Wednesday, November 23, 2022

How To Dry Out Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin

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The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.

During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.

How Often Do Herpes Outbreaks Occur

Outbreak frequency varies greatly from person to person. The average number of outbreaks for a person with the HSV-2 virus is four to five per year, while the average for HSV-1 is less than one outbreak per year. Usually, outbreaks are more common during the first year and become less frequent over time.

When Stress Triggers A Herpes Outbreak These Complementary Therapies May Calm It Down

A healthy lifestyle and the right supplements may offer relief from genital herpes.

A healthy lifestyle and the right supplements may offer relief from genital herpes.

Anna Ivanova/Alamy Alamy

A viral infection causes , and there is no cure for it. But if you have genital , you can use complementary approaches to reduce how often you have outbreaks. Some alternative therapies can also provide relief from discomfort and pain during outbreaks that do occur.

This kind of viral outbreak , and other viruses, like a cold, is usually related to stress and your immunity, says Lucy Gade, MD, MPH, the medical director at the Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine at Northwell Health, in Oyster Bay, New York. As a result, an alternative medicine approach to herpes treatment involves making smart lifestyle choices to foster your general wellness. In doing so, you bolster your immune systems ability to fight the two viruses that cause herpes, herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 .

A healthy diet, appropriate sleep, finding ways to decrease in your life These alone will make your herpes outbreaks less frequent, says Dr. Gade. Such healthy habits will also improve your overall well-being, lengthen your life, and boost your happiness.

But first, make sure you have an accurate diagnosis for whats causing your symptoms.

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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.

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What Does Genital Herpes Look Like

What is this?

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:

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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How Is Genital Herpes Managed Or Treated

If you have mild symptoms or infrequent outbreaks, you might not need or want treatment. During an outbreak, these steps can ease symptoms:

  • Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
  • Keep genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.

Antiviral medications can prevent outbreaks. They can also lessen symptoms and help symptoms go away faster. You take this medicine as a pill, intravenous injection or skin cream. When taken daily, antivirals can prevent an outbreak. They lower the chances of spreading the virus to other people.

Can Genital Herpes Come Back

Yes. Genital herpes symptoms can come and go, but the virus stays inside your body even after all signs of the infection have gone away. The virus becomes âactiveâ from time to time, leading to an outbreak. Some people have outbreaks only once or twice. Other people may have four or five outbreaks within a year. Over time, the outbreaks usually happen less often and are less severe.

Experts do not know what causes the virus to become active. Some women say the virus comes back when they are sick, under stress, out in the sun, or during their period.

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How Often Do Outbreaks Occur

The number of outbreaks someone has varies from person to person. The average number of outbreaks for a person with genital HSV-2 is four to five per year. The average for genital HSV-1 is less than one outbreak per year.

Usually, there are more outbreaks during the first year, and many people find that outbreaks become less severe and less frequent with time.

Herpes triggers are highly individual, but with time, many people learn to recognize, and sometimes avoid, factors that seem to reactivate HSV in their own bodies. Illness, poor diet, emotional or physical stress, friction in the genital area, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light , surgical trauma, and steroidal medication may trigger a herpes outbreak.

The frequency of outbreaks can often be managed through effective stress management, and getting adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. For people with frequent outbreaks, suppressive therapy with any one of the antiviral treatments can reduce outbreaks by as much as 80%.

When Is It Time To See A Doctor For Genital Herpes

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Its important to see a doctor if you suspect you have genital herpes. Your doctor may collect a sample and test it for the herpes simplex virus and other STIs. Once your herpes diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor can help you select a medication or treatment best suited to minimize the impacts of genital herpes on your health and quality of life.

You may also want to see a doctor if your recurring genital herpes outbreaks are causing you intense pain and discomfort. Though herpes isnt a dangerous condition that causes serious health problems, ongoing outbreaks may become a nuisance or cause embarrassment and pain.

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What Are The Signs Of Herpes In Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, there may be a risk of your baby being infected with the virus during delivery. This condition is called neonatal herpes and can be serious or fatal.

Neonatal herpes can result in damage to the central nervous system and can cause mental retardation. Only about 0.1% of babies born in the United States are infected with neonatal herpes even though about 25% to 30% of pregnant women have genital herpes.

Generally, if you are infected with herpes, your doctor will deliver your baby by cesarean section to avoid any risk to your newborn infant.

Women who have herpes before becoming pregnant are at very low risk of transmitting the herpes virus to their babies. If a woman is infected with the herpes virus after becoming pregnant, her baby faces a higher risk of contracting neonatal herpes. Women who are newly infected havent had time to develop the antibodies against the virus and cannot pass them on to the baby for protection.

Talk with your OB/GYN and let them know if you have genital herpes. At the time of your delivery, ask your doctor to examine you early in labor to make sure you dont have any sores or signs of infection like pain, tingling, or itching.

