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Herpes Simplex : Causes and treatment options for genital herpes and oral herpes

Herpes Simplex : Causes and treatment options for genital herpes and oral herpes

Herpes Virus

Herpes (or genital herpes) is a life-long viral infection that may result in groups of small blisters that could break into small ulcers. While there is no cure for herpes, the general symptoms for herpes will take about a week or more to heal, and it won’t occur again unless the immune system of the body is weakened. This symptom for herpes is also called “herpes outbreak” For some people, having an outbreak for the first time may cause other symptoms such as body aches, or fever too. Herpes outbreak may occur several times over a person’s life, but form the second time onward are going to be shorter and less severe than the initial outbreak. Herpes can be divided into two types based on the area of infection.

  • Mild herpes This form of herpes usually shows up in a few small blisters either on the lips or the genitals and can be mistaken for pimples. Mild herpes can occur several times, depending on when a person’s immune system is weakened from any means (lack of sleep, tired of work, and so on).
  • How to get rid of herpes? It is not possible to get rid of herpes entirely. The best method that you can do is either avoid getting it in the first place by not having any skin contact with someone having symptoms or try to stay healthy as much as possible if you’re already infected.

Type of Herpes

  • Herpes-type 1 (HSV-1) : This type of herpes is often called “Oral herpes or herpes on the lip” It may result in one or more small blisters around the mouth, at the gums, herpes on tongue, or at the roof of the mouth. Many people never get any symptoms despite unknowingly carrying HSV-1 in their body, as they may have been infected during childhood or young adulthood from other people’s saliva.
  • Herpes-type 2 (HSV-2) : This type is generally known as “Genital herpes” While the other type is transmitted from saliva, this type is transmitted through skin contact during sex. Some people may get the genital herpes symptoms around the mouth after having oral sex as well, so it’s not necessarily restricted to one area of infection, and the same goes to HSV-1 that can occur around the genitals area.

Herpes causes?

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that spreads through skin contact or saliva.

  • Herpes in men and women Both men and women will get the same symptoms for herpes, but genital herpes in women is more likely to occur due to their period that makes their body weaker for the time being.

Herpes Treatment and medication

Even though herpes can heal itself after 2-4 weeks, you can use the medication to speed up the recovery time. This medication is in the form of an ointment and should be administered as instructed by the physician.

What is oral herpes

HSV-1 can cause oral herpes, which result in fever blisters on or around the mouth (cold sores).  Most people do not show symptoms. Many people with oral herpes may have been infected during childhood or young adulthood from non-sexual contact with saliva.

What is the link between genital herpes and oral herpes

Oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, and can be spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex.  This is why some cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1.

How is genital herpes spread

Through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease by way of:

  • A herpes sore
  • Skin in the oral area or in the genital area of your partner
  • Saliva (if your partner has an oral herpes infection) or genital secretions (if your partner has a genital herpes infection)

How can I reduce my risk of getting genital herpes

Abstinence from vaginal, anal or oral sex is the only way to avoid STDs, but if you are sexually active, the following are things to lower the chances of contracted genital herpes:

  • Be in a long-term monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
  • Use latex condoms correctly each time you have sex

Condoms cannot fully protect you from getting herpes, as herpes can appear in areas not covered by condoms.  Herpes can spread through skin to skin contact
If you are in a relationship with someone who has genital herpes, you can lower the risk of infection by the following:

  • Have your partner take anti-herpes medication every day
  • Avoid having vaginal, anal or oral sex when your partner has herpes symptoms (i.e. herpes outbreak)

What are the common symptoms

Usually there are mild to no symptoms.  Often times, pimples or ingrown hairs are mistaken as herpes.

Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters around the genitals, rectum or mouth.  These blisters can break and leave painful sores that take a week or more to heal. This is known as “having an outbreak.”  The first time someone has an outbreak, they may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen glands.

Outbreaks can occur repeatedly over a person’s life time.  They may be shorter and less severe than the initial outbreak, however.  An outbreak may be triggered if a person is infected with HSV-2.

You should contact your doctor when you notice an unusual sore, a smelly genital discharge, burning urination, or (for women) bleeding between periods.

How will my doctor know if I have herpes

Your doctor can determine if you have herpes by looking at your simples, or by taking a sample from the sore and testing it.  Blood tests can also be used to look for herpes antibodies.

Can herpes be cured

There is no cure for herpes, but medicines can be taken to shorten outbreaks.  Anti-herpes medication can be taken daily to reduce the likelihood of passing the infection onto your sex partner.

What happens if I don’t get treated

Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.

Since herpes is spread through skin to skin contact, touching your sores or the fluid from sores from one part of the body can allow the spread of the virus to another part of your body, such as to your eyes.  Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes from one part of your body to another.

FAQs about herpes

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