How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex
Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.
To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:
- Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
- Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
- Speaking with a therapist.
What Is The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Genital Warts
Both genital herpes and genital warts are STIs, are spread through skin-to-skin contact, and are caused by a virus. But the viruses that cause genital herpes and genital warts are different:
- Herpes simplex virus is the virus that causes genital herpes.
- Human papillomavirus is the virus that causes genital warts.
There is no cure for either genital herpes or genital warts. But, different medicines can help manage the symptoms of herpes and treat the complications of HPV infections that can cause genital warts.
Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.
A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.
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What Are The Treatment Options For Genital Herpes
Treatment with antiviral medication is a good idea the very first time people have an outbreak of genital herpes. Later outbreaks are often milder, and then medication isn’t always needed. Preventive treatment may be considered if the outbreaks are frequent.
Genital herpes may clear up on its own. But the symptoms are often more severe the first time you have an outbreak. Most people then use antiviral medication to relieve the symptoms and prevent complications. These medications include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir.
When Is Preventive Treatment Considered
Some people have outbreaks of genital herpes very often or experience especially severe symptoms. Then it may be a good idea to take antiviral medication for a longer time including during symptom-free phases. The goal is to prevent further outbreaks and to keep the symptoms from becoming so severe. Also, the antiviral medication reduces the likelihood of infecting others. As preventive treatment, the WHO recommends the following:
- aciclovir: 400 mg two times per day,
- famciclovir: 250 mg two times per day or
- valaciclovir: 500 mg once per day.
Research shows that preventive treatment can considerably lower the risk of further outbreaks. The people participating had four or more herpes outbreaks per year before the start of the studies, and then took an antiviral medication or a fake treatment for up to one year. A comprehensive analysis of the study results shows that
- 96 out of 100 people who took a placebo had at least one further outbreak of genital herpes.
- 46 out of 100 people who were given antiviral medication had at least one further outbreak of genital herpes.
In other words, the medication prevented further outbreaks in 50 out of 100 people within one year.
People with very frequent herpes outbreaks also benefited from preventive treatment: In one study involving people with very frequent outbreaks, the medication lowered the number of episodes in one year from 11 to 2.
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First Episode Of Genital Herpes
The initial episode is the first episode of genital infection with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 . Primary genital herpes is the first episode in an individual with no pre-existing antibodies to either HSV type. A non-primary first episode is the first infection in an individual with pre-existing antibodies to the other HSV type.
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How Is Herpes Simplex Treated
Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.
During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.
Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:
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Genital Herpes: Common But Misunderstood
First recognize the symptoms and signs, then take action to prevent outbreaks
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause small, painful sores in the genital area. The symptoms may include low-grade fever, itching, burning, and trouble urinating. But many people with the disease dont realize they have been infected with HSV, because either they have only mild or infrequent symptoms, or no symptoms at all. In women, herpes outbreaks can also be mistaken for vaginitis, urinary tract infections, or even hemorrhoids.
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Management Of Sex Partners
The sex partners of persons who have symptomatic genital herpes can benefit from evaluation and counseling. Symptomatic sex partners should be evaluated and treated in the same manner as patients who have symptomatic genital herpes. Asymptomatic sex partners of patients who have symptomatic genital herpes should be asked about a history of genital symptoms and offered type-specific serologic testing for HSV-2. For partners without genital herpes, no data are available on which to base a recommendation for PEP or PrEP with antiviral medications or that they would prevent acquisition, and this should not be offered to patients as a prevention strategy.
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Pay Attention To What You Eat
ASHA reports that some people believe foods containing the amino acid arginine, such as legumes and whole grains, can contribute to outbreaks. A few older studies, conducted in 1981 and 1987, showed a possible connection, but ASHA states there is no clinical evidence to support these studies. However, because triggers may vary based on the individual, keep track of the foods you eat to determine if there is a connection.
Transmission Of The Virus
The highest risk of transmission is during the blister phase, although some virus may be present just before or after an outbreak. Get as informed as you can about the condition and become aware of symptoms such as tingling that indicate you’re about to have an attack. Abstain from sexual activity during an outbreak and consider using condoms and dental dams at other times for added protection.
“This indicates they are likely to have contracted the virus through receiving oral sex from a partner with a cold sore,” he explains. So it is also important to be aware of facial herpes outbreaks in the context of sexual health.
For most people who have been diagnosed, the risk of passing the virus on to someone else when they don’t have any visible symptoms is incredibly low, says O’Mahony.
“The issue with asymptomatic shedding has been blown out of all proportion. Some people will shed tiny amounts of virus in between outbreaks, but it’s very unlikely there’s enough present to cause an infection in somebody else.”
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How To Prevent Lip Herpes Outbreak
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Avoid Spreading The Virus
The following may reduce the risk of spreading the herpes simplex virus:
If you have sores on your face:
Do not kiss anyone
Do not have oral sex
Do not share items such as silverware, cups, towels, and lip balms
If you have tingling, burning, itching, or tenderness where you had a herpes sore, keep that area of your body away from others.
You can prevent spreading the sores to other parts of your body by:
Washing your hands after touching a cold sore.
