Differences Between Oral And Genital Herpes Outbreaks
The location of the sores is the main difference between the two types of herpes. Oral herpes sores generally develop on the mouth and lips, usually at the border of the lip where it meets the skin of the face.
Genital herpes sores can occur in a wider variety of locations depending on where the virus entered the body. These locations may include:
- For women and men:
Make The Arginine Connection
Foods high in arginine and low in lysine, two of the eight naturally occurring amino acids, may be your worst enemies if you have herpes. The virus needs arginine to grow, reports Michele Picozzi, author of Controlling Herpes Naturally, on the Herpes.org website. The worst arginine-rich foods if you have herpes include peanuts, chocolate and carob, wheat and wheat germ, oats, soy foods, some types of nuts, peanuts, and sesame seeds, according to Dr. Deborah Gordon, an integrative medicine practitioner.
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How Herpes Is Treated
There is no cure for herpes.
- The health care provider may prescribe antiviral medicine to help speed up the healing process. It also shortens the time when the virus can spread from the herpes sores.
- Pain may be treated with medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin or by applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area.
- If sores are in the mouth, avoid foods high in acid, like citrus fruits and juices.
- The infected area should be kept clean and dry.
- Wash hands often and avoid touching the sores to prevent spreading the virus.
- It is important to stay healthy by getting enough rest, having proper nutrition and exercise and managing stress well.
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Why Does Genital Herpes Come Back
There are many different things that may trigger herpes recurrences. Sometimes, a person can learn to recognise why outbreaks appear but for other people there does not seem to be any particular reason for it.
Between recurrences the virus travels from the skin along the nerve to the nerve ganglion where it remains. Once you have been infected, the virus remains in the body, just as chickenpox and some other viruses do. Recurrent symptoms occur when the virus is reactivated or triggered. The symptoms normally appear in the same area as the first time. For some people they may move a short distance, e.g. from genitals to buttocks, but always within the same dermatome .
Some people feel aching, tingling, burning or sharp pains in the area affected preceding a recurrence. These are called prodromal symptoms or prodromes. They are a sign that the virus is trying to reactivate and there may be virus on the skin surface. Sometimes they last for a few days then disappear without any symptoms appearing on the skin.
Is Genital Herpes Infection Related To Hiv
Herpes and HIV are caused by different viruses. But patients infected with these viruses are more likely to transmit either disease to their sexual partners. Patients with herpes are more vulnerable to HIV infection. People newly diagnosed with herpes should be tested for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections.
Patients who are infected with both herpes and HIV also may have a higher concentration of HIV viruses in their body because of the interaction between the herpes virus and the HIV virus. When HIV damages a persons immune system, the person may be more likely to shed herpes simplex virus asymptomatically.
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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:
Where Does The Herpes Virus Live In The Body
The herpes simplex viruses are latent, meaning they can live in the body without causing symptoms. After the initial infection, the virus gets into the nerve roots and spreads to the sensory nerve ganglia, the junctions where nerves from different parts of the body come together. For the genital area, the ganglia are adjacent to the spinal cord in the lower back. For orofacial herpes , the ganglia are located behind the cheek bone.
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What Do Genital Herpes Symptoms Look Like
Other symptoms can include:
- tingling or burning around the genitals
- feeling unwell, with aches, pains and flu-like symptoms
- unusual vaginal discharge in women.
Many people with genital herpes wont get any symptoms, or may get symptoms for the first time months or even years after they were infected.
For most people, the blisters go away within one to two weeks. Although the outbreaks clear-up by themselves, the virus stays in the body. This means that people usually get blisters again which is called having a recurrent outbreak. Outbreaks usually become shorter and less severe over time.
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What Stands Out About Yale Medicines Approach To Genital Herpes
As an academic medical center, Yale Medicine provides a wide range of treatment options for patients. Our doctors are expert at diagnosing and treating difficult cases and helping manage the condition for people at risk, such as pregnant women. Our doctors have access to the most advanced technology for diagnosing herpes and other medical conditions.Also, our researchers continue to look for new information about the herpes virus.
