Encyclopedia

Genital herpes

What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is a widespread highly infectious disease caused by a virus that affects the skin on and around the genitals.

The infection is transmitted through sexual contact. Genital herpes causes vesicles or small open sores on the skin on and around the genitals. This disease cannot be cured.

However, there are medications available to treat outbreaks of infection and minimize symptoms.

The clinical condition is so common because it is highly contagious. Carriers can transmit the causative virus without having symptoms of overt infection. 1 in every 6 people aged 14-49 is a carrier of the HSV-2 virus.

What are the symptoms?

The initial symptoms usually appear 3 to 7 days after sexual contact with the infected person.

Manifest forms of the infection are small vesicles or small sores on the genitals. The blister or sore is 1 to 3 mm in size.

Usually the vesicles form first, followed by sores. In most cases, sores and vesicles are painless.

Location of genital herpes

  • In men, the lesions usually appear on or around the penis.
  • In women, the lesions may be visible outside the vagina, but they are often seen inside the vagina, where they can cause discomfort. or vaginal discharge and are not visible unless examined by a doctor.
  • Vesicles and sores can form anywhere in the area around the perineum and in and around the anus.

Initial onset of infection with the HSV-2 virus

The initial infection is the most painful and may last longer than if it reoccurs later. Symptoms last 2 to 4 weeks.

Some people develop other symptoms when infected with the HSV-2 virus, especially during the initial infection:

  • Fever;
  • Muscle aches;
  • Headache, which can be -strong;
  • Vaginal discharge or painful urination;
  • Swollen and sensitive lymph nodes in the groin. They swell because the body is trying to fight the infection.

Recurrence of the HSV-2 virus infection

If the disease recurs, the symptoms of re-infection are much milder.

Most people with recurrent disease experience pain and numbness at the site of infection before the lesions appear.

This is due to the irritation and inflammation of the nerves leading to the infected skin area. This is a sign of a recurrence of the disease.

The reinfected person is highly infected at the time before the sores and blisters appear, although the skin appears normal.

Genital Herpes Treatment

Treating genital herpes (HSV-2) can be challenging, but following a few important steps and lifestyle changes can help manage the condition and reduce the symptoms.

Remember that there is no cure for herpes, but with the right care you can keep the infection under control and improve your quality of life.

  • Personal hygiene: Keep the area clean and dry. Gently clean the affected areas with lukewarm water and a mild, fragrance-free soap. Avoid using perfumed soaps, shower gels and lotions that can irritate the skin.
  • Clothing and fabrics: Wear cotton clothes that allow the skin to breathe and reduce friction. Avoid sports and synthetic fabrics that can trap moisture and increase irritation.
  • Beware of tight clothing that can irritate the infection.
  • Avoid exposure to the sun and heat: Herpes can be activated by the sun and heat. Protect affected areas from direct sunlight and avoid long periods of sun exposure.
  • Use of antivirals: In cases of frequent flare-ups or severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines such as acyclovir or valacyclovir. These medications can reduce the duration and severity of flare-ups.
  • Support and manage stress: Stress can help activate the herpes virus. Practicing stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing can be helpful. Pay attention to your mental and emotional well-being and consult a psychologist or psychiatrist if you need support.
  • Sexual relations: Avoid sexual activities during an active flare-up and use condoms , to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your partner.
  • Following treatment: If your doctor prescribes antiviral medication, follow their instructions and complete the full course of treatment, even if the symptoms subside before then.
  • Physician Consultation: Always consult a doctor about the optimal management of genital herpes and any changes in your condition.

Following these guidelines and working with your doctor can help control genital herpes and maintain better health. There are no guarantees that you won’t have new flare-ups, but you can reduce their frequency and intensity.

How to protect ourselves?

People with open outbreaks of genital herpes are highly contagious. When there are outbreaks, that is, sores or blisters on the genitals, all sexual contact should be avoided.

Even using a condom does not prevent the spread of the disease, as not all open wounds are covered by a condom.

Although the likelihood of the disease spreading is greatest when there are open sores or blisters, people who have had open outbreaks of HSV-2 infection remain contagious even after starting medication.

The virus is active and can infect an uninfected sexual partner even if the skin looks normal. In this case, when there are no open wounds or blisters, sexual contact should be carried out with a condom.

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