Using a cotton-tip swab to apply herpes medicine to a cold sore also helps.
When you have sores or symptoms do not have sex with uninfected partners.
If you do not have sores or symptoms, use a latex condom to lower the risk of spreading the virus. You should know that even with a condom, it is possible to spread the virus if it lies on nearby skin that the condom does not cover.
If you are pregnant tell your doctor if you or your partner has genital herpes. You may need to take medicine at the end of your pregnancy to prevent passing the virus to your baby.
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Myth: People With Herpes Must Be Promiscuous
The reality of any STI is you dont need to sleep around to get infected. This is especially true for herpes, considering theres such a large population of asymptomatic carriers, says Dr. Dardik. While having more partners obviously increases your risk of any kind of any kind of sexually transmitted infection, the reverse doesnt always hold, she points out. In other words, all it takes is one partner.
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Is There A Way To Prevent Getting Herpes
You can protect yourself and your partner by taking steps to prevent an outbreak of herpes. Some things that you can do include:
-If you already have herpes, dont have sex until the outbreak is completely gone, even with a condom.
-Try to learn the signs of an impending outbreak, such as itching, tingling and burning, and stop having sex as soon as you notice.
-If you wear contact lenses, dont wet your lenses with your saliva. This could spread your herpes infection to your eyes.
-Dont have sex with your partner until your herpes sores are completely healed.
-Always tell your partner if you are infected with the herpes virus before you have sex. Even though it can be embarrassing and difficult, herpes is very common, and telling your partner will help keep the infection from spreading.
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How Does Herpes Simplex Spread
Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
People may get HSV-1 through
- Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
- Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.
People may get HSV-2 through
- Oral sex with someone whos infected.
- Skin-to-skin contact without ejaculation.
- Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
- Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.
You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.
Consider These Supplements With Caution
The amino acid lysine healed sores and prevented their recurrence in laboratory studies at UCLA in Los Angeles. Other potential supplements that may fight off herpes attacks include zinc, in topical form or capsules, or the food additive butylated hydroxytoluene , taken as a supplement. But despite mixed studies on their effectiveness, these two are unproven remedies, say most doctors. If you decide to try either, know that high dosages may be dangerous and should be taken only under a doctors supervision.
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I Sometimes Get Twinges And Pains Around My Buttocks Or Down One Leg What Does This Mean
Occasionally, herpes simplex virus can cause burning skin sensations, deep aches or sudden twinges in the genital area. When they occur in the thighs or buttocks, they are sometimes compared to sciatica. These symptoms are called prodromes or prodromal symptoms. They are a sign that the virus is trying to reactivate and there may be virus on the skin surface. Sometimes sores will follow, but very often your immune response overcomes the virus before visible signs appear. For email version or posted version of more information on treating genital herpes, select tips to prevent recurrences on the subscription form.
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Herpes Outbreak Treatment Options
Even without treatment, most herpes outbreaks go away on their own. There are treatments available, however, which have been proven to shorten and even prevent future outbreaks. These antiviral medications work by preventing the virus from making copies of itself and spreading through your cells to cause an outbreak. If you suffer from oral herpes, a healthcare provider may recommend a topical cream or ointment that you should apply at the first sign of an outbreak. If you experience recurrent genital herpes outbreaks, you may be offered oral herpes treatments which are pills you take by mouth. Examples of antiviral drugs include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir . These are all standard options proven to help decrease the severity and length of outbreaks from herpes .
Prescription antiviral treatments are usually very effective at prevent future outbreaks, reducing the chance of experiencing an outbreak by 7080%. Many people on antiviral therapy report experiencing no herpes symptoms at all . Using medication within the first 24 hours of symptoms can shorten outbreaks by several hours or days, ultimately reducing any discomfort in the long run .
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Are Antiviral Medications Safe
Antiviral medications are considered to be very safe. They are nearly always well tolerated because the active ingredients only have an effect in cells that have been infected by the virus.
People who have kidney failure may need to take a lower dose because the medication is removed from the body through the kidneys.
How To Manage Herpes Outbreaks
Use plain soap and water. You may be inclined to bombard your newly discovered sores with everything in your medicine cabinet. As with any sores, you do need to be concerned about developing a secondary infection, but soap and water is all you need or want to keep the area sufficiently germ-free.
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What Happens During Your Initial Herpes Outbreak
Your first herpes outbreak, known as the initial or primary infection, is usually the most severe. Some lucky people remain asymptomatic, but its common to experience intense flu-like symptoms within seven to 14 days of becoming infected with the herpes virus.
Symptoms of an initial outbreak often include:
- -Fever and chills
- -Difficult or painful urination
- -A tingling sensation in the affected areas
You can expect your initial herpes outbreak to last two to four weeks before it finally clears up. The good news, at least, is that future outbreaks are usually shorter and less painful than the first.
Talk To Your Doctor About Suppressive Therapy
Valacyclovir has been shown to lower the risk of herpes transmission to a virus-free partner by 50%. A daily regimen of 500 milligrams of valacyclovir has been effective for partners with a history of recurrent attacks. Its likely that a combination of suppressive valacyclovir and condoms provides greater protection than either method alone.
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Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.