Thursday, May 16, 2024

Which Doctor To Consult For Genital Herpes

Herpes Simplex Virus Or Sexoligst

Herpes virus treatment

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Emotional Impact Of Genital Herpes

Doctors and patients acknowledged the negative emotional impact at diagnosis and the ongoing psychological distress related to genital herpes. On average, doctors estimated the emotional impact to be higher than that reported by patients . Patients with genital herpes for more than 10 years reported less distress than those diagnosed more recently. Distress tended to increase significantly with the number of recurrences in the preceding year.

What Doctor Can I See If I Have Genital Herpes

Seizures, blood clots, and other life-threatening complications can arise from dehydration, which develops when the body lacks enough fluids. According to studies, energy and mood can be greatly affected even by mild dehydration. So detecting dehydration early is crucial although the signs will not all the times be evident like exhaustion and thirst.

To function, the body requires water

When the loss of water is more than the intake, dehydration develops

Dehydration symptoms can either be mild or severe

The elderly and the young are particularly prone to dehydration

Dehydration origins

What normally causes dehydration is failing to take in enough fluids to compensate for the lost ones. Diet, climate and the degree of physical exercise play a role in dehydration. Around sixty percent of the human body is made up of water. Around two-thirds of this water is contained within our cells these are the basic life-giving units of the human body. The rest of it is found in the spaces between cells, around the organs and our bloodstream. Water is essential to our survival. It helps in facilitating all important functions of the body, lubricates the joints, and also flushes out the waste from our body.


Headaches, dizziness thirst, and a dry mouth are some of the symptoms of dehydration. Urgent treatment of serious dehydration like shock, lack of sweat or lethargy should be provided. If not treated, dehydration which is severe can lead to death.


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What Is Life Like For Someone Who Has Genital Herpes

The virus that causes genital herpes stays inside your body forever. While many people carry this virus, some dont know that they have it because they never have an outbreak.

If you have an outbreak, taking an antiviral medicine can shorten the outbreak and relieve symptoms. Some people have several outbreaks. For most people, the outbreaks become less severe and occur less often with time.

Anyone who has been infected with the virus, however, can spread the virus to others during sex. Even if you never have an outbreak, you can still spread the virus.

Related AAD resources

Centers for Disease Control. Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet . Last accessed December 19, 2016.

Fatahzadeh M and Schwartz RA. Human herpes simplex virus infections: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptomatology, diagnosis, and management. J Am Acad Dermatol 2007 57:737-63.

Madkan V Sra K, et al. Human herpesviruses. In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. . Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:1075-6.

Marques AR, Straus SE, Herpes simplex. In: Wolff K, Goldsmith LA, et al. Fitzpatricks Dermatology in General Medicine . McGraw Hill Medical, New York, 2008: 1199-1204.

US Preventive Task Force. Serologic screening for genital herpes infection: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016 316:2525-30.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

Genital Herpes Symptoms, Risk Factors &  Treatments

You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
  • 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 lookout for signs of complications?

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Is There A Link Between Genital Herpes And Hiv

  • The HIV virus that causes AIDS is not the same as the genital herpes virus.
  • However, having the ulcers and sores of herpes makes it more likely to contract HIV if exposed, or to transmit HIV if you have been infected.
  • The ulcers of genital herpes cause breaks in the skin that make spreading the HIV virus to a sex partner more likely during sexual contact.

Is A Blood Test For Genital Herpes Included When I Ask To Be Tested For Everything Why Does Cdc Recommend Testing For Other Stds But Not Herpes

Herpes blood tests may or may not be included. Your doctor chooses STD tests based on your sexual behaviors , as well as how common the infection is in the area that you live in. This is why you should have an open and honest discussion with your doctor about your sex practices and history. When you go in for STD testing, it is important to ask your doctor which infections you are and are not being tested for, and why.

STD tests are usually done for infections that have serious outcomes if they are not treated. For example, finding and treating curable STDs like chlamydia can stop them from causing serious complications like infertility in women. Genital herpes does not usually result in serious outcomes in healthy, non-pregnant adults. More often, the stigma and shame from a genital herpes infection can be more troubling to someone who is infected than the disease itself. If you are worried about genital herpes, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.

