How To Cope After Diagnosis
Many posters were occupied with the issue of passing on the infection. Yolandayw points out that you can minimise the risk of transmission by postponing sex until all the sores have healed. She also mentioned that condoms should be used. They won’t completely prevent transmission but they will help.
Ending on a positive note, many posters emphasised that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Learning of the diagnosis may feel stressful at first, but it’s a manageable condition and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Lucy03934 has had genital herpes for 25 years. She’s been married for 18 years and has two sons – living proof that there is life after herpes.
Meet Nearby People With Herpes
PositiveSingles is the largest online dating and support community for people with herpes. Online since 2001, it has the largest user base among all the STD dating sites and APPs. You will find out there are plenty of people around you.
Thank you Positive Singles for providing me the avenue to meet my life long Soul Mate, the Love of my Life. It has been a wonderful year since we met and I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with Lisa.
It started as a long distance relationship for 6 months but after that we moved in together. Wishing the same for everyone else searching for their mate.
How Common Is Genital Herpes
Genital herpes infection is common in the United States. CDC estimated that there were 572,000 new genital herpes infections in the United States in a single year.1 Nationwide, 11.9 % of persons aged 14 to 49 years have HSV-2 infection .2 However, the prevalence of genital herpes infection is higher than that because an increasing number of genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-1. 3 Oral HSV-1 infection is typically acquired in childhood because the prevalence of oral HSV-1 infection has declined in recent decades, people may have become more susceptible to contracting a genital herpes infection from HSV-1. 4
HSV-2 infection is more common among women than among men the percentages of those infected during 2015-2016 were 15.9% versus 8.2% respectively, among 14 to 49 year olds. 2 This is possibly because genital infection is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men during penile-vaginal sex. 5 HSV-2 infection is more common among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites . 2 A previous analysis found that these disparities, exist even among persons with similar numbers of lifetime sexual partners. Most infected persons may be unaware of their infection in the United States, an estimated 87.4% of 14 to 49 year olds infected with HSV-2 have never received a clinical diagnosis. 6
The age-adjusted percentage of persons in the United States infected with HSV-2 decreased from 18.0% in 19992000 to 12.1% in 2015-2016. 2
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What Is A Cold Sore
Cold sores are small blisters that are reddish and a little painful. Theyâre usually on the outer edge of the lip or inside the mouth.
Cold sores can appear one at a time or in little bunches. Theyâre filled with fluid, but crust over and form a scab before they go away. They last a week or two and usually donât need any special treatment.
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Which Foods Should You Avoid During An Outbreak
If you have symptomatic oral or genital herpes, youll likely experience outbreaks on occasion even with a flawless diet.
During a herpes outbreak, the best way to fight the virus and speed up healing is through the use of an antiviral medication such as valacyclovir. This is a prescription medication that youll need to talk about with your doctor.
While theres no proof that food can worsen or improve a herpes outbreak, many people with herpes report improvements after avoiding certain foods.
Avoiding foods with a herpes outbreak is tough, but generally, stay away from anything spicy, salty or oily, as these foods are most likely to irritate the lips and gums. Acidic drinks, like fruit juices, are also best avoided if you have open cold sores that could potentially become irritated.
Studies also show that arginine, an amino acid found in a variety of foods, can play a role in the spread of viruses such as herpes. Arginine has viral growth properties, meaning it may increase the rate at which viruses like HSV-1 and HSV-2 multiply in the body.
As such, its best stay away from foods high in arginine like turkey breast, pork loin, chicken breast, nuts , pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, soybeans, dairy products and lentils during an outbreak of herpes.
Instead, stick to a simple, healthy diet that gives you a complete supply of vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients without supply excessive amounts of arginine.
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How Is It Spread
Herpes is passed from person-to-person by direct skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the virus , even without visible herpes sores.
