Genital herpes is one of the most common STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) out there. It’s caused when a virus named “herpes simplex” (HSV) makes its way to one’s body. Actually, there are two types of herpes, both affecting different areas. The first type, called HSV-1, causes something known as cold sores, or in other words, blistering lesions around one’s mouth. On the other hand, HSV-2 is more about infecting the genital areas, or those that come in contact during a sexual contact. It too, just like its other type, causes blistering lesions around the areas it affects. However, unfortunately for many, both these HSVs can affect one’s mouth as well as genital areas, and hence can be quite dangerous regardless of which one you’d have to deal with.
Once these herpes make their way to one’s body, they travel through the nerves and make the nerve tissues within one’s body their new home. Now though these usually don’t cause trouble on a daily basis, the outbreaks can be rather frequent. However, it also depends on a few other factors, as well as depends on the individual they affect.
One of the scariest facts about getting affected by these particular herpes is that the condition cannot be cured, at least not as of now. This means that unless a genuinely effective treatment is found, one may have to live with it throughout their life.
However, those suffering from HSV-2 do have something to look forward to, as though they may not be able to get rid of it completely, there are some supportive treatments out there which help to reduce the number of outbreaks as well as suppress the virus to a certain extent. There are some home remedies too that may turn out to be effective against the Herpes simplex virus.
How will you know if you have genital herpes?
The symptoms of genital herpes vary widely. A lot of times, someone suffering from HSV-2 may come across some mild symptoms, which would be very difficult to relate to the disease. Instead, they may be mistaken for symptoms of some other diseases. Even more surprisingly, it’s also possible to suffer from HSV-2 and have no symptoms at all. This means that not all people who suffer from it may be aware about the condition. However, this doesn’t mean that the disease doesn’t cause any harm to such people, as it’s probably be just a matter of time before the painful symptoms show up. Also, even if they don’t for a long time, the condition is still probably going to harm the affected people.
However, in those whom the symptoms of genital herpes are rather obvious and intense, go through a painful time. This is because the symptoms usually include the genital area experiencing painful blisters around them. These blisters tend to break open, something that can be quite worrying in itself. They may also develop ulcers, something that may pain until they’re healed, which may take about 2 to 4 weeks.
Also, a lot of times, it’s common to see one going through symptoms like fever, swollen lymph nodes, pain in the whole body, and so on, when they have their first outbreak. These symptoms can be pretty much common to those of flu, so there also tends to be a possibility of mistaking them for flu, unless of course one also experiences the blistering around their genital area at the same time.
The symptoms may be different in women, as their vulva and vaginal opening are the areas where such symptoms may show themselves, by developing blistering lesions around them. They usually seem to be progressing to turn into ulcers, which can obviously be quite a painful experience. In a lot of cases, the infection causes more damage by resulting in inflammation of the cervix. This results in a condition known as cervicitis. Surprisingly enough, in some cases, cervicitis may be the only symptom that would usually show up.
It is best not to undertake self diagnosis, however the common symptoms would include:
- No symptoms at all, the person suffering from it may not even be aware about it.
- Mild and confusing health issues, which may be mistaken for symptoms of other diseases
- Flu-like symptoms, including the ones like fever, swollen lymph nodes, experiencing pain in the whole body, etc.
- Painful symptoms, including blisters around the genital or buttock area as well as development of ulcers.
- The area would have red inflammation and might itch also
- Urethra related problems, causing pain while urinating.
- Different symptoms in women, the common one being blistering lesions around vulva and vaginal opening. Experiencing inflammation of cervix, a condition known as cervicitis.
- Scabs – These might occur once the ulcers will start to heal
Precautions may go a long way in avoiding genital herpes
They say precaution is better than cure, and it can’t be truer when it comes to HSV-2. However, surprisingly, it isn’t that easier as well in this case. After all, herpes simplex viruses can infect others during an outbreak, as well as when there isn’t even an outbreak through already infected people. Hence, preventing it altogether can be pretty challenging.
Though some people feel that condoms may prevent the disease, they’re far from being right. After all, a condom may only prevent the infection through the protected part, but not through the uncovered skin area.
However, the people suffering from genital herpes can ensure a few things to prevent its spread. They’re supposed to wash their hands properly in order as well as avoid sharing clothes which may have come in contact with their ulcers or infected areas.
Also, one of the more obvious preventive measures someone suffering from HSV-2 can consider following is to avoid sex altogether. The disease is highly contagious at the time being and hence it’d almost always result in its spread when someone suffering from it decides to have a sexual contact.
How genital herpes is actually transmitted
Genital herpes can be quite a terrible disease to get affected from, and hence one should consider doing the best they can to avoid it, or to avoid spreading it if they’re already fallen prey to it. Understanding how it’s transmitted may go a long way in helping one prevent it.
Simply put, herpes simplex virus, spreads when there is a direct contact with someone already suffering from it. Also, HSV-2 may be transmitted through all types of sexual contact. It can also be transmitted if you wear clothes of someone who is suffering from it, and the clothes have touched their infected areas.
What are the medicines which are prescribed?
Your doctor would put you on antiviral drugs and the consumption of this drug would minimize the herpes outbreaks frequently. When taking these medicines you also do not transmit the HSV virus to your partners. The common medicines used to treat herpes are Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir. It is important to understand that these drugs are administered depending on the level of herpes infection you have. Initially the drugs are prescribed for 10 days and if you still are suffering from certain symptoms then the treatment is extended.