throat, deep tiredness and body aches. These problems might last three weeks.
After the first infection, HSV sores can come back any time. They often come back when you are sick with something else and when your immune system isnÃ¢t strong enough. Genital herpes might come back 4 to 6 times a year at first. After a few years, the herpes sores hurt less. They come back less often.
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What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Women
Like men, women who have HSV-1 or HSV-2 may have no symptoms or signs of the infection. Some women may only have an initial outbreak and no other recurring symptoms. Others may have chronic recurring outbreaks of the herpes virus, and some women may not have an outbreak for months or even years after they have first been infected.
In the first herpes outbreak, symptoms usually start within 2 weeks of contracting the virus. The initial symptoms may include:
-Around the buttocks or thighs
-Inside the cervix or urinary tract
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Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer
How Long Do Herpes Outbreaks Last
When you hear the word herpes, the image that comes to mind is probably one of a sore at the edge of your lip that crops up every time you have a cold or a fever. But herpes is a little more complicated that that. Believe it or not, most people who have herpes have absolutely no idea. Thats because, for the most part, the virus can be entirely asymptomatic. Usually the first infection when it comes to oral herpes happens sometime during childhood and not from sexual contact, and the symptoms are a lot more like a cold. In severe cases, the initial outbreak can involve a fever, swollen lymph nodes, swollen gums, and sores in your mouth, throat, or on your tongue. An initial herpes outbreak lasts around 14 days but can take up to six weeks for sores to fully heal .
Much like oral herpes, an initial genital herpes infection can last a lot longer than subsequent outbreaks and may be accompanied by fever and other whole-body symptoms and some symptoms may persist for weeks. Recurrent genital herpes outbreaks cause symptoms like itching, redness, and irritation in the genital area, but like oral herpes, genital herpes can also be asymptomatic . A genital herpes outbreak may begin with pain in the genitals and shooting pains or tingling in your legs, hips, or butt. These symptoms usually occur before you can see any blisters or lesions .
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Drying Out Herpes Blisters Quickly
Used to quite an active member but have generally come to terms a little with my illness over the past ten months. As a back story I caught herpes off my new partner. He didnt know he had it and it was a terribly tough time. Ive been through a major depressive period, but to those of you struggling, there is light at the end of the tunnel. On suppressive therapy and looking after myself I have been herpes free for about 8 months which has been awesome.
Unfortunately Ive just been on holiday and got a little lazy in taking my daily tablets And here I am. 5 days into an awful outbreak.
Has anyone got any advice on how to heal the broken sores quicker ? Ive been bathing and keeping them clean, washing with soap and water and applying some witch hazel but this is dragging out now, some of the sores are still not drying and obviously it is irritated and causing me pain. Walking and sitting in my work clothes is not comfortable and I just want this to end ASAP ! I forgot how annoying the outbreaks are!!
Do any of you apply anything directly to your sores ? Bearing in mind I am female and this is already a sensitive area and I dont want to irritate myself further
Thanks in advance for any suggestions, willing to try absolutely anything at the moment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes
Many people with genital herpes wonât get any symptoms, or may get symptoms for the first time months or even years after they were infected.
For most people, the first blisters go away within a month. Although the outbreaks clear-up by themselves, the virus stays in the body. This means that people usually get blisters again â which is called having a ârecurrent outbreakâ. Outbreaks usually become shorter and less severe over time.
Other symptoms can include:
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Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Pregnant women who get genital herpes during pregnancy, or who had genital herpes before becoming pregnant, can spread the infection to their babies during delivery. If its not treated, it can be deadly to the baby. The risk of giving herpes to your baby during delivery is low, however. Most women who have genital herpes give birth to uninfected babies.
Still, its important to avoid getting herpes while pregnant. And if youre pregnant and already have genital herpes, you should have regular prenatal visits. If you dont have your own doctor, find a Planned Parenthood clinic, a community health center, or another clinic that provides prenatal care.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had symptoms of, or have been diagnosed with, genital herpes. Also tell your doctor if you have ever been exposed to genital herpes.
Some research suggests that genital herpes infection may increase the risk of miscarriage or heighten the risk that you will give birth too early.
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, your doctor may prescribe herpes medicine late in your pregnancy. This medicine may reduce your risk of having signs or symptoms of herpes when you give birth. At the time of delivery, your doctor should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you do have herpes symptoms at delivery, the doctor may do a cesarean section .
Risks Of Herpes And Pregnancy
Transmitting the infection to your baby during labor and delivery is the biggest concern with genital herpes during pregnancy. If this happens, your baby could have very serious health problems.