It also is possible to pass herpes if one person touches the part of their body that has herpes and then immediately touches another persons mouth or genitals. Sharing sex toys without changing condoms or washing toys may also pass the virus. During a primary first outbreak, it is possible to pass the virus to another area of that persons own body, by touching the sores and then touching another part of their body .
The chance of passing herpes is highest when there is an active outbreak . However, HSV can still be passed when there are no symptoms , but this is less likely. Women who have an active outbreak in late pregnancy can pass the infection to their baby during a vaginal childbirth.
Ask About Sexual History
Ask all partners whether theyâve been tested recently for STIs before sexual contact. Limiting the number of sexual partners you are exposed to will also decrease your risk of contracting genital herpes and other STIs.
If youve had unprotected sex, or if you experience symptoms of genital herpes, visit your healthcare provider or local STI clinic for an STI screenings.
If you have genital herpes, be open with your partner and talk about the risks of transmission.
Douching should be avoided, as this may actually increase chances of contracting an STI .
Researchers are working towards the development of other preventative strategies, such as an HSV vaccine and topical microbicides to help prevent the spread of herpes .
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How To Manage Herpes Flare
If you have herpes, youre not alone. Its one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases on the planet. No one knows for sure how many people have it, but researchers estimate over 1 in 6 Americans and about two-thirds of people worldwide have the condition.
Once you have herpes, it can stay inactive in your nerves for the rest of your life. But sometimes the virus becomes active again and causes an outbreak or flare-up of symptoms.
At the private practice of Beth and Howard Braver, MD, in Aventura and Hollywood, Florida, our board-certified team of physicians diagnoses and treats many types of STDs including genital herpes. Our confidential STD testing helps ensure your health and the health of your partner.
Heres a closer look at herpes and what you can do to manage flare-ups.
Treatment If The Blisters Come Back
Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.
Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.
But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.
Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.
Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.
Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.
If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.
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Use This Treatment To Speed Up Healing
Traditional genital herpes treatment options dont always offer the lasting relief you need, especially during a painful outbreak. Thats why the Luminance RED stands out from other over-the-counter genital herpes treatments.
The Luminance RED is an FDA-registered device you can use to shine medically-optimized wavelengths of light on herpes sores or in areas where sores often form. High-powered, optimized wavelengths of light can shorten the healing time and reduce the pain of genital sores.
For example, clinical data shows that high-powered light treatment reduces healing time from 8.2 days to 1.8 days and extends the time before the next recurrence from 124 days to 455 days!
Treatment with light is a proven and simple way to discreetly take control of your genital herpes.
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:
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How Can I Lower My Chance Of Passing Or Getting Herpes
Condoms offer good protection, but do not completely prevent the spread of herpes because they do not cover the whole genital area. Condoms can also be used on sex toys. Abstain from sex or avoid skin-to-skin contact in the area of the herpes sores if you are sexual during an outbreak. Dental dams can also be used as a barrier during oral sex. Talk to your health care provider about suppressive therapy to help prevent passing the virus to your partner. Wash your hands if you have touched the blisters to prevent transferring the virus to another person . Talk to your partner about herpes before you have sexual contact.
How To Keep A Flare
Antiviral medication is the best way to manage a flare-up. Another key step is to know your triggers. Many people find certain things cause reactivation, including food, stress, clothes, sunlight, and certain medications.
Other strategies for managing flare-ups include:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Eating a well-balanced, whole-foods diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Using warm water to ease discomfort
- Using a separate towel for genitals and washing after each use
- Wearing loose, cotton undergarments
- Avoiding touching blisters or sores
Also, avoid putting ointments and creams on the sores. These prevent air from reaching the sores and slow healing.
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Does Bleach Cure Herpes
The short, and responsible answer to whether bleach cures herpes is no.
There is no cure for herpes at all. The herpes simplex virus will stay in the human body forever. Over time, the virus will go dormant, and may appear to have been cured.
However, according to Web MD, herpes outbreaks can be triggered by several factors. Stress, a poor diet, colds, monthly female hormone changes, and even sun exposure can trigger an outbreak of herpes simplex virus- 2.
