Genital Herpes

The herpes simplex virus causes genital herpes, a common sexually transmitted condition (HSV). The virus is carried mostly through sexual contact. After the first infection, the virus remains dormant in the body and can be reawakened multiple times per year. Genital herpes is characterised by pain, itching, and ulcers in the genital area.

Pain, itching, and lesions in the vaginal region are all symptoms of genital herpes. However, people might not show any signs or symptoms in some cases. Even if you don't have any visible sores, you might be contagious if you're infected. Although there is no cure for genital herpes, drugs can help alleviate symptoms and minimise the risk of spreading the virus to others. Condoms can also assist in preventing the spread of genital herpes.


Types of Genital Herpes

Two types of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) cause genital herpes:

  • HSV-1
  • HSV-2

Genital Herpes symptoms

Many people who have herpes don't have any symptoms at all. If you do notice symptoms, they will be different depending on whether you are experiencing your first or second herpes outbreak. The recurrence of symptoms is frequently less severe than the initial outbreak. Symptoms aren't as severe as they are in subsequent outbreaks. It's possible that some people will only suffer one or two outbreaks throughout their lives. Others may experience up to five outbreaks every year. People who have herpes symptoms may have a variety of symptoms.

  • Patients develop cold sores on their lips, mouth, and tongue. They may resemble crusty blisters or fluid-filled blisters.
  • Sores around their anus or on their genitals.
  • Itching, tingling, or burning sensations
  • Fever, swelling of lymph nodes, or muscular pains
  • Painful urination.
Genital Herpes Symptoms

When to see a doctor?

  • Anyone who suspects they may have been infected with herpes should see a doctor and have a test done.
  • If a person develops signs of genital or oral herpes, they should contact a doctor. A physician can confirm a diagnosis and go over treatment choices with you.
  • If a woman with genital herpes becomes pregnant, she should visit a doctor to prevent the virus from infecting the baby.
  • Pregnant women with genital herpes can deliver their babies safely, but a doctor must be informed of the circumstance in order to do so efficiently.

Get the best treatment for genital Herpes from the top doctors of Medicover Hospital.


Causes of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes can be caused by two kinds of herpes simplex virus infections:

HSV-1

This is the kind that typically produces mouth sores or fever blisters. HSV-1 is most commonly transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, although it can also be transmitted to the vaginal area during oral sex. When compared to HSV-2 infection, recurrences are far less common.

HSV-2

This is the form that causes genital herpes most often. Sexual and skin-to-skin contact are also ways for the virus to spread. Whether or not you have an open sore, HSV-2 is prevalent and infectious.

Since the virus does not survive for long outside the body, contracting the infection by touch with an infected person's toilets, towels, or other things is practically impossible.


Genital Herpes Risk factors

The following are some of the most common risk factors for genital herpes:

  • Contact with someone who has HSV-1 or HSV-2
  • Without barrier protection, oral, anal, or vaginal sex (condom, dental dam)
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Presence of another sexually transmitted or blood-borne illness is the present or the past

Complications

The following are some complications linked with genital herpes:

Infections that are sexually transmitted

If you have genital sores, you're more likely to spread or get other sexually transmitted illnesses, such as AIDS.

Infection in a newborn

Viruses can infect babies delivered to infected moms during the childbirth process. The infant may suffer brain damage, blindness, or death due to this.

Bladder issues

Inflammation around the tube that transports urine from your bladder to the urethra. For several days, the swelling might shut the urethra, necessitating the placement of a catheter to drain your bladder.

Meningitis

In rare cases, HSV infection can cause inflammation of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid around your brain and spinal cord.

Inflammation of the rectal cavity (proctitis)

Inflammation of the rectum lining can result from genital herpes, especially in males who have intercourse with other men.


Prevention of Genital Herpes

  • The best strategy to avoid catching herpes and other STDs is to avoid contacting another person's mouth or genitals.
  • Learning how to have safer sex is essential. While having intercourse, using protection such as condoms and dental dams can help reduce the risk of catching an STD.
  • During herpes, avoid having sex with anyone since that's when it's easiest to spread. Herpes can spread even if there are no sores or symptoms, so use condoms and dental dams even if everything appears in order.

Diagnosis of Genital Herpes

A complete blood count (CBC) test will provide counts of your white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets in a sample of your blood. If you have anaemia, your doctor will suggest additional tests to determine its type and whether it has a serious cause.

The normal haemoglobin levels are

Viral culture

This procedure entails obtaining a tissue sample or scraping the lesions for laboratory evaluation.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

A sample of the blood, tissue from a sore, or spinal fluid is used to replicate the DNA using PCR. After that, the DNA may be examined to see if you have HSV and whatever type of HSV you have.

Blood test

This test looks for HSV antibodies in a sample of the blood whether you've had herpes before.


Treatment of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes can be treated in a variety of ways.

Medications

  • There is no medicine that can completely eradicate the herpes virus. To prevent the virus from replicating, a doctor may give an antiviral medicine such as acyclovir.
  • Meanwhile, over-the-counter herpes medicines, which are mostly creams, can aid with tingling, itching, and discomfort.
  • If a person takes antiviral medicine, their symptoms may go away 1–2 days faster than others who don’t take any medicine. Medication can also help to alleviate the intensity of symptoms.
  • A doctor may prescribe antiviral medicine for each recurrence of genital herpes if the person has less than six recurrences per year.
  • If a person's recurrences are more frequent, a doctor may prescribe taking an antiviral for 6–12 months. Taking these meds every day for longer durations reduces the danger of transferring herpes to a partner, though it still exists.

Genital herpes Dos and Don’ts

Genital herpes is not curable but manageable if people get the necessary treatment. Following the dos and don'ts, on the other hand, can help you prevent the disease's harmful repercussions. Below are some guidelines:

Do’s Don’ts
Reduce Physical and Emotional Stress Expose yourself to too much Sun
Practice Good Hygiene Habits Take too much stress
Get adequate sleep Touch the sores
Get Tested for STDs if you see symptoms Stop medication without completing the course.
Tell your partner if you have genital herpes Have sex during a herpes outbreak.

Precautions and self-care will help you fight the condition positively and improve your quality of life.


Genital Herpes Care at Medicover Hospitals

At Medicover, we have the best team of Gynaecologists and infectious disease doctors who work together to provide Genital Herpes treatment and management with utmost precision. Our doctors use the best diagnostic procedures and technologies to accurately diagnose a condition and prepare a treatment plan that is personalized. For Herpes, our dermatologists work together with the gynecologists to evaluate the severity of the condition and guide the patients on the best medical treatment and self-care measures for effective management of the condition. Our doctors work closely with the patients to monitor their treatment progress for faster and sustained recovery.

Citations

https://carle.org/conditions/gynecology-conditions/genital-herpes
https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes.htm
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/genital-herpes/
https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/treatment.htm
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-virus

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