Can Genital Herpes Be Treated
Your physician can prescribe different medications to help reduce your symptoms and speed up the healing of an outbreak. These medicines work best when you start them soon after an outbreak occurs.
To reduce pain during an outbreak:
- Sit in warm water in a portable bath or bathtub for about 20 minutes. Avoid bubble baths.
- Keep your genital area clean and dry, and avoid tight clothes.
- Take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid aspirin.
Let your physician know if you are worried about your genital herpes. He or she can recommend a support group to help you cope with the virus.
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.
What Triggers Oral Herpes
Many situations can reactivate the virus and make cold sores appear. Here are some of the most common triggers, which vary from person to person:
- Physical trauma, such as dental work or surgery.
- Mental stress .
Preventing cold sores starts with identifying your triggers and avoiding them whenever possible.
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What Can I Do To Stop Discomfort And Speed Up Healing Self
People with genital herpes have reported to us that these ideas have helped them to treat their genital herpes. They have not been through a medical trial:
Cold Sores Vs Canker Sores
Cold sores are often confused with canker sores, but the two are very different, looks aside. Here is how to distinguish between a cold sore and a canker sore:
- Develop on the outside of the mouth, usually along the edge of the lips
- Are contagious until they crust over and heal completely
- Appear as red blisters until they break, ooze and form a crust
- Generally heal with 10 days
- Caused by herpes simplex virus
- Can be triggered by sunlight and stress
- Develop on the soft tissues inside the cheeks or lips, underneath the tongue or at the base of the gums
- Arent contagious
- Are round with a white or yellow center and a red border
- Generally heal within one to two weeks
- Caused by immune-suppressing viruses, autoimmune disorders and auto-inflammatory disorders
- Can be triggered by an accidental cheek bite, food sensitivity, injury from dental work, hormonal changes, bacteria and stress
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How Long Do Herpes Symptoms Take To Show
On average, it takes about 4 days after exposure to start showing the symptoms of herpes. The herpes incubation period ranges between 2 and 12 days. The most common early sign of herpes is sores around the genitals or mouth.
The first time you get the herpes virus, it may cause flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, headache, and body aches. Then, subsequent outbreaks may cause sores and less severe symptoms. Generally, the frequency of outbreaks lessens over time.
Prescriptions Used To Suppress Outbreaks
Suppressive therapy medications are available to prevent future herpes outbreaks and reduce the likelihood of giving herpes to your partners. For example, suppressive medication like aciclovir can be taken twice a day for six to 12 months to reduce herpes outbreaks.
The choice to use suppressive therapy prescriptions must be discussed with your doctor. Every medication causes its own side effects and symptoms to consider.
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What Happens If You Dont Get Herpes Treatment
The good news about herpes is that its not deadly or even very dangerous. It might be annoying, but herpes doesnt get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
If you dont get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.
There are a few reasons people may decide not to get treatment. They might not have that many outbreaks, or their outbreaks dont really bother them. Or maybe theyre not having sex, so theyre not that worried about having herpes right now. Whatever your situation is, getting treatment for herpes is your choice.
Can I Get Genital Herpes More Than Once
There isnt a cure for HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. Infections can come back . 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.
After infection, the virus moves from skin cells to nerve cells. In the nerve cells, it becomes inactive . Certain things may reactivate the virus, such as:
- Illness or fever.
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What Types Of Doctors Treat Cold Sores
Most pediatricians and primary care providers are very familiar with cold sores and their treatment. Most cases do not need the services of a dermatologist . An infectious-disease specialist is often consulted in complicated cases, such as herpes encephalitis or herpes in a person with a weak immune system. The care of an ophthalmologist is important in managing ocular herpes, or herpes keratitis.
What Do Cold Sores Look Like
The diagnosis of cold sores is usually based on the appearance of the lesions. Usually, no laboratory test is needed because most sores that look like cold sores are cold sores. Occasionally, mouth sores known as canker sores may be mistaken for cold sores. However, canker sores occur inside the mouth whereas recurrent cold sores usually occur on the lips. If there is a question about the diagnosis, a variety of tests are available, including viral culture and polymerase chain reaction . To do these tests, a swab is rubbed over an active blister. Swabbing the blister in an attempt to culture the virus in the lab works best in the first 24-48 hours before the blister has crusted over. There is also a way to test for herpes DNA in a swab that has been rubbed on the sore. This type of testing is called a âpolymerase chain reactionâ or PCR for short. PCR testing is very good at detecting herpes virus, but it is not as readily available as a culture.
Blood tests for antibodies are not very useful, because finding antibodies to herpes just means that the body has been exposed to this virus at some point in the past. It does not tell if the current sore is due to herpes.
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When To See A Doctor
Because a person might not have symptoms even if they have herpes, it can be difficult to know when to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Planned Parenthood recommends that a person see a healthcare professional as soon as they notice sores on or around their genitals. Other STIs, such as syphilis, can have similar symptoms but require different treatment. The American Sexual Health Association also recommends seeing a doctor to get a culture of any lesion or cold sore a person notices.
People may wish to take an at-home STI test before seeing a doctor. However, at-home tests should not replace professional diagnosis and treatment.
- applying aloe vera gel to sores
- applying petroleum jelly to the affected areas
- wearing loose clothing to avoid irritation
- refraining from sexual activity, even with protection, until symptoms have gone
- applying a cream or lotion to the urethra before urinating, such as one that contains lidocaine
Some people find that using ice packs help. However, never apply ice directly to the skin wrap it in a cloth first.
Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Genital Herpes
There is no cure for genital herpes. However, daily use of antiviral medicines can prevent or shorten outbreaks. Antiviral medicines also can reduce the chance of spreading it to others.
