Herpes Symptoms In Women
So heres the deal. More women have herpes than men. I knowit is what it is.
The virus is sexually transmitted more easily from men to women than it is from women to men. 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. This is possibly because genital infection is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men during penile-vaginal sex.
I personally have my own feelings about why its easier to transmit herpes to females than males. As females we wax, shave, trim and do all sorts of things to our hair down there. And men dont really do too much to that area. I mean some man groom but in general there is hair there. The hair is a natural barrier and is there as a protection. So then you take the hair away and boomwe have an easier skin to skin contact and an easier transmission.
My next theory on why more woman than men have herpes is when a man wears a condom he has a good portion of his genitals covered up. As women were hanging out there and our skin comes in contact with more skin. If you know what I mean?
Anyways, these are not proven theories but I think they have something to do with the fact that more woman than men have herpes.
What To Do After Testing Positive For Genital Herpes
If a person tests positive for genital herpes, its recommended that they speak with a doctor. Although theres no cure for herpes, it can be treated through antiviral medication. Antiviral medication can help reduce the severity of recurring outbreaks .
Frequent, severe recurring outbreaks might be a sign of a compromised immune system. If outbreaks are occurring often, a doctor might investigate whether theres an underlying issue affecting the immune system.
Having sex is OK if theres a genital herpes diagnosis, but its best to avoid sex if theres a herpes outbreak. To reduce the chances of transmitting HSV to a partner, use barrier methods such as condoms and dental dams during all sexual activity.
Genital herpes does not always require treatment. However, genital warts can be painful. Antiviral treatments can reduce the symptoms and severity of outbreaks.
In rare cases, herpes can cause complications. Generally, though, it does not get worse over time.
How Can Women Test For Herpes
Signs of herpes in women arenât always easily detectable. They are often mistaken for similarly-presenting conditions. Consideration should be taken if irritation or redness begins to develop in the genital areas. One should ask a healthcare provider for an examination in the event of symptoms or after coming into contact with someone who is infected.
The most commonly administered genital herpes test involves taking a swab from an open sore. The accuracy of results is determined by the quality of the sample. Signs of herpes in women must be prevalent in order to ascertain a positive test result, as asymptomatic individuals will not have blisters from which a sample can be taken. The female herpes test does not differ from methods used in diagnosing herpes in men.
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Faqs About Cold Sores Answered
Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Since sexual contact is the major means by which genital herpes is transmitted, the illness does not usually arise before adolescence. When a child develops genital herpes, healthcare providers must consider the possibility of abuse. This is true whenever a person contracts a sexually transmitted disease prior to the teen years.
People at heightened risk for HSV-2 infection include those who have multiple sexual partners, women, people with low incomes, and those infected with human immunodeficiency virus . In fact, among people who tested positive for HIV, one study found that the prevalence of HSV-2 infections ranged from 70 to more than 90 percent.
- A herpes sore on any part of the body
- Saliva, if your partner has oral herpes, or genital fluids, if your partner has genital herpes
- Skin around the mouth if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or the skin in the genital region of a partner who has genital herpes
You can catch genital herpes from a partner who has no visible sores, or from a partner who doesnt know that they have the infection. But a person is most infectious during their first outbreak of herpes, when they have sores, and during later outbreaks that produce sores.
Suppressive Therapy For Recurrences
To suppress outbreaks, treatment requires taking pills daily on a long-term basis. Acyclovir and famciclovir are taken twice a day for suppression. Valacyclovir is taken once a day. The doses for these antiviral drugs are reduced in people with impaired renal function.
Suppressive treatment can reduce the frequency of outbreak recurrences by 70% to 80%. It is generally recommended for people who have frequent recurrences . Because herpes recurrences often diminish over time, you should discuss annually with your provider whether you should stay with drug therapy or discontinue it.
There is some evidence that valacyclovir may help prevent herpes transmission, particularly in situations where one heterosexual partner has HSV-2 and the other partner does not. However, this drug does not completely prevent transmission. While taking any suppressive therapy for genital herpes, it is still important to regularly use latex condoms and to avoid any sexual activity during recurrences.
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Genital Herpes In Women: Causes Treatments And More
If youre reading this, chances are you or a loved one has been diagnosed with genital herpes.
And you know what? Youre not alone. Especially if youre a woman.
Approximately one in 6 women in the U.S. between the ages 14 and 49 has genital herpes , making it one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the country.
But while genital herpes in women may be common, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding it.
A diagnosis can be both physically and emotionally painfulespecially once you come to grips with the fact that there is no cure for it.
Luckily, genital herpes is an extremely manageable condition, and it does not have to define you.
With the proper support and knowledge, you can live a happy, normal life despite your herpes status.
In this article, we go over all you need to know about dealing with genital herpes as a womanincluding what symptoms you can expect, what causes it and how it spreads, how its different from HPV, how you can prevent it, the best ways to treat it, and so much more.
However, for the purposes of this article, when we refer to a woman or women, we are referring to people with vaginas.
How Is It Treated
Genital herpes can be treated, but it cannot be cured.Anti-viral medicines can make outbreaks:
Living with genital herpes causes some people to:
- Feel embarrassed or ashamed
- Worry about infecting a sexual partner
- Worry that having herpes will affect relationships with sexual partners
- Avoid dating or sexual relationships
Most people with herpes are able to live with the virusand manage their outbreaks. Talking to trusted healthcare providers and friends can help. Your health careprovider can talk to you about medicines that treatoutbreaks and about ways to reduce the chance ofpassing the virus on to a sexual partner.
