Sunday, May 26, 2024

How To Protect Against Genital Herpes

Im Pregnant How Could Genital Herpes Affect My Baby

Protecting Against Herpes

If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, it is very important for you to go to prenatal care visits. 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. There is some research that suggests that genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage, or could make it more likely for you to deliver your baby too early.

Herpes infection can be passed from you to your unborn child before birth but is more commonly passed to your infant during delivery. This can lead to a potentially deadly infection in your baby . It is important that you avoid getting herpes during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, you may be offered anti-herpes medicine towards the end of your pregnancy. This medicine may reduce your risk of having signs or symptoms of genital herpes at the time of delivery. At the time of delivery, your doctor should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you have herpes symptoms at delivery, a C-section is usually performed.

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How To Get Rid Of Herpes Naturally

Not every person with a herpes infection actually experiences breakouts of cold sores throughout his or her lifetime or even after initially becoming infected. How often someone has a herpes cold sore outbreak, how severe the outbreaks are, how contagious someone is after infection and how long the sores take to heal all depend on someones individual immune response.

1. Boost Nutrient Intake

If youre going to keep the herpes virus from frequently causing outbreaks, the first step in how to get rid of herpes is to improve immune function by boosting nutrient intake. Include these healing foods in your diet to keep the virus dormant as much as possible:

2. Avoid Inflammatory Foods

Certain foods can raise inflammation, weaken immune defenses and make skin irritation even worse. Avoid the following foods as much as possible to limit outbreak severity and duration.

3. Consider Supplements

  • Antiviral herbs: These include elderberry, calendula, echinacea, garlic, astragalus and licorice root.
  • L-lysine : Can help treat and prevent outbreaks.
  • Lemon balm extract: Apply as a topical cream for healing.
  • Vitamin C : Vitamin C boosts immune function improving herpes.
  • Zinc : Zinc benefits include supporting immune function, keeping viruses dormant and rebuilding skin tissue to speed up healing.
  • B-complex : B vitamins help your body deal with stress and can prevent outbreaks.

4. Try Essential Oils

5. Ease Cold Sore Pain Naturally

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Innate Link To Adaptive Immunity

Invasion of the genital mucosa by HSV-2 generates both innate and adaptive immune responses in the tissue. Upon infection, engagement of pattern recognition receptors by the virus initiates an antiviral program by the host. Response to infection first occurs in the target keratinocytes and tissue-resident hematopoietic cells. Inflammation and cytokines produced by this initial response recruits a variety of innate immune cells to the site of infection, including inflammatory monocytes, natural killer cells, dendritic cells and plasmacytoid dendritic cells . Recognition of HSV can occur through a toll-like receptor 9, which recognizes viral DNA, and in some cases, TLR2, which reportedly binds viral glycoprotein . HSV has also been reported to engage multiple different cytosolic receptors that bind nucleic acids, including IFI16 , retinoic acid inducible gene I through an RNA polymerase III-dependent mechanism . More recently, cyclic-GMP-AMP synthase has also been shown to bind cytosolic DNA, which can then go on to activate stimulator of interferon genes through a secondary messenger . HSV can also lead to the activation of inflammasomes, although unlike other dsDNA viruses, this activation occurs independently of absent in melanoma 2 and is instead mediated by IFI16 . Innate viral recognition may also occur through mechanisms independent of PRRs, such as viral fusion with the host cell .

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What Can I Do To Help My Partner

For starters, you can understand that having genital herpes is common. More than 1 in 6 people ages 14-49 in the U.S. have it, according to the CDC.

If you or your partner is upset about having herpes, joining a support group might help. And if you think genital herpes is harming your relationship, you could try couples therapy.

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Lowering Partner Transmission Risks

First genital herpes vaccine

Itâs entirely possible to enjoy sex and date around, while also managing your herpes condition. Youâve just got to pivot a little bit to make room for new considerations. Whoâs a stranger to a little course correction, eh?

Here are 3 of the best ways to lower the risk of passing herpes to your new partner.

