What is Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes is a disease caused by the infection with the herpes simplex virus. The virus has two ramifications, namely HSV-1 and HSV-2, the latter being the subtype which leads to genital herpes. Even though genital herpes can also be caused by the infection with HSV-1, the cases are rare.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
The symptoms of genital herpes can vary from mild to extremely rough. The mild symptoms include soreness and itching of the genital area, symptoms which may point to various other less significant infections. In fact, patients who present such symptoms have the tendency not to take them seriously, and therefore do not know that they are infected with the herpes virus.
Sometimes, the symptoms of genital herpes can be more pronounced. The disease causes small blisters to form in the genital area. These blisters may be more or less painful, depending on the patient. In women, the lesions may form inside the vagina. In this case, these signs of infection are not noticeable. However, they will cause abnormal vaginal discharges and a state of great discomfort in the patient.
In some cases, an outbreak of genital herpes can be accompanied by fever or migraines.
How is Genital Herpes transmitted?
HSV-2 can be transmitted through unsafe sexual contacts. Many people are not aware of their infection and they can spread the virus to their partner or partners. Even if a person has been treated for genital herpes, the virus will still be present in the organism and it can be transmitted to others through unprotected sex.
About 20% of the cases of genital herpes are caused by an HSV-1 infection. Even though the percentage is low, it is important to know how this ramification of the herpes virus is transmitted. HSV-1 is usually transmitted through saliva or through direct contact with the infected area. An intimate contact often involves kissing and the virus can easily be spread out in this way.
Testing and Diagnosis for Genital Herpes
If you notice any signs which may indicate genital herpes or if you have had a recent unprotected sexual contact, you should seek the opinion of a specialist. If you do not get a proper diagnosis, you put both yourself and your partner at risk.
Inform your doctor about your suspicion of genital herpes immediately. He will perform a thorough consultation and make a diagnosis. In order to find out if you are infected, the doctor will first take a look at the lesions. Their shape, size and placement will give him an indication about their cause, which may or may not be the herpes simplex virus. Furthermore, your doctor may collect a sample from the lesions, or in the case of women, a sample of vaginal discharge, and analyze it.
A diagnosis can also be made through blood tests. The blood sample collected from the patient will be analyzed in order to detect any HSV antibodies.
Cures and Treatments for Genital Herpes
Many people believe that a genital herpes treatment also involves the annihilation of the virus. This is, unfortunately, not the case. Only the external lesions caused by HSV can be treated, but the virus cannot be eliminated from the body.
The lesions can be removed with the help of unguents or antiviral drugs. The pain associated with genital herpes can be relieved with analgesics such as aspirin or ibuprofen, which are also known to be efficient against fever. In order to make the lesions heal quicker, the patient should avoid wearing tight or synthetic underwear and should not use his regular personal hygiene products, since they may contain harmful ingredients. Instead, the patient can use soaps with neuter PH, but only at the recommendation of the doctor.
Remember that if you are a carrier of HSV or genital herpes, you should always use protection during sex in order to prevent the infection from spreading around.