Genital herpes is an infection of the genitals (penis in men, vulva and vagina in women) and the surrounding area of the skin.
It is caused by the herpes simplex virus .
Also may be interested the buttocks and anus. There are two types of herpes simplex virus:
Herpes simplex virus type 1 frequently causes sores around the mouth and also causes half of cases of genital herpes. Herpes simplex virus type 2 usually causes only genital herpes. Sometimes it can also cause cold sores .
The HSV-2 virus lives on the nerves.
When it is active, it travels to the surface of the infected area (skin or mucosa) and multiplies.
This is called “diffusion” because these new viruses can, at this time, infect another person.
Then the virus returns along the nerve towards a ganglion (mass of nervous tissue where they originate or join with various nerves), usually near the spine where it lies dormant for a while.
Who Gets Genital Herpes?
About a fifth of all people 12 years and older in the United States are infected with the HSV-2 virus that causes genital herpes, but about 90% do not know.
More women than men are infected, one in four women compared to one in five men.
One reason may be that the virus can infect a woman’s genitals more easily than a man.
- 1 How is Herpes Genital transmitted?
- 2 Can I protect myself from herpes by always using a condom?
- 3 What is the relationship between genital herpes and HIV?
- 4 Symptoms of Female and Male Genital Herpes
- 5 Why do you have a recurrence of Genital Herpes?
- 6 What are the complications of genital herpes?
- 7 Pregnancy and genital herpes
- 8 Diagnosis of Genital Herpes Infection
- 9 What is the treatment for genital herpes?
- 10 Medicines
- 11 Antiviral medication
- 12 Natural Remedies for Genital Herpes
- 13 Natural Treatment for Genital Herpes
- 14 How long does Genital Herpes last? How long it takes?
- 15 Prevention of genital herpes
How is Herpes Genital transmitted?
The Herpes simplex 1 virus usually passes from person to person with a kiss.
HSV-1 can also be transmitted from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex. In this case, it becomes a case of genital herpes.
The HSV-2 virus is transmitted more frequently with vaginal or anal intercourse.
Just as the HSV-1 virus can infect the genitals and cause genital herpes, HSV-2 can pass from one person’s genitals to the other’s mouth, causing cold sores.
The HSV-2 virus does not survive long on a non-living surface, so there is no real risk of getting it from a toilet or hot tub.
Can I protect myself from herpes by always using a condom?
No, it is not possible to prevent the transmission of herpes using a condom, but it can reduce the risk.
Unlike many other sexually transmitted diseases , herpes is transmitted through the skin to the skin rather than through bodily fluids.
Since the condom does not cover all potentially infected skin, it can not stop spreading the herpes.
A 2009 scientific study shows that those who use condoms have seen a 30% reduction in the risk of contracting herpes from the partner.
However, condom use should be consistent. The study also found that every unprotected sex act increases the risk of transmitting herpes.
What is the relationship between genital herpes and HIV?
Genital herpes can cause lesions of the skin or mucous membrane (inner wall of the mouth, vagina and intestines).
Genital wounds can bleed easily.
When these cuts come in contact with the mouth, vagina or rectum during intercourse, if your partner is infected, the risk of HIV transmission increases.
Symptoms of Female and Male Genital Herpes
Most individuals infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 do not have any symptoms or have very mild symptoms that go undetected or are mistaken for another skin disease.
For this reason, most people infected with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection.
Many people with HSV-2 infection never have sores or have very mild symptoms that can be mistaken for an insect bite or other skin disease.
If signs and symptoms occur during the first infection, they can be quite serious.
Symptoms usually begin within two weeks from when you become infected.
The symptoms can be:
- Reduced appetite,
- Fever ,
- Overall malaise,
- Muscle pain in the lower part of the spine , buttocks , thighs or knees .
Genital symptoms include the appearance of small, painful blisters with clear fluid, usually:
-Women: on the vaginal lips (large lips), vagina, cervix, around the anus, on the thighs or buttocks
– In men: in the penis, scrotum, around the anus, in the glans, thighs or buttocks.
-In both sexes: on the tongue, mouth, eyes, gums, lips, fingers and other parts of the body.
Before the blisters appear, the person may feel tingling , burning or itching in the skin, there is also pain where the blisters appear.
When the bubble bursts leaving a superficial ulcer is very painful. These ulcers eventually form a scab and heal slowly in a week or two.
Other symptoms that may occur:
- Swollen and sore inguinal lymph nodes ,
- Pain when urinating ,
- Women may have vaginal discharge and may rarely be able to empty the bladder.
A second infection may appear weeks or months after the first.
It is almost always less serious and shorter than the first.
Over time, it can decrease the number of exacerbations.
How soon after the symptoms of genital herpes?
Anyone who has been exposed to genital herpes may experience genital itching and / or pain 2 to 20 days after they have been infected with the virus. The wounds usually appear a few days later.
Why do you have a recurrence of Genital Herpes?
Once a person is infected, the virus hides inside nerve cells and stays in the body.
