Genital herpes, generally known as herpes, is a sexually transmitted infection and is a chronic condition. A virus called Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) causes herpes by affecting the cervix, genitals, and the skin around other parts of the body. HSVs are of two types:
- Herpes Type 1, or HSV-1
- Herpes Type 2, or HSV-2
Recurring genital herpes is experienced by many people who have HSV. If affected with recurrences, they occur more often and severity of each occurrence lowers with time and the periods get longer. The HSV is highly contagious and is transmissible by close and direct contact, the most common being oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
Symptoms of genital herpes:
As stated earlier, many people carrying HSV don’t experience symptoms. For those who do, it occurs in the form of sores near the mouth, or blisters on or around the genitals. These symptoms, if they show up, do so after 5 to 8 days of infection.
Primary symptoms are experienced in the initial stages of infection and may last up to 20 days depending on the severity. They include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Ulceration and blisters on the cervix
- Temperature (fever)
- Pain while urinating
- Malaise (feeling unwell)
- Red blisters – these are painful and burst soon to leave ulcers.
- Cold sores around the mouth
In most of the cases, the ulcers will heal with time and no lasting scars will be left behind.
These symptoms are less severe and don’t last long, as immunity against the virus has already been built in the patient’s body. These symptoms last around 8 to 10 days and include:
- Cold sores near the mouth
- Tingling/burning sensation near the genitals before appearance of blisters.
- Women may experience blisters followed by ulceration near or on the cervix.
- Red blisters, same as in the primary symptoms.
Recurrences are less severe and occur less often. HSV-2 patients experience longer and more severe recurrences than the HSV-1 patients.
Causes of Genital Herpes:
The following activities can cause HSV infection:
- Having unprotected anal or vaginal sex
- Sharing sex toys
- Performing oral sex with a partner who experiences cold sores
- Coming in genital contact with an infected partner.
A pregnant women infected with HSV may pass on the infection to her baby.
HSV does not spread by touching an object touched by an infected patient.
Treating Genital Herpes:
Home-based treatments for genital herpes
- Bathing in lightly-salted water
- Ice packs
- Avoiding tight clothes for the infected areas
- Washing hands properly
- Avoiding sexual activity until symptoms go away.
- Using ‘Erase Herpes’, a natural program, to completely remove HSV virus from your body.
Medication for Herpes
HSV cannot be totally eradicated with a drug, though antiviral prescriptions like Acyclovir prevent the HSV from multiplying and reduce the severity of the condition.
- Episodic treatment – For patients who experience six or less recurrences in one year. On every appearance of the symptoms, an antiviral prescription of five-day course is given.
- Suppressive treatment – For patients having more than six recurrences in a year and more severe symptoms. Acyclovir is prescribed twice daily for a few months.
To prevent the spread or developing of HSV:
- Use condoms during sex
- Avoid sex when experiencing symptoms
- Avoid kissing when having cold sores near the mouth
- Avoid having multiple sex partners
- Male circumcision reduces the risk of spreading HSV.
Pregnant women who are infected with HSV may transfer the virus to the baby. To prevent the same, a C-section may be done. But the chances of the baby getting infected is very less, as in most of the cases, the mother was infected long before the pregnancy.