â#1. Use condoms or dental dams even if you arenât having an outbreak.

âDoctors agree condoms are probably the best way to prevent herpes. Even if you arenât experiencing an HSV1 or HSV2 outbreak, you can still transmit the virus via asymptomatic shedding. So itâs best to use condoms at all times to lower your risks of partner-to-partner transmission.

â#2. Consider the use of suppressive therapy to lessen the recurrence of outbreaks and transmission risks.

âThere are studies that suggest the use of antiviral drugs as a suppressive therapy may lower recurrences and lower the risks of partner-to-partner transmission. The CDC states that suppressive therapy can lower recurrences by 70-80 percent.

âCombine #1 and #2 to cover your bases With the use of antiviral suppressive therapy and condoms combined, your chances of transmitting the herpes virus to your partner are pretty low.

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Genital Herpes: Will Condoms Protect You Against It

When people think of herpes, they usually think of cold sores that appear on the mouth and face. However, its important to note that the herpes virus can also affect the genital area. In this case, its called genital herpes.

Its estimated that only one-third of patients with genital herpes experience symptoms the other two-thirds are asymptomatic or have symptoms too mild to be of concern.

On top of this, one study shows that almost 50 percent of patients do not know that they can transmit the disease even when they dont have an outbreak. Around 30 percent do not know that they can pass on the virus even when their sores have completely healed.

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Due to this lack of awareness, the disease can be easily passed from one person to another. In fact, genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. In the U.S., for example, around 45 million people or around four individuals out of five have this condition.


What Happens If I Dont Get Treated

Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.

If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.

If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? above for information about this.

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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:

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.

How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex

Can a Genital Herpes Vaccine Protect Against Oral Herpes?

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.

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The Differing Risks For Men And Women

When someone wonders, My partner has herpes, how do I protect myself? the answer may be different for men than women.

Data show that genital herpes is more common among women than men. In 2015-2016, 15.9% of adult women were infected with HSV-2 compared to 8.2% of men. This trend may occur because its easier for a man to accidentally transmit the herpes virus to a woman during sex.

Pregnant women with genital herpes must also consider the potential risk of passing the infection along to their babies. Fortunately, there are many preventative measures women can take to protect their newborns from neonatal herpes, including having a C-section and taking antiviral medication.

Condoms Reduce Women’s Risk Of Herpes Infection But Do Not Protect Men

Using condoms during sexual intercourse significantly decreases the likelihood that men infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 will transmit the infection to their female partners, according to the first study to examine the effectiveness of condoms in preventing this infection.1Women are almost six times as likely as men to acquire HSV-2. Increased frequency of sexual intercourse, younger age and having a partner who is infected with both herpes simplex virus type 1 and HSV-2 increase the likelihood of acquiring HSV-2. Although using condoms more than 25% of the time offers women a high degree of protection against acquiring HSV-2, men do not receive the same benefits.

Overall, 528 couples were included in the study. Of the susceptible partners, 267 were women and 261 were men, with a median age of 36 years. Ninety-two percent were white, and 98% were in a heterosexual relationship. Participants’ median frequency of intercourse was twice weekly half said that they had used condoms no more than 10% of the time since becoming sexually active. Of the source partners, 62% were seropositive for only HSV-2, while 38% were seropositive for both HSV-1 and HSV-2.

During the study’s observation period, 31 of the 528 susceptible partners acquired HSV-2: 26 of the women and five of the men. Women acquired the virus at a rate of 8.9 per 10,000 sex acts–almost six times the rate of men .

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What Can Be Done In Addition To Using Condoms

Wearing condoms during sex doesnt provide guaranteed protection from a herpes infection, but its one of the most effective ways to reduce your partners risk. In fact, research indicates that consistent condom users face a 30% lower risk of HSV-2 infection compared to those who never use condoms at all.

But nothing is foolproof, so these additional precautions can help you reduce the risk of infection as much as possible.