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Medical Management Of Genital Herpes

Doctors reported that a mean of 56% of their patients with genital herpes were currently receiving episodic anti-viral treatment, 18% were receiving suppressive therapy, and 26% were not taking prescription medication. In contrast, 20% of patients reported that they were currently receiving episodic treatment, 9% suppressive therapy, and 71% were not taking prescription medication for genital herpes. Use of prescription medication tended to increase with the number of recurrences experienced in the preceding year .

Among doctors who chose not to treat select patients with anti-viral therapy, cost was the primary rationale, followed by patient refusal and infrequent outbreaks . In contrast, patients who were not receiving anti-viral therapy thought that their outbreaks were not severe or frequent enough to warrant treatment . Cost was only mentioned by 9% of patients .

Doctors reported discussing suppressive therapy with 59% of patients, whereas only 25% of patients recalled such a discussion. Among patients, the likelihood of having a discussion about suppressive therapy with a doctor decreased with years since diagnosis and increased with the number of recurrences experienced in the preceding year .

Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic

What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes

You can see a GP, but theyll 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.

Theyll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.

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Transmission Of Genital Herpes

Patients were asked to indicate sources of infection from a list of options. Virtually everyone cited sexual contact : however, some considered toilet seats , blood transfusions , shaking hands , and swimming pools or baths as potential sources of infection. Overall only 65% identified sexual contact as the sole means of transmission.

Patients estimated that 51% of people are infected by a partner who does not have an outbreak at the time of contact, and doctors estimated that 45% of cases are transmitted during periods of asymptomatic shedding .

Patients were asked to indicate if a series of statements were true or false. Seventy per cent felt that genital herpes can be passed to a sexual partner even when you dont have an outbreak. However, 38% then believed genital herpes can only be passed to a partner when an infected person has sexual contact during an outbreak and 25% believed that when you are experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes, your sexual partner will be fully protected from contracting the virus if you use a condom. Finally, only 40% were aware that there is a daily treatment available to reduce the chances of passing the virus on to your sexual partner.

What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic

The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:

  • ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
  • use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing

The test cannot:

  • be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
  • tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from

Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after you’re infected with the herpes virus.

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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.

Antiviral Medication For The First Episode Of Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes Symptoms, Risk Factors &  Treatments

The first episode of genital herpes is called the primary episode. This is typically treated with 5-day antiviral treatment. The duration of the treatment may be extended by a few days. Depending on if there are new blisters forming. Typically, during the primary episode, blisters may last between 10 and 28 days. Taking the right medication may help control the spread of the virus. It may also reduce the severity of the symptoms as well.

The treatment of viral diseases or infections lies in curing the symptoms. It also relies on the bodys immune system to heal itself. The measures mentioned below help to ease symptoms when they occur. Measures such as:

  • Ibuprofen or paracetamol can help manage pain.
  • Lidocaine 5% is a numbing gel that you can buy at a pharmacy. This helps in relieving itching or pain to a great degree. You can even apply it to the area 5 minutes before passing urine. Vaseline petroleum jelly can be applied in case lidocaine is not available.
  • Ice Packs may be used to help ease pain and cool the area.
  • Drinking lots of water reduces the concentration of your urine. In turn, it reduces pain.
  • Avoid using bubble bath, scented soaps, etc.
  • Gently clean the sores with cotton dipped in saltwater.
  • Use a hairdryer on the lowest setting to dry the blisters out.
  • Do not engage in sex until you have healed completely and the sores have disappeared or your doctor has approved.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Genital Herpes

It is common not to experience symptoms when first exposed to the virus. Symptoms can sometimes take months or even years to appear. However, the symptoms of a primary infection of genital herpes can include:

  • small blisters around genitals, thighs, buttocks and rectum
  • blisters that burst to leave red, open sores
  • vaginal discharge in women
  • pain when urinating
  • flu-like symptoms

Subsequent outbreaks are usually less severe, as your body will have protective antibodies and can better fight the virus. Initial symptoms of a recurrent outbreak usually start with a tingling or burning sensation before the blisters appear.

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Herpes

Many people with herpes are not aware that they have the virus, particularly in cases of genital herpes. This is because symptoms can be very mild, and in some cases there may be no symptoms at all. However, when symptoms do present, they can be severe.