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Types Of Antiviral Drugs

There are three oral antivirals recommended for the treatment of oral or genital herpes:

Famvir, 250 mg Twice daily

Preventing genital herpes recurrence is important as it reduces the risk of HIV. According to the CDC, having an active genital herpes infection increases the risk of HIV by 200% to 300%.

Take Time To Understand Your Diagnosis

What could it be?

For most people, the social and emotional impact of herpes is greater than the physical distress, at least in the beginning. Society tends to have a judgmental attitude about sexually transmitted diseases. Many people feel embarrassed or isolated after they are diagnosed. With time, accurate information, and support, most people put herpes in perspective, says Mitch Herndon, program manager of the Herpes Resource Center and National Herpes Hotline at ASHA.

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Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic

You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.

Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.

Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.

They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.

Who Might Get Herpes Simplex

People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:

  • Were assigned female at birth.
  • Have had multiple sex partners.
  • Started having sex at a young age.
  • Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
  • Have a weakened immune system.
  • Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.

Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?

Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.

Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?

Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.

People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.

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Can I Treat Herpes Simplex At Home

Avoiding known triggers, such as illness or stress, can help reduce how often you have herpes outbreaks.

How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-1 ?

  • Over-the-counter creams such as L-lysine, benzocaine or docosanol .
  • Applying ice to blisters or sores.

How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-2 ?

  • Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
  • Keep your genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
  • Topical 1% or 2% lidocaine may be used as a topical analgesic.

How Can I Reduce The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes

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If you think you have genital herpes because you have one or more of the symptoms or have been sexually intimate with someone who has, you should have a sexual health check-up and get treated as soon as you can. However, there is more that you can do to reduce the symptoms of an outbreak.

If you are experiencing a genital herpes outbreak, you may want to:

  • Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or flannel to soothe pain
  • Pour water over your genitals or use painkilling cream/petroleum jelly to reduce pain while you urinate
  • Use regular water or salt water to keep blisters clean and not infected
  • Keep your hands clean whenever you touch your genitals

You should not:

  • Touch blisters or sores unless putting cream or jelly onto them
  • Have sex of any kind
  • Wear tight clothing that may irritate sores or blisters
  • Put ice directly onto your skin

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How Do You Know If You Have Herpes

Often times, you can tell the difference between herpes sores and pimples just by looking at them. However, for a definitive answer, it is best to seek out a licensed healthcare provider, who can find out if you are infected with herpes using one or a combination of three possible diagnostic tests:

  • Culture test: A fluid sample from a blister or ulcerpreferably a new oneis cultured to detect whether the herpes virus is present. This test is most sensitive within 48 hours of initial symptoms and is usually done during the first episode.
  • Blood test: This tests for presence of antibodies for the two types of herpes viruses . Therefore, it is usually done weeks after the first episode, since it takes time for the body to create antibodies to fight a virus. Because this test detects antibodies specific to the virus, it can tell you what type of herpes simplex virus you are infected with and can be useful in determining the likelihood of future episodes.
  • Polymerase chain reaction test: This test is used to detect the presence of genetic material from the herpes virus. It is the most sensitive test but also the most expensive test, so it is not generally ordered, except in extreme cases.
  • How Do I Treat Genital Herpes

    Although there is no cure for genital herpes, there are treatments available to soothe the symptoms of an outbreak.

    The first time you have a herpes outbreak, immediately take antiviral medicine and use cream for the pain. This is known as a herpes treatment.

    If the blisters come back, antiviral medicine can help shorten an outbreak by a couple of days. However, outbreaks usually settle by themselves and should become shorter each time you experience them over time.

    If you have more than 6 herpes outbreaks in a year, your sexual health nurse or doctor may recommend that you take antiviral medicine for between 6-12 months. This is likely to suppress future outbreaks, and is known as herpes suppression.

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    Use Protection Between Outbreaks

    Although you are most contagious when you have sores, you can spread the virus even when there are no herpes symptoms through viral sheddingsmall amounts of the virus come to the surface of the skin. Shedding can happen at any time. One study found that 70% of cases were contracted when the sexual partner was symptom-free. Latex condoms used between outbreaks for genital-to-genital contact can reduce the risk of transmission. Although condoms dont cover all the potential sites of viral shedding, they are useful against the virus by protecting or covering the mucous membranes most likely to be infected.

    How Long Before The First Outbreak

    Do I have herpes?

    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:

  • People who already had HSV-1 when they contract HSV-2 may be less likely to show symptoms right away.
  • Many people are asymptomatic carriers, which seems to be true more often with men, having no symptoms whatsoever but able to pass it on for decades.
  • Particularly for women, the first outbreak is usually the most severe and recurrences may be more common.
  • HSV-1 can be passed from the mouth to the genitals, and the outbreaks may be milder than those caused by HSV-2.
  • Some strains of the virus are less persistent than others.
  • 88% of people who have it dont realize they do.
  • Stress is a common trigger for an outbreak.

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