More Questions From Patients:
Many people with genital herpes have no symptoms, or have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed.
The first time genital herpes symptoms appear is called the first episode or initial herpes. Initial herpes symptoms are usually more noticeable than later outbreaks.
Symptoms of genital herpes in men may include
burning when you pee if you have sores
trouble peeing if you have sores covering your urethra
itching or pain around your genitals
During initial herpes, symptoms may also include
swollen, tender glands in the pelvic area, throat, or under the arms
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Expect The First Outbreak To Be The Worst
Remember that although herpes lasts a lifetime, the first outbreak typically causes the most pain, while later outbreaks tend to be much milder.
You will always have herpes, and the sores will come and go, but you can decide not to treat the current outbreak. If its not that unpleasant or uncomfortable, some patients will do that, says Gade.
Always Use A Condom And/or Barriers
People who use condoms every time they have sex have are 30% less likely to contract genital herpes .
Condoms should be used before any genital or sexual contact beginsânot just during ejaculation. Since outbreaks and viral shedding may occur in areas not covered by a condom, total protectionâeven with perfect and consistent condom useâcannot be guaranteed .
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Triggers That Keep Cold Sores Coming Back
Once you have HSV-1, theres no fool-proof way to stop cold sores occurring. However, taking antivirals can help reduce the frequency of the outbreaks. Having a healthy body and immune system can also reduce the chance or outbreaks from occurring. The following factors all increase the risk of cold sores returning:
- Reusing glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, and other items you used when you had a cold sore without thorough cleaning.
- Using lip balm, lipstick, or gloss youve used when you had a cold sore.
- Spending a lot of time in the sun, especially without sunscreen.
- Feeling stressed.
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Upgrade Your Eating Habits
Are you eating a standard American diet, or SAD? That means eating lots of meat, fast foods, and processed foods and few fresh fruits and vegetables. Such habits not only work against living comfortably with herpes, they also raise your risk for many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Consider upgrading your eating habits through a few, not-so-hard-to-make changes.
Eat more veggies. Try to prepare home-cooked food more often. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed, says LeeAnn Weintraub, RD, MPH, a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles. She considers these three tips to be the first steps anyone who wants to eat more healthfully should follow.
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Mayo Clinic Q And A: Cold Sore Virus Can Wake Up After Remaining Dormant For Years
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have had a few cold sore flare-ups over the past few months after years without getting any. What causes them to come back, and whats the best way to treat them?
ANSWER: Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Once youre exposed to the virus, which is typically passed from skin-to-skin contact, its present in your body for life. After the initial infection, the virus will travel to your nerves, where it remains dormant but may awaken periodically. Often, theres a trigger that causes the virus to wake up, which leads to the development of cold sores. Theres no cure, but antiviral medications can help cold sores heal more quickly and may reduce how often they return.
A cold sore is a small, fluid-filled blister or more often, a group of blisters that typically develops on or around the lips. These blisters quickly dry out and form a scab. A day or two before an outbreak occurs, you may experience a burning, itching or tingling sensation on the area of skin where the sore eventually will appear.
Common triggers that can lead to cold sores include stress illness, such as a cold or influenza exposure to sunlight, wind or other elements a cut or injury to the skin changes in the immune system and hormonal changes.
Most cold sores will heal on their own within a couple of weeks. If the discomfort bothers you, a nonprescription pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help.
What Do Genital Herpes Symptoms Look Like
Other symptoms can include:
- tingling or burning around the genitals
- feeling unwell, with aches, pains and flu-like symptoms
- unusual vaginal discharge in women.
Many people with genital herpes wont get any symptoms, or may get symptoms for the first time months or even years after they were infected.
For most people, the blisters go away within one to two weeks. Although the outbreaks clear-up by themselves, the virus stays in the body. This means that people usually get blisters again which is called having a recurrent outbreak. Outbreaks usually become shorter and less severe over time.
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