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Recognize The Early Symptoms
You might not be able to stop an outbreak, but you might be able to reduce the severity and length of it. Many people have warning signs of an outbreak, including itching, tingling, genital pain, or shooting pain in the legs, hips, or buttocks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . These signs can occur hours or days before the outbreak, so knowing them gives you the chance to treat the outbreak before it happens.
How To Keep A Flare
Antiviral medication is the best way to manage a flare-up. Another key step is to know your triggers. Many people find certain things cause reactivation, including food, stress, clothes, sunlight, and certain medications.
Other strategies for managing flare-ups include:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Eating a well-balanced, whole-foods diet
- Getting regular exercise
- Using warm water to ease discomfort
- Using a separate towel for genitals and washing after each use
- Wearing loose, cotton undergarments
- Avoiding touching blisters or sores
Also, avoid putting ointments and creams on the sores. These prevent air from reaching the sores and slow healing.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people are living with the herpes virus that causes genital herpes. Its a common STI. You shouldnt be embarrassed or put off seeking medical care if you develop symptoms. Treatments can ease symptoms, reduce outbreaks and protect sexual partners from infection. Having the virus shouldnt affect your relationships or sexual health. However, you do need to tell your sexual partners that you have the virus. Your healthcare provider can discuss ways to prevent spreading this STI.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/23/2020.
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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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
People with HSV-2 infection have an increased risk of getting human immunodeficiency virus if they have sex with an HIV-infected partner. Taking suppressive therapy does not decrease this risk.
If a woman is pregnant and infected with HSV, it can be passed to the fetus during birth while passing through the womans infected birth canal. This is most likely to occur if a woman first becomes infected with HSV during pregnancy and in a woman who has her first outbreak late in pregnancy. But it also can occur during a recurrent outbreak in a woman who was infected before pregnancy, although the risk is much lower.
If you have sores or warning signs of an outbreak at the time of delivery, you may need to have a cesarean delivery to reduce chance of infection. The decision depends on many factors, including where the sores are on your body and whether the fetus would come into contact with them during delivery.
Yes, in most cases. The herpes virus cannot be passed to a baby through breast milk. However, the baby could get infected by touching a sore on your body. Make sure any sores that the baby could come into contact with are covered when you hold your baby or while breastfeeding. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after feeding your baby. If you have sores on your breast, you should not breastfeed your baby from that breast.
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Controlling Cold Sore Flareups
If you already have HSV-1, you can take measures to prevent outbreaks like cold sores. As with most illnesses, its important to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep to manage stress and give your body stamina to fight off sickness. In the case of HSV-1, it also helps to protect your face and lips from sun exposure by using sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
When a cold sore does appear, you can prevent spreading HSV-1 by practicing good hygiene. Try not to touch it, and if you do, make sure you wash your hands right away. That will help keep you from spreading it to other parts of your body, or to other people. Also, change your toothbrush and throw out any creams, balms, ointments or makeup youve been using on your face or lips.
Weve written before about natural ways to treat cold sores, including applying licorice root, peppermint oil, vanilla oil or extract, tea tree oil, lemon balm or manuka honey directly to the sore. Aloe vera gel also can help a cold sore heal and in lab studies has shown the potential to fight viruses, including HSV.
Thymoquinone , one of the active compounds in black cumin seed oil, has been studied for exhibiting antiviral properties. It is considered an immune system modulator, meaning it may help balance an overactive immune response. In one study, TQ was found to inhibit the entry and cell to cell spread of HSV-1.
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Recurrent Genital Herpes Infection
After the initial infection, obvious or inapparent, there may be no further clinical manifestations throughout life. Recurrences are more frequent with type 2 genital herpes than with type 1.
Recurrences can be triggered by:
- Emotional stress.
In most cases, however, no reason for the recurrence is evident.