The virus can remain “dormant” (latent) for a long period of time.
The infection can be reactivated at any time. Events that may trigger the virus are:
Attacks can rarely be reactivated, for example once a year or whenever symptoms seem continuous.
Recurrent infections in men are generally milder and shorter than those of women.
What are the complications of genital herpes?
Genital herpes can cause painful genital wounds in adults and can be severe in people with compromised immune systems.
If a person with genital herpes touches the wounds or fluid from the wounds one can pass herpes to another part of the body.
This is especially annoying if it is a sensitive place like the eye.
It is best to avoid careful not to touch the wounds or liquids.
If they happen to touch them accidentally wash their hands immediately.
Pregnancy and genital herpes
Rarely is herpes infection transmitted to the baby during delivery. Although this is not frequent, be sure to notify the nurse or gynecologist if the condition has been diagnosed before or during pregnancy.
Diagnosis of Genital Herpes Infection
If you think you have herpes, the doctor will make a tampon in the affected area to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes the doctor does a blood test to get to the diagnosis. Talk to your doctor to find out which way to go.
What is the treatment for genital herpes?
General measures can help alleviate the symptoms when they occur.
Analgesics such as acetaminophen may help relieve pain.
If when urine feels pain, it may be helpful to make a hot bath with water flowing over the sore area.
The antibiotics are not necessary because only fight bacteria but have no effect on the virus.
Anesthetic ointment that can be bought at a pharmacy (such as 5% lidocaine) may relieve pain or itching .
Some people apply the ointment five minutes before urinating if this is painful.
Note: Some people are sensitive (allergic), anesthetic ointments are greasy and therefore may aggravate symptoms.
Applying vaseline to the genitals before urinating can be a useful alternative to anesthetic ointment.
Antiviral medication does not eliminate the virus from the body.
It works by blocking the multiplication of the virus.
Antiviral drugs are acyclovir (Zovirax), Valacyclovir and famciclovir (Penvir).
The antiviral drug is most useful in the first episode of Genital Herpes.
It reduces the severity and duration of symptoms if you take within five days of the onset of symptoms. A five day treatment is common but can be extended for another two days if the vesicles are forming. The antiviral drug may not be necessary to treat relapses.
This is because usually the symptoms are much lighter than the first episode and usually last only a few days.
However, if you have very severe symptoms during relapses, it is advisable to take the medication for a longer period.
To reduce the duration and severity of a relapse, take this medicine as soon as symptoms begin.
Some doctors prescribe antiviral drugs to keep at home and can be taken at the first sign of a recurrence.
Starting treatment early can help reduce the severity of the symptoms. If there are frequent relapses, one option is to take antiviral medicine every day.
In most people who use drugs every day, relapses completely stop or frequency and severity are greatly reduced.
Natural Remedies for Genital Herpes
An ice pack placed on the wounds for 5-10 minutes can be relaxing.
Do not place ice directly on the skin as this can cause an ice burn.
Drinking too much
This can help the urine to become more dilute and can make it less painful when urinating.
Do not use scented soaps, bubble bath, etc. because they can irritate.
Gentle cleaning of wounds with cotton or salt water is best.
Dry gently with a hair dryer.
Some people say that putting the used tea bags on the wounds is relaxing.
Natural Treatment for Genital Herpes
L-lysine is an amino acid that is not produced naturally by the human body.
Humans get the lysine they need by eating foods like red meat and dairy products.
Lysine is also available as a supplement in the pharmacy.
There is a popular belief that lysine may be an effective treatment for herpes that may decrease the duration of symptoms or reduce the frequency but there is no scientific evidence to support this.
How long does Genital Herpes last? How long it takes?
Generally genital herpes lasts 10-15 days, however, the virus remains dormant in the body, so it is possible to have a relapse, especially in times of severe physical or psychological stress.
Prevention of genital herpes
Since herpes is transmitted through sexual contact, the best way to prevent it from happening is to not have sexual intercourse.
Sexual contact with multiple partners or with someone who has more than one partner increases the risk of contracting any sexually transmitted disease.
When used correctly, the latex condom reduces the risk of disease.
The female polyurethane condom is considered effective.
We should avoid sharing towels, sponges and cloths with other people because this can result in transmission of infection.
We must avoid sexual relations until the wounds and the blisters form a crust or with the prior authorization of the physician.
When sexual activity is resumed after herpes is passed, a lubricant may help as people believe that the friction of intercourse can trigger a relapse.
Doing a vaginal lavage can actually increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases in women because they can modify the gut flora (healthy bacteria) of the vagina and can displace the pathogenic bacteria that are higher in the genital tract.
A teenager who is undergoing a herpes treatment should be screened for other sexually transmitted diseases and should talk openly with her doctor alone about sex.
Since many sexually transmitted diseases may not cause noticeable symptoms, teens often do not know when they have caught the infection. It is important for all young people who have had intercourse to have regular screenings for sexually transmitted diseases to avoid other more serious health problems.