What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
If you do notice symptoms, youll experience them differently depending on whether youre having your first herpes outbreak or a recurrent outbreak. Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.
How do genital herpes first appear?
When symptoms occur, theyre usually worse during the first outbreak or flare-up . Symptoms typically appear within two to 20 days after infection. Active symptoms may last up to four weeks.
You may experience:
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What Effects Does Herpes Have During Pregnancy
ItÃ¢s really important to speak to a healthcare worker if you have herpes during pregnancy, especially if itâs your first outbreak. If you have herpes thereâs a risk that your baby can develop Ã¢neonatal herpesÃ¢. This can be very dangerous or even fatal for your baby. Your healthcare provider will be able to prescribe antiviral treatment to keep your baby safe and help you have a healthy pregnancy.
Speak to a healthcare worker for more information or if you have any concerns.
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Can Genital Herpes Cause Other Problems
For most women, genital herpes does not usually cause serious health problems.
Women with HIV can have severe herpes outbreaks that are long-lasting. Herpes also may play a role in the spread of HIV. Herpes sores can make it easier for HIV to get into your body. Also, herpes can make people who are HIV-positive more likely to spread the infection to someone else.
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Drug Treatment For Herpes On Face
From the perspective of conventional medicine, herpes on face is treated with antiviral agents whose list is headed by acyclovir which is available in tablets, injections, creams and ointments.
The most commonly used form of acyclovir is its consumption in tablets. It is usually an effective treatment because it stops the reproduction of the virus and therefore decreases the intensity of the outbreaks and their duration, although it does not eliminate the virus from our body.
How To Get Rid Of Herpes The Conventional Way
For most people with herpes, the virus typically represents nothing more than an inconvenience however, the real risk is for immuno-compromised patients who cant easily manage infections. In these patients, such as those with HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex infection is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
As of 2017, there is not currently a herpes vaccine available to prevent HSV-1 or HSV-2.
Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help keep the herpes virus suppressed or to speed up healing of cold sores by reducing bacteria that can cause infections. Some medications that are now used to control herpes include:
- Nucleoside analogues and antiviral medications
- Creams/ointment to help lower pain and inflammation near the site of sores
- Over-the-counter painkillers to reduce aches, tenderness or fever
However, its important to understand that even with early detection and prescription medications, either form of the herpes virus cannot be totally cured so transmission is always still possible. Medications for viruses dont always work long term and are not a cure-all.
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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
Home Care Measures For Genital Herpes
First, simple self-care may be enough to relieve most discomfort caused by genital herpes. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, can help ease the pain of herpes symptoms. Doctors sometimes recommend soaking the affected area in warm water. But the area should be kept dry most of the time. If toweling off after bathing is uncomfortable, try using a hair dryer. Then put on cotton underwear. Cotton absorbs moisture better than synthetic fabric does.
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How Do I Prevent Spreading The Virus
An infected person can take precautions to prevent spreading the virus.
If you have oral herpes:
- When sores are present on the face, avoid kissing, oral contact, and sharing items such as eating utensils, towels,
and lip balms.
- If tingling, burning, itching, or tenderness develops in an area of your body where you have had a herpes sore, do
not touch it and do not touch others with it.
If you have genital herpes:
- When you have sores or symptoms, avoid sexual
- At other times, condoms can reduce the risk of spreading the virus. It is important to know that while a condom can help, it is possible to spread the virus if it lies on nearby skin that a condom does not cover. For persons who suffer frequent outbreaks of herpes, taking an antiviral drug daily prevents most outbreaks and reduces transmission of the virus to others.
A board-certified dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating the medical, surgical, and cosmetic conditions of the skin, hair and nails. To learn more about herpes simplex or find a dermatologist in your area, visit aad.org or call toll free 462-DERM .
Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides
American Academy of Dermatology
P.O. Box 1968, Des Plaines, Illinois 60017AAD Public Information Center: 888.462.DERM AAD Member Resource Center: 866.503.SKIN Outside the United States: 847.240.1280
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What Is Episodic Treatment
While suppressive treatment focuses on lowering the frequency of outbreaks, an episodic herpes regimen aims to reduce the symptoms and duration of a recurrent outbreak.
With episodic treatment, an individual takes antiviral medication at the onset of an outbreak, ideally at the first indications of prodrome. Prodrome refers to the tingling, itching, or burning sensation which occurs right before any lesions appear. Once the lesions appear, the episodic treatment becomes less effective. The antiviral medication is continued for a few days to shorten or even prevent a full-blown outbreak.
Dosage and length of the antiviral medication varies, with anywhere from one to five pills daily for three to five days.
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What You Need To Know
- Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes.
- Oral herpes can be spread through intimate contact with someone who is infected.
- Oral herpes can be difficult to diagnose. Often confused with many other infections, it can only be confirmed with a virus culture called PCR, blood test or biopsy. PCR is the preferred test for diagnosing herpes infections.
- The best treatment for oral herpes is antiviral oral medication. Symptomatic treatment may include antiviral ointment, over-the-counter topical anesthetics or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents.
Whether you call it a cold sore or a fever blister, oral herpes is a common infection of the mouth area that is caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Fifty percent to 80 percent of U.S. adults have oral herpes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 90 percent of adults have been exposed to the virus by age 50.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. When inactive, the virus lies dormant in a group of nerve cells. While some people never develop any symptoms from the virus, others will have periodic outbreaks of infections.
