What Are The Recurring Symptoms
HSV-1 is a latent and lifelong virus. This means it lies dormant in the system, only to appear sporadically throughout the course of its hosts lifetime. Recurring outbreaks of HSV-1 are much less severe than the initial outbreak and only include the fluid-filled blisters or cold sores. After the blisters form, they eventually break and the fluid oozes out. A yellow scab crusts over the broken blister. Once the scab falls off, theres new skin underneath. These lesions tend to appear in clusters either on the face or in the genital region, and they can last anywhere from 7 days to 3 weeks. Recurring symptoms appear months or even years after the initial outbreak and can continue to occur randomly throughout the infected persons life. Symptoms can surface every month, every year, and sometimes they may never appear at all . Unfortunately, there is no way to identify exactly when the HSV-1 symptoms will emerge. Outbreaks tend to decrease in frequency and severity as time goes on because the body builds up more antibodies to fight off the virus.
Prognosis Of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes can be treated and managed. Baill stresses that for most people who have healthy immune systems, the high-risk times for giving a sex partner genital herpes are during the first outbreak and during later outbreaks of sores.
Without such an outbreak, the viral load is usually not sufficient to infect a normal, healthy partner, she says. Antiviral medication can be effective at controlling the frequency and the severity of genital herpes outbreaks, Baill says.
For some people, though, even the times when no symptoms are present can be risky ones for transmission.
If you have genital herpes and your partner is taking biologic drugs for rheumatoid arthritis or MS or psoriasis, you may need to be extra careful, says Baill. It may take a lower viral load to infect people taking those medications.
In these situations, she says, you may want to take antiviral drugs in an ongoing way to keep your viral load low and protect your partner.
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Transmission Of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease spread by skin-to-skin contact. The risk of infection is highest during outbreak periods when there are visible sores and lesions. However, genital herpes can also be transmitted when there are no visible symptoms. Most new cases of genital herpes infection do not cause symptoms, and many people infected with HSV-2 are unaware that they have genital herpes.
To help prevent genital herpes transmission:
- Use a condom for sexual intercourse.
- Use a dental dam for oral sex.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Be aware that nonoxynol-9, the chemical spermicide used in gel and foam contraceptive products and some lubricated condoms, does not protect against STDs.
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Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
What Does Genital Herpes Look Like
While some people with genital herpes will never have any symptoms, other people can develop symptoms within a few weeks of being infected.
Often, before the lesions appear, patients describe a prodrome, characterized by a tingling or burning sensation in the area where the lesions will develop that can be noticed during urination, along with itching or discomfort in the genital area.
You can also have the following symptoms:
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Fever, headache or pain in the joints
- Trouble urinating
The symptoms of genital herpes often go away and come back as recurring outbreaks. For most people, the first outbreak is the worst, and can last from two to three weeks. Future flare-ups are often less severe and do not last as long. Still, some people shed the virus regularly. The following triggers can make outbreaks more likely to occur:
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Menstrual periods
Recurrent genital herpes is most common in the first year after the initial infection and decreases as time goes on.
In many cases, anti-herpes medicine can help patients. When a person experiences a prodrome and suspects a recurrence is going to happen, they begin taking anti-herpes medications that lessen symptoms and shorten the time of the outbreak.
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Treatment For Herpes On Scrotum Using Oral Antiviral Agents
Oral antiviral agents are widely used for the treatment of herpes.
There are eleven antiviral agents that are effective against herpes virus. Of these most commonly used in the treatment of herpes on the scrotum are the systemic antiviral agents: Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir, whose trade names are Zovirax, Valtrex and Famvir, respectively.
It is important that you know that oral antiviral agents do not remove the virus from your body, i.e. they do not guarantee the cure of herpes on the scrotum. Its function is to prevent the reproduction of the virus and therefore to reduce the time of the herpes outbreak and its intensity.
Oral antiviral agents usually have adverse side effects for your health and are contraindicated in certain cases. For this reason you should not take any of these medications without the indication of your doctor.
Although there are several oral antiviral agents, in the treatment of herpes on scrotum, only one of them is used and by medical prescription.
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Herpes Causes And Risk Factors
Causes of herpes include acquiring the virus through sexual contact, coupled with immune system suppression and sometimes nutritional deficiencies.
HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact. On the other hand, HSV-2 is considered a sexually transmitted disease and usually passed during oral or vaginal sex.