How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed

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Healthcare providers may diagnose herpes simplex based on how the sores look. Your provider may take a sample from the sore. Laboratory analysis of the sample can confirm or rule out the herpes virus.

If you dont have sores, your healthcare provider can use a blood test to check for HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody, a marker showing youve been exposed to the virus. The blood test doesnt show an active infection . But it informs your provider whether youve been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If this is your first infection, you may not test positive for herpes if there hasnt been enough time for your body to develop antibodies. The HSV-1and HSV-2 antibody test may be repeated in eight to 12 weeks.

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How Likely Is It That I Now Have Genital Herpes Too

That depends on several things, including whether you and your partner always use a condom and how long youâve been sexually intimate with each other.

If youâve had sex only once or twice, and if you used a condom each time, the risk is lower than if youâve had unprotected sex for a long time. But you could have been infected during any one encounter.

Even if youâve never seen herpes sores on your partnerâs genitals or your own, you still might have it. The symptoms of genital herpes are often subtle are easy to mistake for something else, like bug bites, pimples, razor burn, or hemorrhoids. Also, the virus can be contagious even when there are no symptoms.

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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 isnt 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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How Common Is Genital Herpes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40 million to 50 million adults in the United States have genital herpes. HSV II infection is more common in women and in people who have had more than five sexual partners. Most people with HSV II do not know they have it, because it does not always cause symptoms.

How Can You Catch Herpes

Herpes (HSV) Vaccine

Like most sexual transmitted infections , herpes is passed on when someone with an active outbreak of the virus has sexual intercourse with a partner. It may also be spread by contact with bodily fluids from an infected person, including blood, saliva, vaginal fluid, semen or any fluid expelled from a weeping herpes blister.

The virus is passed onto the other person through tiny breaks in the mucous membranes or skin. Because viruses are very small, herpes can easily spread even if the breaks are only microscopic. This means you cannot conduct a visual inspection of a partner and guarantee that they will not catch the disease.

It is also worth noting that while the virus is generally passed on during the phase when the blisters are visible on the skin, there is also the possibility of infection spreading even when blisters are not showing.

This is due to something called asymptomatic shedding. This is where the virus continues to shed into bodily fluids even when dormant. This kind of shedding is most common during the first 12 months of herpes infections. However, it may continue throughout the life of the infection and you cannot guarantee that because you have no visible sores that your partner will not be infected.

In a monogamous relationship, a female partner carries a substantially higher risk of contracting herpes from an infected male partner than vice-versa.

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Learn To Recognize Warning Signs

Once you start experiencing symptoms you can transmit the virus, so paying attention to early symptoms can help reduce the risk of transmitting it to a partner.

Along with that sort-of-itchy, sort-of-painful tingling feeling that I get before the sores appear, I notice tenderness in my mouth, fatigue, a low fever, and aches in my legs.

You might only get these symptoms with the first outbreak, but they can return. Returning symptoms are usually more mild than before.

Can Genital Herpes Be Prevented

The only sure way to keep from getting genital herpesor any other sexually transmitted infection is to not have sex. If you do have sex, practice safer sex.

  • Before you start a sexual relationship, talk with your partner about STIs. Find out whether he or she is at risk for them. Remember that a person can be infected without knowing it.
  • If you have symptoms of an STI, dont have sex.
  • Dont have sex with anyone who has symptoms or who may have been exposed to an STI.
  • Dont have more than one sexual relationship at a time. Having several sex partners increases your risk for infection.
  • Use condoms. Condom use lowers the risk of spreading or becoming infected with an STI.
  • Dont receive oral sex from partners who have cold sores.

Taking medicine for herpes may lower the number of outbreaks you have and can also prevent an episode from getting worse. It also lower the chances that you will infect your partner.

If you are pregnant, you should take extra care to avoid getting infected. You could pass the infection to your baby during delivery, which can cause serious problems for your newborn. If you have an outbreak near your due date, you probably will need to have your baby by caesarean section. If your genital herpes outbreaks return again and again, your doctor may talk to you about medicines that can help prevent an outbreak during pregnancy.

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