Genital Herpes Treatment

Herpes infection is caused by herpes simplex virus (also referred to as HSV). It is a sexually transmitted disease. There may be no signs or symptoms in the early course of infection, but some patients may experience varying degree of pain, appearance of sores and itching in the genital region during the course of illness. Genital herpes is contagious. Once you get infected the virus multiplies almost instantaneously. In many people, the virus continues to maintain its existence in a state of dormancyafter initial infection which might cause flaring or reactivation of virus weeks or months later. Although, there is no curative treatment so far, a number of pharmacological options are available to control the symptomatology.

Are There Any Treatments for Genital Herpes?

In many cases genital herpes remains unresponsive for several years. It may not show any symptoms for months after initial infection, which is why infected individual may not even realize that he/she is harboring the virus. Unfortunately, since the major transmission route is sexual contact, it is likely that an asymptomatic person pass on the infection to healthy sexual partners.

Symptomatic individuals develop few characteristic symptoms such as appearance of painful sores around the genitals, mostly around the anal opening. These sores appear as outbreaks and may recur at periodic intervals.

If you are experiencing one or more of these issues such as sores, pain and itching, you must consult your doctor at earliest convenience. Clinically, herpes is usually diagnosed via swab test or serology (blood sampling) in some cases. Medical evaluation is important so that your doctor can guide you about functional therapeutic solutions to manage your symptoms. In addition, you can also get valuable tips to optimally manage your sex life.

1. Antiviral Medications

Despite extensive medical research, so far there is no curative therapy to completely cure the herpes simplex infection. Up till now, anti-viral agents are the most promising therapy because these prescription agents are highly potent at restricting the multiplication of virus. If appropriate therapy and dosing regimen is used, the episodic outbreak of sores can be adequately managed. Antivirals also deceases the chances of recurrence of sores. These agents are also used because they help in minimizing the chances of transmitting the infectious viral products to sexual contacts.

Some of the most popular and highly recommended anti-viral drugs are:

  • Acyclovir
  • Valacyclovir
  • Famciclovir

2. Episodic Treatment

Episodic treatment is ideally advised to patients soon after the onset of initial symptoms of herpes infection such as pain and itching. Episodic treatment helps a great deal in eliminating the sores and also plays a vital role in preventing the risk of recurrence. Medical evaluation by a registered doctor becomes necessary as soon as you observe the symptoms. Episodic treatment largely comprises of antiviral agents with a quick onset of action.

3. Suppressive Treatment

Antiviral medications can be consumed as suppressive therapy to prevent the recurrent attacks. This type of regimen comprises of medications that are consumed on daily basis. The aim of therapy is to help in reducing the frequency of outbreaks. Use of condoms or other methods of physical barriers during sexual intercourse also plays a significant role in the suppressive treatment. The doctor will guide how to use antivirals for a longer period of time without increasing the risk of dose-associated systemic side effects. Usually suppressive treatment is not given if the frequency of outbreaks is less than 6 times per year.

What Can You Do to Treat Genital Herpes at Home?

Following measures are taken for relieving the symptoms without requiring prescription pharmacological agents:

  • Use of analgesics such as aspirin to reduce the pain.
  • Use of cold packs for relieving itching.
  • Urinating in water-baths or in showers to avoid sore pain exceptionally helpful for females who have active sores on the labial lips.

Following measures can also be taken to promote the healing of sores:

  • Hygiene maintenance of sores, washing properly than pat dry.
  • Do not leave it moist, as this may increase the risk of fungal infection.
  • Avoid sore picking.
  • Do not use any medicated cream without seeking consultation or advice from your primary care provider.
  • You can apply Vaseline or a local anesthetic ointment such as lidocaine to reduce the pain.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.

You may watch a video to learn some home remedies to deal with genital herpes: 

Ways to Reduce Outbreaks

Following measures are advised by healthcare providers to reduce the outbreaks of herpes simplex virus:

  • Maintain your sleep pattern which adequately helps in boost your immune system naturally.
  • Add fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet that are rich in antioxidants and vital nutrients. Micronutrients also help in enhancing natural immunity.
  • Keep yourself stress free.
  • Protect yourself from extreme conditions such as extreme cold temperature or high temperature.

When to See a Doctor

Consultation to the doctor becomes necessary when:

  • You are experiencing any side effects from the medications prescribed.
  • Frequent episodes of genital soring or outbreaks of herpes that compromises the quality of your life or relationships.
  • If the sores are getting worse even after taking medications and self-care.

This disease in many cases does not show any symptoms so it becomes difficult to identify whether the person is carrying this virus or not. Self-care and proper consultation with the doctor helps in regaining the quality of life.

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