A scary finding is that more cases of genital herpes than ever before are now being caused by HSV-1 , and about 85 percent of people with genital herpes dont even know it. Studies show that about 50 percent of the new genital herpes infections in young adults are due to HSV-1 and about 40 percent in older adults. The fact that most people dont ever find out theyre infected is one of the reasons that transmission rates are steadily climbing.
Risk factors for acquiring herpes include:
- Kissing someone who has symptoms of an active herpes virus
- Engaging in any form of unprotected sex
- Having sex with multiple partners
- Spreading the virus through contact with cold sores on the eyes, secretions on the fingers, or ulcers/sores on buttocks and upper thighs
- Having certain other illnesses that lower immune function, such as HIV/AIDS, an autoimmune disorder or hepatitis
- Eating a poor diet that causes nutrient deficiencies and lowered immunity
- Smoking cigarettes, drinking high amounts of alcohol or abusing drugs
Find A Doctor You Feel Comfortable With
While some doctors have a special interest in sexual health, others may not be familiar with, or comfortable discussing, these issues. Finding a doctor with whom you can openly and comfortably discuss these issues is important. There are doctors who specialise in this area: some are in private clinics, while others belong to sexual health services. There are also sexual health services in country areas. All sexual health services are strictly confidential.
Talk to your doctor if you are feeling worried about the impact of genital herpes on your sex life, relationship or future relationships. Your doctor can give you advice on how to discuss sexually transmitted infections with your partner, and can recommend support groups.
Why Creating A Cure Is Difficult
Experts suggest that even if antiviral drugs destroy the active parts of the infection, it only takes a small amount of the virus to hide in the nerve cells and become dormant for the herpes virus to continue.
To find a treatment, scientists need to understand further the mechanism that enables the infection to hide. By preventing this mechanism, they might be able to tackle the whole infection before parts go dormant.
Some medications may reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms and lower the chances of passing the infection on to others. Current antiviral medications to treat herpes include the following medications:
first form of treatment for HSV infections. A doctor may treat a skin or mucous membrane infection with oral acyclovir, provided the person has a competent immune system.
People with high levels of stress or trauma may experience more frequent recurrences of genital herpes. In this case, a doctor may advise psychotherapy and counseling.
Some home remedies, such as petroleum gel or essential oils, may alleviate the discomfort that herpes lesions cause.
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When To Call The Doctor
Even though HSV sores can hurt and be unsightly, most cases of herpes do not cause serious illness. The sores go away in a few days. Contact the health provider if:
- Sores are present and you think it might be a first herpes infection. The diagnosis is usually made by examining the sores. If the sores have not healed, sometimes a laboratory test is done.
- Sores do not heal by themselves or show signs of infection such as pus, spreading redness or fever.
- Sores are near the eyes.
- You have another health condition with a weakened immune system.
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
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Symptoms Of Genital Herpes In Females
Getting a menstrual period can cause an outbreak of genital herpes.
Also, a person may mistake the symptoms of genital herpes for those of a yeast infection or bladder infection.
Genital herpes can spread in the following ways:
- receiving oral sex from a partner with a cold sore
- touching a herpes sore, then touching the genitals
- a baby can contract genital herpes during birth if the mother has the virus
People can sexually transmit the virus even if they have no visible symptoms.
It is not possible to contract genital herpes from toilet seats, bedding, swimming pools, or touching other objects. The virus can only spread from human-to-human contact.
When Should You Call Your Doctor About Genital Herpes
With an initial outbreak, if an individual has signs or symptoms of a genital herpes infection, he or she should seek the care of a doctor as soon as possible, particularly if the diagnosis of genital herpes has not been previously established. Although genital herpes infections generally are not medical emergencies, treatment is more effective when it is started within the first few days of the outbreak.
Subsequent outbreaks rarely need immediate medical attention.
- If an individual has had a genital herpes outbreak before, discuss options for preventing further outbreaks with a doctor.
- People with severe underlying medical problems are at higher risk of severe illness if the disease is untreated. These individuals should contact a doctor immediately upon noticing genital herpes sores.
- A pregnant woman with signs or symptoms of genital herpes must inform her doctor as soon as possible. Prompt medical therapy may reduce the risk of transmitting the disease to newborn children by exposure in the birth canal.
In otherwise healthy people, genital herpes outbreaks rarely require hospital visits. If an individual is experiencing an initial episode of genital herpes and cannot be seen by a regular doctor within the first few days of the illness, it is advisable to go to a hospitalâs emergency department to have medical treatment started.
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How Can I Reduce Flare
Flare-ups of the cat herpes virus are commonly treated with ointments or eye drops. Your veterinarian may recommend giving your cat amino acid supplements to boost their immune system.
