Genital herpes also called simply as “herpes” is the most common sexual infection affecting millions of people in the USA. It is the Herpes Simplex Virus that gets transmitted through sexual intercourse from one person to another. Both men and women are infected with herpes and the main symptoms of herpes are itching and painful sores in the genitals. Even if a person has no visible sore he can infect virus to others if he carries the virus.
Though there is no cure for genital herpes still medications are available for reducing the intensity of its symptoms. Using condoms is the only way to prevent this infection. Herpes virus gains entry through tiny tears on the skin of the genital organs and travels through the nerve roots finding suitable place in the spinal cord. It can remain dormant for several years and become active when your immunity is lowered. Once the virus becomes active it would again travel to the original site of infection causing painful sores and blisters. Genital herpes is contagious.
Genital Herpes Causes :
Genital herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex Virus-2. The outbreak of this infection will be high if the immunity of the infected person becomes weak due to hormonal imbalance, stress or any other infection. Genital herpes will spread through sexual contact and is highly contagious. And one cannot receive it by sharing towels or using the toilet of the infected person.
HSV-1 is the virus affects your mouth causing cold sores being the symptoms of oral herpes. It will gain entry into the vagina or men’s genital when a person has oral sex with the infected person. More than 50 million people in the America are carriers of genital herpes. Women are more infected than men by HSV since they do not show any symptoms. Most of them will have minimal symptoms like mild itching or no symptoms at all.
Symptoms Of Genital Herpes :
In most of the cases genital herpes will not produce any symptoms and if at all they have symptoms it is only mild. There will be mild itching and pain on the genital area few weeks after sexual contact with the infected person. It takes several weeks or months to develop red blisters or tiny white bumps on the genitals. In some cases it becomes ulcer oozing out foul smelling liquid.
In women blisters can appear on the vagina, buttocks or even anus. In men sores will be seen on the penis and scrotum area apart from anus and buttocks. In addition it may cause inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) and whitish vaginal discharge. In rare cases it will cause pain while urinating. Some people may get flu like symptoms after the initial outbreak of the virus. The symptoms are not the same for all persons. The virus may recur even after months or years. Stress, hormonal imbalance, illness or intake of medications can aggravate the symptoms.
The virus becomes dormant during the incubation period which may be for 3-7 days. The initial symptoms are observed only after two weeks causing itching of the genitals and redness of the skin. There is every chance for the infected person to spread the virus to others even though he/she has no symptoms.
Who Are At Risk ?
Being a women and having many sex partners increases the risk of genital herpes. Apart from genital herpes you are inviting risk for getting other sexually transmitted diseases. Pregnant women have increased chance to transmit the infection to the fetus causing more complications for the newborn. Painful sores can cause inflammation of the cervix and urethra making it difficult to urinate and pass stools. In rare cases, this infection can travel to your brain through cerebrospinal fluid causing meningitis.
Tests and Diagnoses :
The symptoms are self sufficient for detecting genital herpes on physical examination of the genitals. Your doctor may request for blood test for detecting the presence of HSV and also viral culture taking the sample tissue from the inflamed area. Some doctors may conduct polymerase chain reaction test for detecting the genetic material of the virus.
Treatment can be given only for reducing the intensity of the symptoms. Medications are given for healing the ulcer/sores in the genital area. It would also prevent further occurrence of the virus. Taking strong drugs in the initial stage will reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other partners.
Mostly, doctors will give antiviral drugs like Acyclovir, Famvir or Valacyclovir for treating genital herpes. In case of severe symptoms the infected person will be hospitalized to give antiviral drugs intravenously. All the treatment given for genital herpes can reduce the symptoms and prevent further infection. It would also reduce the duration of the outbreaks.
Usually the first episode will be severe and recurring episodes would be mild causing mild discomfort. In case of suspicion you need to take antiviral medications before 24 hours of initial outbreak. You can start using the drug if you feel sudden tingling sensation or indication of formation of sores in the genital area after having sexual contact with some person.
You need to tell your partner once you are detected with genital herpes. It is for the safety of your partner that you should communicate with him/her. Instead of putting the blame on others you have to take steps for preventing further infection.
Pictures of Genital Herpes :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Genital Herpes
- Avoid having sexual contact with multiple partners and unknown persons.
- Having pain or sore or blisters on the genital area is clearly an indication of carrying infected virus.
- Abstain from sex until you are completely cured.
- Practice safe sex and insist that your partner uses condom.
- Avoid touching the eyes or mouth after touching the infected genitals that carry blisters.
- During outbreaks it is essential to wash your hands frequently.
- Restrain from having any sort of sexual activities (including kissing or oral sex) once you have spotted initial blisters and avoid having sex until the blisters are healed completely.
Very often the outbreaks of genital herpes recur. For some it can be 1-2 outbreaks during a year but for others it can be more than 8 outbreaks also.