You can transmit herpes to your baby during labor and delivery if your body is shedding the active virus at that time . The risk is greatest if you get genital herpes for the first time in the third trimester. You can also transmit the virus if youve had herpes before and have an outbreak around the time of labor.
In rare cases, if you get an initial herpes infection during your first trimester, the virus could pass through the placenta and cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. Herpes can also be transmitted to your baby after birth, and the complications can be severe.
However, by taking a few precautions and getting proper medical care, you can minimize your babys risk of getting infected.
Herpes in newborns generally shows up in one of three ways:
Skin, eye, and mouth infections : Most babies born with herpes get this type of infection. A baby with SEM may have sores at delivery or develop them up to six weeks later, but the sores typically turn up when your baby is between 1 and 2 weeks old.
Herpes sores usually look like blisters and can appear anywhere on a babys body. They often appear in a place where there has been a minor skin injury or irritation, like on the arm under the hospital wristband or at the spot where an electrode was placed.
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What Is Recurrent Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus. The first signs of infection are small lumps, then blisters which quickly turn into painful sores a few millimetres across. The sores can last for 5 to 10 days and in a first episode there is often a mild flu-like illness with fever, lethargy, and irritability. Sometimes a flu-like illness can develop without typical genital ulceration and sometimes there is also a vaginal or urethral discharge. The sores will eventually heal, even with no treatment. The virus is not gone but remains quietly in nerve cells close to the original infection it is this virus which can then break out again and cause a recurrence of symptoms. Symptoms are usually less severe in subsequent episodes. Sores in a totally different area are not likely to be linked to the original outbreak and should be checked again by a doctor.
Herpes: The Virus That Doesnt Show Any Symptoms
It is not uncommon for people to be unaware that herpes can also cause no visible sores. It may also appear as a rash or a skin condition on the genitals. In rare cases, an allergic reaction to herpes can also cause confusion with other skin conditions. If you are experiencing any unusual or unexplained symptoms, you should consult a medical professional.
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How Long Before The First Outbreak
If someone has contracted HSV but not yet experienced a herpes outbreak, truthfully theres no 100% accurate way to determine when one will occur. An outbreak can occur within a week of exposure, or years later.
First, consider that everyones body is different, as is their immune system. If a person has a strong immune system, then it can be possible for an outbreak to occur years after contracting the virus.
Whats more, some strains of HSV are more forceful and aggravating than others.
There is what is considered typical, and that is that people often have their first outbreak two weeks after contracting it. But this just isnt reliable, because its equally accepted that people can often have outbreaks after two years.
Thats why so many people will have trouble pinpointing when they got herpes at all. There are varied statistics and possibilities:
Stress is a common trigger for an outbreak.
What Happens During An Outbreak
Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. You catch it by having intimate contact with someone who has the virus.
In between episodes, most people don’t know they have been infected by it. The virus remains in your nervous system and can be reactivated from time to time to give you symptoms. Outbreaks can occur in the genital area if the first infection was in the genitals. They cause crops of small painful blisters in the genital area and back passage . Herpes can also cause recurrent cold sores if the primary infection was around the mouth.
No one knows why outbreaks occur, although sunlight, physical illness, excess alcohol, and stress are all thought to be trigger factors. They often do become less frequent over time.
Recurrent episodes of genital herpes generally don’t last as long as the first outbreak. They are sometimes preceded by itching or tingling in the genital area. Recurrent outbreaks usually last about 7-10 days, shorter than the primary infection which can last up to two weeks. They are also often milder than a primary infection but as R35506 found, the shallow ulcers left when the blisters break can still be quite painful.
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How To Tell If Its A Yeast Infection Or Herpes
Vaginal yeast infections are very common up to 75 percent of women will experience this fungal infection in their lifetime, and many will have more than one, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by the fungus candida albicans. The naturally contains a balanced mix of yeast, which includes candida, and bacteria. But an overgrowth of candida or penetration of the fungus into deeper vaginal cell layers can cause a yeast infection, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- A burning sensation, particularly during intercourse or urination
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese
- Watery vaginal discharge
While a vaginal yeast infection isnt considered a sexually transmitted infection and is not contagious, there is an increased risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection when you first start having regular sex. Sexual contact can sometimes cause a yeast infection, if you have a bad reaction to another persons natural genital yeast and bacteria, according to Planned Parenthood. Infections may also be linked to oral sex, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, an impaired immune system, certain oral contraceptives, and hormone therapy can also cause an overgrowth of fungus, which can lead to a yeast infection.