What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus
or HSV. There are two types of HSV, and both can cause genital herpes.
HSV type 1 most commonly infects the lips, causing sores known as
fever blisters or cold sores, but it also can infect the genital
area and produce sores. HSV type 2 is the usual cause of genital
herpes, but it also can infect the mouth. A person who has genital
herpes infection can easily pass or transmit the virus to an uninfected
person during sex.
HSV remains in certain nerve cells of the body for life, and can
produce symptoms off and on in some infected people.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
45 million people in the United States ages 12 and older, or 1 out
of 5 of the total adolescent and adult population, are infected
How does someone get genital herpes?
Most people get genital herpes by having sex with someone who
is having a herpes "outbreak." This outbreak means that
HSV is active. When active, the virus usually causes visible lesions
in the genital area. The lesions shed (cast off) viruses that can
infect another person. A person with genital herpes also can infect
a sexual partner during oral sex. The virus is spread only rarely,
if at all, by touching objects such as a toilet seat or hot tub.
Genital Herpes Symptoms
Unfortunately, most people who have genital herpes don't know
it because they never have any symptoms, or they do not recognize
any symptoms they might have. When there are symptoms, they can
be different in each person. Most often, when a person becomes infected
with herpes for the first time, the symptoms will appear within
2 to 10 days. These first episodes of symptoms usually last 2 to
Early symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak include
• Itching or burning feeling in the genital or anal area
• Pain in the legs, buttocks, or genital area
• Discharge of fluid from the vagina
• Feeling of pressure in the abdomen
Within a few days, sores appear near where the virus has entered
the body, such as on the mouth, penis, or vagina (vaginal/labial
herpes). They also can occur inside the vagina and on the cervix
in women, or in the urinary passage of women and men. Small red
bumps appear first, develop into blisters, and then become painful
open sores. Over several days, the sores become crusty and then
heal without leaving a scar.
Other symptoms that may go with the first episode of genital herpes
are fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination,
vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area.
Can outbreaks recur?
If you have been infected by HSV 1 and/or 2, you will probably
have symptoms or outbreaks from time to time. After the virus has
finished being active, it then travels to the nerves at the end
of the spine where it stays for a while. Even after the lesions
are gone, the virus stays inside the nerve cells in a still and
hidden state, which means that it's inactive.
In most people, the virus can become active several times a year.
This is called a recurrence. But scientists do not yet know why
this happens. When it becomes active again, it travels along the
nerves to the skin, where it makes more viruses near the site of
the very first infection. That is where new sores usually will appear.
The frequency and severity of recurrent episodes vary greatly. While
some people have only one or two outbreaks in a lifetime, others
may have several outbreaks a year. The number and pattern of repeat
outbreaks often change over time for a person. Scientists do not
know what causes the virus to become active again. Although some
people with herpes report that their outbreaks are brought on by
another illness, stress, or having a menstrual period, outbreaks
often are not predictable. In some cases, outbreaks may be connected
to exposure to sunlight.
How is genital herpes diagnosed?
Doctors can diagnose genital herpes by looking at visible sores
if the outbreak is typical, and by taking a sample from the sore
for testing in a lab. Herpes can be difficult to diagnose between
outbreaks. Blood tests, which detect HSV-1 or HSV-2 antibodies,
can help to detect herpes in people without symptoms or during the
time between outbreaks.
Genital Herpes Treatment
Although there is no cure in conventional medicine for genital
herpes, your health care worker might prescribe one of three medicines
to treat it as well as to help prevent future episodes.
• Acyclovir (Zovirax)
• Famciclovir (Famvir)
• Valacyclovir (Valtrex)
During an active herpes episode, whether the first episode or
a repeat one, you should follow a few simple steps to speed healing
and avoid spreading the infection to other places on the body or
to other people.
• Keep the infected area clean and dry to prevent other
infections from developing.
• Try to avoid touching the sores.
• Wash your hands after contact with the sores.
• Avoid sexual contact from the time you first feel any symptoms
until the sores are completely healed, that is, the scab has fallen
off and new skin has formed where the sore was.
Can genital herpes cause any other problems?
If a woman has her first episode of genital herpes while she is
pregnant, she can pass the virus to her unborn child and may deliver
a premature baby. Half of the babies infected with herpes either
die or suffer from damage to their nerves. A baby born with herpes
can develop serious problems that may affect the brain, the skin,
or the eyes. If babies born with herpes are treated immediately
with acyclovir, their chances of being healthy are increased.
If a pregnant woman has an outbreak, which is not the first episode,
her baby's risk of being infected during delivery is very low. In
either case, if you are pregnant and infected with genital herpes,
you should stay in close touch with your doctor before, during,
and after your baby is born.
If a woman is having an outbreak during labor and delivery and
there are herpes lesions in or near the birth canal, the doctor
will do a cesarean section to protect the baby. Most women with
genital herpes, however, do not have signs of active infection with
the virus during this time, and can have a normal delivery.
Can I breastfeed if I have genital herpes?
If you have genital herpes, you can keep breastfeeding as long
as the sores are covered. Herpes is spread through contact with
sores and can be dangerous to a newborn. If you have sores on your
nipple or areola, the darker skin around the nipple, you should
stop breastfeeding on that breast.
Homeopathic Remedies & Homeopathy Treatment for Genital Herpes
Many homeopathic remedies have been known to cure genital herpes.
Some of these are -
Natrum mur, Petroleum Causticum, Crot-t,
Dulcamara, Graphites, Hepar-sulph, Medorrhinum, Merc-sol, Sepia,
Tellurium, Thuja, Anancardium, Aur-met, Calcarea, Crot-h, Jug-r,
Nit-ac, Ph-ac, Sars, Sil, Ter, Rhus-tox.
Homeopathy treats the person
as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient
as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic
medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination
and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient,
physical and mental constitution etc.