Treatments for genital herpes: antivirals, homemade options

The genital herpes is a disease that has no cure , but treatment has to prevent outbreaks, relieve symptoms and reduce the chances of transmission and complications.

In general, any doctor can monitor these patients, but the most suitable specialists are the gynecologist, urologist and infectologist.

Certain local care can be taken to treat injuries. For this, some medications are applied directly to the wounds, to help with healing and prevent self-contamination.

This must be done because contact with the liquid from the wounds can cause injuries in other parts of the body, such as when the patient touches the hand and ends up, unintentionally, “transferring” the virus to another region of his body.

Who should prescribe ointments or specific products for this care is the doctor, as  self-medication  can end up worsening the situation of the injury or prolonging its healing time.

The treatment is basically done by means of antiviral medications (in tablets or ointments), which relieve the pain and discomfort caused during a crisis, curing the lesions more quickly, preventing complications and reducing the risk of transmission to others.

People who have a lot of seizures can take these medications daily for a while – after medical evaluation. This can help prevent seizures and shorten their duration.

For recurrent seizures, the patient must take the medication as soon as the tingling, burning or itching begins, or as soon as blisters start to appear.

The doctor may also recommend the use of anesthetic ointments or gels to be applied to the genital region during the appearance of blisters and other symptoms.

Also read: Remedy for male and female candidiasis (oral, single dose)

Antivirals

The first episode of genital herpes is usually treated for 7 to 10 days by oral medications. If there is no improvement in the ulcers, the treatment can be extended for another week.

Treatment works best if started within the first 72 hours of symptoms. In the occurrence of other crises, the treatment time is reduced and can be done for an average of 5 days.

When it comes to patients with a history of frequent seizures, it is advisable to keep antiviral drugs at home as a precaution. Thus, they will be able to start treatment as soon as the first signs of the disease.

If the patient rarely has seizures or few symptoms, there may be no need for treatment with antivirals, especially if the individual does not have a sexual partner at the time that he or she may be infected.

Episodic therapy

This type of treatment is done with the use of antiviral drugs when a patient has the first sign of an outbreak. It is a strategy used for a few days, in which the patient receives the medication to speed up the healing of wounds or to prevent the outbreak from occurring entirely.

However, it is necessary to understand that each patient will have a different manifestation of symptoms and outbreaks, so episodic therapy may not be necessary in all cases.

It is more suitable for patients who have outbreaks over a very long period of days and with more intense symptoms. This treatment can shorten between 1 to 2 days of the outbreak, on average.

It is most effective when started at the first sign of illness or outbreak. When lesions are already present, episodic treatment may offer little benefit to the patient.

Daily suppressive therapy

Patients diagnosed with genital herpes can check with the specialist doctor about the need for daily suppressive therapy, which is basically the administration of antiviral medication on a daily basis.

Like treatment with medications in an episodic manner, this therapy also seeks to reduce the chances of an outbreak and leave the disease under control, making the risk of symptoms less.

For patients who have recurrent outbreaks, between 6 or more per year, this treatment helps to reduce the chances of seizures by up to 75% when compared to patients who do not receive the medication daily, and can totally avoid outbreaks in some cases.

It is unclear how long suppressive therapy should be maintained. Some experts recommend taking a break from treatment periodically (every few years) to determine whether suppressive therapy is still needed. If the outbreaks return, suppressive therapy can be restarted.

Suppressive therapy can also be indicated in cases of sexual partners with discordant serologies, that is, one of them infected with herpes and the other not.

This method reduces the risk of transmission by more than 50%. When associated with the use of condoms , the risk of transmission of genital herpes becomes small.

Medicines

According to the Ministry of Health and the  Food and Drug Administration  (FDA), there are three main antivirals used to treat genital herpes  , namely Acyclovir ,  Valacyclovir  and  Fanciclovir .

These antiviral drugs are usually prescribed when the patient has the first episode (or crisis) of genital herpes or in episodic and suppressive therapy.

Medicines such as  Lidocaine  or Xylocaine can also be indicated to relieve pain and moisturize the skin, thus reducing the discomfort caused by the disease when it is symptomatic.

Learn a little more about antiviral drugs:

Acyclovir

This is the oldest antiviral drug used to treat herpes, available since 1982. Initially, it was marketed only in the form of an ointment, for direct application to the skin. In 1985, the sale was also made as a medicine in pill form. It is currently available in both presentations.

It is a drug considered safe for patients, even for those who undergo suppressive therapy for up to 10 years in a row.

In addition to being used to treat infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, Acyclovir can also be used in some cases of herpes zoster.

Some of the trade names of Aciclovir are:

  • Acyclofar Tablet ;
  • Hervirax Cream ;
  • Hervirax Ophthalmic Ointment ;
  • Zovirax Tablet ;
  • Zovirax Injectable ;
  • Zovirax Ophthalmic Ointment ;
  • Aciclomed Cream ;
  • Hervirax;
  • Herpesil Creme ;
  • Aciclofar Cream ;
  • Aciclomed Tablet ;
  • Acyclor ;
  • Aciveral ;
  • Acivirax ;
  • Anclomax ;
  • Antivirax  ;
  • Ciclavix ;
  • Clovir ;
  • Ezopen ;
  • Heclivir ;
  • Herpesil Pill ;
  • Herpfar ;
  • Hervirax Tablet ;
  • Zelnin .

Valacyclovir

Valaciclovir is a medicine used to treat infections of the skin and mucosa caused by the herpes simplex virus, including the initial and recurrent genital herpes. After ingesting the pill, the drug is converted into the substance acyclovir, which acts to combat the action of the virus in the body.

It can be more efficient in the treatment, because the body is able to absorb a large part of the medication, which reduces the need to take several doses a day.

In addition to contributing to the treatment of genital, labial and herpes zoster herpes, Valacyclovir is used to inhibit the action of several types of herpesvirus, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human herpesvirus type 6 (HVH-6).

This medicine has the trade names  Herpstal  and  Valtrex , available in tablet form.

Fanciclovir

This active ingredient is used to prevent HSV from reproducing. Like Valaciclovir, Fanciclovir is well absorbed, which helps it to persist in the body for a longer time, without the need for high doses.

The trade names are  Fanclomax  (tablet) and  Penvir (cream and tablet).

Attention!

NEVER  self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Home treatment

In addition to antiviral medications, some home treatments can be used to relieve the symptoms of an outbreak of genital herpes.

What should be done is to keep the area always clean and dry, if possible, allowing the genital area to receive air, which helps to prevent the healing process.

Therefore, it is important that clothes and underwear are not too tight, as friction with injuries can prevent better ventilation from happening, in addition to causing greater discomfort and pain in the region. Prefer pieces made of cotton, as they allow ventilation and hinder the proliferation of fungi, viruses and bacteria

However, before risking any homemade prescription it  is necessary to check the possibility with a doctor, to avoid complications . Knowing that there are no risks, it is possible to move on with home treatments and care. Some tips are:

  • Take a sitz bath with cold water, to temporarily reduce the pain caused by the wounds;
  • Use the sitz bath or take a shower with warm water to be able to urinate, especially in the case of women who experience pain or discomfort when urinating;
  • Avoid using soap in the genital region or bubble baths during crises;
  • Keep the genital area well sanitized and dry;
  • Avoid underwear, pants and shorts that are too tight;
  • Avoid the use of creams and ointments that were not prescribed by the doctor;
  • Check the possibility of using analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain.
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