Though several clinical trials have tested vaccines against genital herpes, there is no vaccine currently available to prevent infection. One vaccine trial showed efficacy among women whose partners had HSV-2, but only among women not infected with HSV-1. Efficacy was not observed among men whose partners had HSV-2. Another trial testing the same vaccine showed some protection from genital HSV-1 infection, but none from HSV-2.
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Is There A Cure For Genital Herpes
Treatment of genital herpes does not cure the disease. The virus usually lives in an infected person throughout their lifetime. Most people with genital herpes will have recurring outbreaks, sometimes 6-10 a year. Recurrences are likely to have less severe symptoms and sores usually last a shorter period of time.
Orange And Red Vegetables
Orange and red vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that can strengthen the immune system and promote overall health. Theyre also rich in antioxidants, which are often touted as playing a key role in wound healing.
For this reason, youll often find orange and red vegetables like carrots, pumpkins and red bell peppers featured on lists of the best foods for treating herpes outbreaks.
The reality is that while orange and red vegetables often are rich in nutrients, theres no proof that they play any role in treating herpes. Theres also little substantial proof that antioxidants play a key role in wound healingright now, studies claim that the science is in its infancy.
Like most home remedies and alternative treatments, this tactic isnt completely devoid of any merit. Nutrient-rich vegetables are good for your immune system, making a diet rich in healthy foods a good lifestyle choice if you have HSV-1 or HSV-2.
However, you shouldnt rely on carrots or pumpkin puree to speed up the healing process for herpes sores. Instead, make a healthy, balanced diet a normal part of your lifestyle, but make sure youâre treating your herpes with stuff prescribed to you by your doctor.
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What Makes Herpes Recur
After infection, the virus enters the nerve cells and travels up the nerve until it comes to a place called a ganglion. There, it resides quietly in a stage that is referred to as “dormant” or “latent.” At times, the virus can become active and start replicating again and travel down the nerve to the skin, causing a cold sore outbreak. The exact mechanism behind this is not clear, but it is known that some conditions seem to trigger recurrences, including:
- fever, cold, or the flu
- emotional or physical stress
- weakening of the immune system and
- trauma to the involved area such as dental work.
Sometimes, however, there is no apparent cause of the recurrence.
Do Condoms Help Prevent The Spread Of Genital Herpes
Yes. To prevent transmission of herpes, we recommend that condoms be used 100% of the time. Many patients will shed the virus and be contagious when they dont have symptoms. Studies have shown that asymptomatic shedding occurs between 1% and 3% of the time in patients with HSV II genital infections. Many new herpes infections occur from partners who are shedding the virus asymptomatically, so condoms are highly recommended.
Condoms may not be an attractive option for monogamous couples or for couples who desire to become pregnant. Couples may opt to have serological tests to determine if either partner has an asymptomatic infection. In close monogamous relationships, the risks of transmission can be weighed against other relationship issues, such as intimacy and pregnancy.
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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 Incubation Period For Cold Sores
The time between infection and symptoms of primary oral herpes is anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.
The hallmark symptom of herpes is tingling or a burning sensation before the appearance of the outbreak:
- The classic sign of herpes is a cluster of blisters on a base of red skin.
- The blisters look like a drop of water filled with clear liquid.
- These blisters dry up rapidly and leave a crust or scab that lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
- This pattern has important implications for the many people who fear they have herpes but don’t, If you are healthy and the rash lasts for weeks, it is unlikely to be herpes.
Herpes infections feel dry and crusty, and they may cause pain or itch. Some patients have a “prodrome,” which is the occurrence of certain symptoms before the actual sores become fully evident. The prodrome to herpes infections typically involves flu-like symptoms and a burning or tingling sensation that precedes the appearance of blisters by a few hours or a day or two.
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How Do Dermatologists Treat Herpes Simplex
There is no cure for herpes simplex. The good news is that sores often clear without treatment. Many people choose to treat herpes simplex because treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten an outbreak.
Most people are treated with an antiviral medicine. An antiviral cream or ointment can relieve the burning, itching, or tingling. An antiviral medicine that is oral or intravenous can shorten an outbreak of herpes.
Prescription antiviral medicines approved for the treatment of both types of herpes simplex include:
Taken daily, these medicines can lessen the severity and frequency of outbreaks. They also can help prevent infected people from spreading the virus.
What Are The Possible Complications Of Oral Herpes
Autoinoculation from touching a cold sore on the lip can cause herpes of the finger . Autoinoculation occurs most commonly at the time of primary infection, when viral shedding is high and the immune system is still gearing up to contain it. The antibodies that are made after primary infection are usually but not always successful in preventing autoinoculation during recurrent attacks.
A more serious complication is infection of the eye, or ocular herpes . It may be a mild surface ulceration with little discomfort, or it may cause deeper, painful ulcers that threaten vision. Ocular herpes is also caused by autoinoculation. If not treated, ocular herpes may lead to serious damage or even blindness.
Rarely, herpes simplex may infect the brain, causing encephalitis. This infection requires hospitalization and intravenous antiviral medications. HSV-1 is among the commonest causes of fatal viral encephalitis worldwide.
In immunocompromised people, such as those with HIV infection or those receiving chemotherapy, severe outbreaks of herpes may occur. Colds sores may spread to large parts of the lower face or invade organs. Antiviral drugs are used to prevent or lessen such attacks.
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How Long Do Sores From Herpes Simplex Last
If youre infected with HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes, you may notice tingling or burning around your mouth in the days before a cold sore appears. These blisters break open and ooze fluid before forming a crust. Usually, sores last for seven to 10 days.
If youre infected with HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes, your first outbreak may last between two to four weeks. Recurrent outbreaks usually last between three to seven days.