Recurrent infections differ from first infections in that the blisters are usually smaller in size and more closely grouped. They also tend to be of shorter duration than the initial infection, usually 510 days. Generally, the affected person feels quite well.
How Far Away Is A Cure For Herpes
Theres currently no cure for herpes, but that might change in the future.
According to 2020 research published in Nature, scientists from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center removed 90 percent of the HSV-1 virus from cells in mice using gene editing.
However, it takes time to transition potential treatments from animals to humans. In a 2020 news article, one of the researchers that authored the Nature paper estimated that it would be at least 3 years before human trials.
Scientists are also researching the possibility of creating a vaccine to prevent herpes. A 2022 study outlined a new approach to developing an mRNA vaccine for herpes. The vaccine mentioned in the study worked well in mice and guinea pigs.
The researchers say that theyre aiming to conduct human trials before the end of 2022, and the vaccine could be available within the next 10 years.
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How To Manage Herpes Going Forward
You need to have a conversation with Dr. Patterson about your herpes. Although it may feel embarrassing to bring it up, you can rest assured that he has seen many other patients with herpes as well. Your honesty with Dr. Patterson ensures that he can help you take care of your health.
If you have plans to get pregnant, he also needs to know about your herpes. A HSV-2 infection can pass to your baby. Among women who contract herpes during pregnancy, you may face higher risk of developing hepatitis.
Managing herpes is part of managing your sexual health. Its an extremely common condition but requires vigilance. We can manage herpes with antiviral medications to keep you healthy and well. If you have herpes, contact Dr. Alan Patterson today or schedule an appointment online.
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How To Cope After Diagnosis
Many posters were occupied with the issue of passing on the infection. Yolandayw points out that you can minimise the risk of transmission by postponing sex until all the sores have healed. She also mentioned that condoms should be used. They wont completely prevent transmission but they will help.
Ending on a positive note, many posters emphasised that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Learning of the diagnosis may feel stressful at first, but its a manageable condition and certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Lucy03934 has had genital herpes for 25 years. Shes been married for 18 years and has two sons living proof that there is life after herpes.
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Start A Herpes Treatment You Can Trust
Thereare many treatment options on the market. These include over-the-counter creamsor home remedies such as honey. Choose one that helps to reduce the severity ofyour symptoms, and speed up healing time. Then, follow the instructionsexactly. The sooner you begin your treatment, the better you prevent youroutbreaks. ProsurX isone of the best creams for herpes infections. It can help rapidly clear activeoutbreaks . Besides, the cream can inactivate herpes virus andstop an outbreak before it starts.
Youroutbreaks are getting worse is one of the biggest issues with herpes. Toalleviate the symptoms, choose the right treatment. And take the abovepreventative steps for a better chance of reducing your outbreaks.
Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer
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What Can I Do If I Have Herpes Simplex 2
Many people who find out they have herpes feel depressed knowing they’ll always have the virus and can give it to others. But you arent alone. Herpes is one of the most common STIs, both in the U.S. and worldwide. If you have herpes, you should:
- Learn all you can about it. Information will help you to manage your disease and feel better about yourself.
- Talk about your illness with your doctor.
If you have herpes, you can still:
- Have sex if you use a condom or dental dam , and you tell your partner about your illness. Some couples, who have sexual relations only with each other, may choose not to use condoms even though one partner has herpes. Because each situation is different, you should ask your doctor if this is the right choice for you in your relationship.
- Have children. People with herpes can still give birth to healthy babies. If you have herpes and plan to have children, discuss your illness with your healthcare provider.
If you have herpes, you should also get checked for HIV and other STIs .
Recognizing The Signs: The Prodrome
Early in the phase of reactivation , many people experience an itching, tingling, or painful feeling in the area where their recurrent lesions will develop. This sort of warning symptomcalled a prodromeoften comes a day or two before lesions appear. To be on the safe side, its best to assume virus is active during these times.
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