Symptoms Of Genital Herpes
Primary Genital Herpes Outbreak
For people with symptoms, the first outbreak usually occurs in or around the genital area 2 days to 2 weeks after sexual exposure to the virus. The first signs are a tingling sensation in the affected areas and groups of small red bumps that develop into blisters. Over the next 2 to 3 weeks, more blisters can appear and rupture into painful open sores. The lesions eventually dry out, develop a crust, and heal rapidly without leaving a scar. Blisters in moist areas heal more slowly than those in dry areas. The sores may sometimes itch, but itching decreases as they heal.
About 40% of men and 70% of women develop other symptoms during initial outbreaks of genital herpes, such as flu-like discomfort, headache, muscle aches, and fever. Swollen glands may occur in the groin area or neck. Some women may have difficulty urinating and may, occasionally, require a urinary catheter. Women may also experience vaginal discharge.
Recurrent Genital Herpes Outbreak
In general, recurrences are much milder than the initial outbreak. The virus sheds for a much shorter period of time compared to an initial outbreak of 3 weeks. Women may have only minor itching, and the symptoms may be even milder in men.
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Alternative Treatments For Facial Herpes
In addition to home remedies, there are other alternative treatments. These include the use of cold sore treatment devices that concentrate heat and kill the virus in the area of the outbreak.
Another alternative treatment to remove facial herpes is the use of natural patches, creams, and ointments in which tea tree ointment is included. This is sold in stores in different countries. None of these options eliminates the virus from your body its action is only in the area of the outbreak.
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How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed
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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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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What Is The Usual Treatment For Genital Herpes
The doctor may prescribe antiviral tablets to speed up healing and reduce the severity of a first episode. Aciclovir is the most commonly used antiviral drug for treating genital herpes. You dont need the tablets if the first episode is mild, or if you have almost recovered before you see the doctor.If you get more episodes later on, you will be less likely to be offered with antiviral tablets as outbreaks clear up without treatment.To prevent a recurrent outbreak with antiviral tablets, you need to start taking them within 24 hours of noticing the beginning of the outbreak. When you start after 24 hours, it is unlikely that the tablets will have much effect. This is why you should have a prescription or tablets ready, so that you can start to take them as soon as possible see dosing information below. Members can ask for our antiviral drug fact sheet see subscription form. And we offer self-help suggestions too.
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Herpes Outbreaks: How Long Do They Last And How To Treat Them
Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world. Many people have herpes and show no symptoms, which makes the disease very transmittable.
For many men and women, herpes outbreaks can be daunting, embarrassing, and even frustrating. These outbreaks lead to painful sores, embarrassing conversations, and trial and error treatment options.
To best understand how to manage herpes outbreaks, first, you need to be familiar with the STD itself.
What is Herpes?
Herpes is a viral infection that usually causes small, painful blisters on or around the genital or rectal areas. These sores or blisters are commonly referred to as herpes lesions. Herpes lesions can also appear on the mouth or face.
Herpes simplex virus is the most common form of the disease and is transmitted through direct contact with an infected area or through the sharing of contaminated personal items, such as razors, towels, and clothing.
What are the Symptoms of Herpes?
Not everyone with herpes has symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they usually appear within 2 to 12 days after exposure to the virus. Some people with herpes never have any symptoms.
- Redness and itching around the infected area
- Small, painful blisters that ooze or bleed
- General sense of discomfort
The duration of the herpes outbreak depends on the person. Some people have outbreaks once a month, while others have outbreaks once a year.
How Is Herpes Diagnosed?
- Topical Treatments
What Is Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. This infection is best known for the red bumps and white blisters it causes in the genital region, but genital herpes involves much more than just the visible outbreak.
The genital herpes virus progresses through five distinct phases, starting from your primary infection and proceeding through the healing stage.
During an active herpes outbreak, the blisters themselves also go through their own five-stage progression.
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Is It Possible To Prevent Cold Sores
The best way to prevent a herpes simplex infection is to avoid physical contact with someone elses cold sores. Items that touch the lips but cannot be washed or sanitized, such as lipstick or lip balm, should not be shared. During an outbreak, frequent hand washing and sanitizing with 60% ethanol-based hand sanitizer will help reduce the spread of the virus to other parts of the body or to other people. Wash hands immediately after applying topical treatments to a cold sore. L-lysine and other supplements have not been shown to consistently reduce outbreaks.
To prevent future outbreaks,
- avoid long periods of time in the sun and use sunblock on lips and face,
- reduce stress by getting adequate rest and relaxation,
- avoid trauma to the mouth or involved area, and
- take any antiviral medication exactly as prescribed.
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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.
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How Do I Test For Herpes
If you think you have symptoms of genital herpes or have been at risk of infection, you should speak to a healthcare professional.
There are different tests available. If you have symptoms, the most common test is to take a swab from a blister. The fluid can be tested for the herpes simplex virus. A herpes blood test exists but is not routinely available.
If you have genital herpes you should be tested for other STIs. Itâs important that you tell your recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested and treated. Many people who have herpes do not notice anything wrong, and by telling them you can help to stop the virus being passed on.