You can also help your cat reduce flare-ups by providing them with a clean, comfortable environment. All bedding and blankets for your cat should be washed regularly. Bowls, trays, and litter boxes should be cleaned daily and kept in an area that is easy for your cat to access.
How Is Herpes Transmitted
The source of herpes is not known. Many researchers believe that the virus is transmitted through sexual contact, and consider it a sexually transmitted disease. Herpes may be spread through contact with the blisters at any time that they are visible. Men may have blisters in their urethras, where they cannot be seen. They may be unaware of a mild attack and transmit the disease unwittingly.
How Do Dermatologists Diagnose Herpes Simplex
During an outbreak, a dermatologist often can diagnose herpes simplex by looking at the sores. To confirm that a patient has herpes simplex, a dermatologist may take a swab from a sore and send this swab to a laboratory.
When sores are not present, other medical tests, such as blood tests, can find the herpes simplex virus.
Is Genital Herpes Infection Related To Hiv
Herpes and HIV are caused by different viruses. But patients infected with these viruses are more likely to transmit either disease to their sexual partners. Patients with herpes are more vulnerable to HIV infection. People newly diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.
Patients who are infected with both herpes and HIV also may have a higher concentration of HIV viruses in their body because of the interaction between the herpes virus and the HIV virus. When HIV damages a persons immune system, the person may be more likely to shed herpes simplex virus asymptomatically.
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What Types Of Doctors Treat Cold Sores
Most pediatricians and primary care providers are very familiar with cold sores and their treatment. Most cases do not need the services of a dermatologist . An infectious-disease specialist is often consulted in complicated cases, such as herpes encephalitis or herpes in a person with a weak immune system. The care of an ophthalmologist is important in managing ocular herpes, or herpes keratitis.
Treatment Of Cold Sores
Currently, there are no cures or vaccines for cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus . Frequent hand washing will help reduce the spread of the virus to other parts of the body or to other people. Also, applying cool, moist compresses to the lesion may decrease pain and keep the lesion from drying and cracking.
- Many people acquire the virus and have no symptoms or signs.
- For others, painful fluid-filled small blisters appear near the area where the virus entered the body.
- Typically, the blisters heal completely but may reappear at some point in the future.
- In between attacks, the virus resides deep in the roots of the nerves of the involved area.
- When herpes simplex flare-ups appear in their most common location, around the mouth, chin, and upper lip, people often refer to them as “cold sores” or “fever blisters.”
- Oral herpes may cause ulcers, fluid-filled blisters, or sores anywhere inside the mouth, including the gums and the tongue.
- It may also cause sores inside the nose and around the nostrils. Herpes may also affect the eye.
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How Are Genital Herpes Diagnosed
Other STIs, like syphilis, cause similar symptoms. In addition to a physical exam, your healthcare provider will take a fluid sample from the blisters to test for the herpes virus. If your blisters are healed or you dont have blisters, a blood test can check for HSV-2 antibody, a marker that shows you have been exposed to the virus.
What Is Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is a virus that causes skin infections. The infection lasts your lifetime, and it causes painful or itchy sores and blisters that come and go. Herpes simplex virus typically doesnt cause severe problems. But it can be dangerous in infants and people with weakened immune systems. There are two types of herpes simplex:
- Herpes simplex 1 tends to affect your mouth or face. It causes cold sores. HSV-1 spreads through contact with saliva .
- Herpes simplex 2 is a sexually transmitted disease . It causes sores on skin that comes in contact with the genitals of an infected person.
Sometimes a herpes infection can affect other parts of your body, such as your eyes or other parts of your skin.
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When To Talk With A Doctor
Herpes isnt curable, but it can be treated with antiviral medications. These medications can reduce the severity of an outbreak.
If you suspect you have herpes, make an appointment with a doctor. Its also a good idea to talk with your doctor about a herpes screening if:
- your current or previous sexual partner has herpes
- youre planning to have sex with a new partner
- you had a risky sexual encounter
If youve already been diagnosed with herpes and youre currently experiencing an outbreak, the outbreak might go away without causing complications and without treatment.
However, its wise to make an appointment with your doctor if:
- the outbreak is particularly painful or unbearable
- youre experiencing symptoms of other STIs
- youre experiencing frequent, severe outbreaks
If youre sexually active, its a good idea to have regular STI screenings. You can book appointments for STI screenings with your doctors office. You could also try a local clinic, certain pharmacies, or Planned Parenthood.