Medicines can help lower the chance that you will pass the virus to others.
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Can I Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes, you can breastfeed if you have genital herpes, but not if you have a herpes sore on one of your breasts. If you have genital herpes, it is possible to spread the infection to any part of your breast, including your nipple and areola.
If you have any genital herpes sores on one or both of your breasts:
- You can keep breastfeeding as long as your baby or pumping equipment does not touch a herpes sore.
- Do not breastfeed from the breast with sores. Herpes is spread through contact with sores and can be dangerous to a newborn baby.
- Pump or hand-express your milk from the breast with sores until the sores heal. Pumping will help keep up your milk supply and prevent your breast from getting overly full and painful. You can store your milk to give to your baby in a bottle for another feeding. But if parts of your pump also touch the sore while pumping, throw the milk away.
How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex
You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.
If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:
- Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
- Touching the skin near their mouth.
If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:
- Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
- Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
- Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
- Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.
Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.
If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:
- Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
- Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
- Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.
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How To Reduce Shame And Stigma When You Have An Std
Its important to recognize and deal with feelings, worries, and fears you may have. Talking to your doctor or another healthcare provider can help you normalize your experience and move forward. If you are in a committed relationship, it may be helpful for you to make an appointment to see a healthcare provider with your partner.
Engaging in open conversations with your provider and any sexual partners may help to put your mind at ease. You will find out about the right precautions to take in light of your own personal situation.
Genital Herpes Is Spread By Skin
The virus can be spread when someone with HSV has an episode or an outbreak characterised by having a sore, blister, ulcer or skin split . It can also be spread between episodes, when there is no sore, blister, ulcer or skin split present called asymptomatic viral shedding.
During viral shedding the virus is on the skin surface and can be spread through genital skin-to-skin contact, or from the mouth or face to genital skin during contact.
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Contact your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of genital herpes, particularly ulcers or sores on your genitals or mouth. If you know you have herpes, call if you have a fever, pain or itching in the area, swollen glands, or other symptoms during an outbreak.
If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, you can pass the infection to the baby, which can then travel to the brain. It’s very important to tell your healthcare provider if you have a herpes sore, or have had an outbreak in the past, so they can take steps to protect your baby.
What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like 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, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.
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Can Herpes Be Prevented Or Avoided
The best way to prevent getting herpes is to not have sex with anyone who has the virus. It can be spread even when the person who has it isnt showing any symptoms. If your partner has herpes, there is no way of knowing for sure that you wont get it.
If you are infected, there is no time that is completely safe to have sex and not spread herpes. If you have herpes, you must tell your sex partner. You should avoid having sex if you have any sores. Herpes can spread from one person to another very easily when sores are present.
You should use condoms every time you have sex. They can help reduce the risk of spreading herpes. But its still possible to spread or get herpes if youre using a condom.
How Do People Get Genital Herpes
Infections are transmitted through contact with HSV in herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. 5 HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. 7,8 Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection. 4 Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. 7 In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections. 8
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How To Avoid Herpes
As long as you’re sexually active, there’s a chance you could get herpes. You’ll make it a lot less likely if you use a latex or polyurethane condom or dental dam every time, for every activity. The dam or condom only protects the area it covers. If you donât have herpes, you and your partner should get tested for STDs before sex. If youâre both disease-free and arenât having sex with other people, you should be safe.
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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The Emotional Side Of Herpes
Many people feel embarrassed and ashamed upon learning that they have genital herpes, or theyre worried about getting it from a sexual partner or prospective sexual partner.
If either case describes you, take the time to educate yourself about the causes and symptoms of herpes, treatments, and steps you can take to stop the spread of herpes, such as using condoms.
How Long Does It Take For Symptoms To Appear
Genital herpes is different for every woman and some people get symptoms sooner than others. You may notice symptoms 2 days to 2 weeks after getting herpes, but this can be much longer. Sometimes symptoms can take months or years to appear, as the virus can live inside your body unnoticed.
When you have an initial outbreak, symptoms can last for around 2 to 4 weeks but treatment can help reduce this time. If you get another outbreak after this, symptoms are usually milder and last for less than a week.
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Genital Herpes Symptoms In Women
Genital herpes symptoms occur in outbreaks that come and go.
The primary symptom is blisters that pop and become ulcers. When they first appear, they are usually small red bumps that can be subtle and easy to overlook. When the blisters pop, they can be very painful.
Some people get a tingling or burning sensation where herpes sores are about to develop. This is called a prodrome, which is an early sign of a disease or infection.
When you do have an outbreak, the blisters or ulcers can appear in several areas of the body, including:
- Female genitals
- Itching or burning in the affected area
- Pain in the affected area
- Feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- Unusual vaginal discharge
Some people may not have an outbreak, others have only one outbreak, and others will have repeated outbreaks .
Even if you have had no symptoms for years, you can still transmit the virus, though it’s less contagious when you are asymptomatic.
Causes Of Genital Herpes In Women
As previously discussed, genital herpes is an STD caused by HSV.
There are two forms of the virus, both of which can cause genital herpes: type 1 and type 2 .
HSV-2 is the virus type that most often causes genital herpes in both men and women.
HSV-1 is the virus type that most often causes oral herpes in both men and women.
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