  • swollen lymph nodes
  • flu-like symptoms

Symptoms of oral herpes are similar, in that fever, tiredness, and muscle aches may be experienced. One marker of oral herpes is sores around the mouth, or on the gums, tongue, inside of the cheeks, the throat, or the roof of the mouth. Before sores appear, there may be some itching, pain, tingling, or discomfort felt in the infected area.

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Who Might Get Herpes Simplex

People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:

  • Were assigned female at birth.
  • Have had multiple sex partners.
  • Started having sex at a young age.
  • Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
  • Have a weakened immune system.
  • Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.

Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?

Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.

Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?

Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.

People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.

Genital Herpes Is Common Shouldnt Cdc Recommend Testing For Everyone

Protecting Against Herpes

CDC recommends herpes testing for people who have genital symptoms to confirm if they have it. Testing allows a healthcare provider to talk with patients about what to expect in the future. This includes talking about medications that help with symptoms. Providers can also tell patients how to lower the risk of transmitting herpes to sex partner.

CDC does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms in most situations. This is because of the limits of a herpes blood test and the possibility of a wrong test result. The chances of wrong test results are higher for people who are at low risk of infection.

Blood tests might be useful if:

  • You have genital symptoms that could be related to herpes, or
  • You have a sex partner with genital herpes, or
  • Your provider found signs of herpes, but you still need a test to confirm it.

If you are sexually active, talk openly and honestly with your healthcare provider about what tests are right for you. These tips can help.

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Is There A Cure Or Treatment For Herpes

Theres no cure for the herpes virus yet. A herpes vaccine does not currently exist, because the herpes virus has more complicated DNA than most infections, creating challenges for researchers.

However, medication can help with symptoms, like sores and outbreaks. Medication also reduces the risk of transmission to others. Most medications for herpes are taken orally, though they may also be applied as a cream or administered by injection.

How Common Herpes Really Is

Enough people have herpes to make it a totally commonplace infection, even though we may not treat it as one.

Nearly 48 percent of people aged 14 to 49 in the United States were estimated to have HSV-1 between 2015 and 2016, according to the most recent data from the CDC. This high prevalence makes sense because many people actually get the virus from nonsexual contact as children, the CDC explains. This can happen when a parent greets a child with a kiss on the mouth or while a kid is playing with other little ones, since children arent exactly known for their respect of personal space. Remember: HSV-1 often presents as cold sores, but its possible that some people with HSV-1 actually have genital herpes.

So, about genital herpes. You may have heard that one in six people has this infection. Thats a little bit of an outdated figure, Christine Johnston, M.D., an associate professor and herpes researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine, tells SELF. That number is related to national survey data released by the CDC in 2010 and based on the years 2005 through 2008. This nationally representative research, published in the CDCs 2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , tested peoples blood samples for antibodies of HSV-1 and HSV-2, estimating that 16.2 percent of Americans aged 14 to 49 had HSV-2 between the years 2005 and 2008. Thats around one in six.

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How Long Does A Herpes Outbreak Last

A person who is infected with herpes may not even realize it until he or she passes it onto someone else, or when the virus reactivates. However, in most cases, the primary outbreak occurs within 2 to 20 days after contracting the virus. When a person is first infected with herpes and shows visible symptoms, the duration of the primary outbreak is often the worst and extremely painful. The primary episode can take 3 to 6 weeks to completely heal the sores. Following recurrent outbreaks are usually less severe and typically last for 3 to 14 days. The frequency comes less often with each recurring episode.

During the primary outbreak, the person may experience the following symptoms:

  • tingling, itching, and burning at the site where the sores will appear
  • small and painful blisters filled with fluid that usually appear 24-72 hours after the tingling and itching sensations
  • headaches, muscle aches, fever, nausea, and flu-like symptoms
  • painful urination if you have genital herpes

Secondary or recurring outbreaks clear up faster than the primary outbreak. A recurring outbreak usually takes 3 to 14 days to clear up. During the secondary outbreak, the person may experience the following symptoms:

  • tingling and itching at the site, indicating that the virus is active
  • small, painful, and fluid-filled blisters begin to appear
  • shallow wounds or ulcers may appear as the blisters break
  • the ulcers lead to scabs that take some time to heal
  • your skin starts becoming dry and flaky as it heals

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