Genital Herpes

Also called: Herpes genitalis

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can cause sores on your genital or rectal area, buttocks, and thighs. You can get it from having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has it. The virus can spread even when sores are not present. Mothers can also infect their babies during childbirth.

Symptoms of herpes are called outbreaks. You usually get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. The sores are blisters which break and become painful, and then heal. Sometimes people do not know they have herpes because they have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. The virus can be more serious in newborn babies or in people with weak immune systems.

Repeat outbreaks are common, especially during the first year. Over time, you get them less often and the symptoms become milder. The virus stays in your body for life.

There are tests that can diagnose genital herpes. There is no cure. However, medicines can help lessen symptoms, decrease outbreaks, and lower the risk of passing the virus to others. Correct usage of latex condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading herpes.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Symptoms of Genital Herpes

The following features are indicative of Genital Herpes:
  • pain and tenderness in the genital area
  • small red bumps
  • tiny white blisters
  • ulcers
  • scabs
It is possible that Genital Herpes shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Genital Herpes

The following are the most common causes of Genital Herpes:
  • herpes Simplex Virus -1
  • herpes Simplex Virus -2

Risk Factors for Genital Herpes

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Genital Herpes:
  • being women
  • having multiple sex partners

Prevention of Genital Herpes

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Genital Herpes. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • use a latex condom during every sexual contact
  • avoid intercourse if either partner has an outbreak of herpes in the genital area or anywhere else

Occurrence of Genital Herpes

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Genital Herpes cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Genital Herpes most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-50 years

Common Gender

Genital Herpes can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Genital Herpes

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Genital Herpes:
  • Viral culture: To test the tissue sample
  • Polymerase chain reaction test: To establish the presence of HSV and determine which type of HSV you have
  • Blood test: To check for the presence of HSV antibodies to detect a past herpes infection

Doctor for Diagnosis of Genital Herpes

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Genital Herpes:
  • Gynaecologist

Complications of Genital Herpes if untreated

Yes, Genital Herpes causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Genital Herpes is left untreated:
  • other sexually transmitted infections
  • newborn infection
  • bladder problems
  • meningitis
  • rectal inflammation

Self-care for Genital Herpes

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Genital Herpes:
  • Limit sexual contact to only one person: Helps in preventing genital herpes

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Genital Herpes

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Genital Herpes:
  • Apply ice packs to the affected area: Helps in relieving symptoms and lowering the frequency of recurrence

Patient Support for Treatment of Genital Herpes

The following actions may help Genital Herpes patients:
  • Communicate with your partner: Talk to your partner about the disease
  • Get educatied about the disease: Learn how to live with this disease and reduce the chances of infection
  • Join a support group: Join a support group online to learn about other's experiences

Time for Treatment of Genital Herpes

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Genital Herpes to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 1 - 4 weeks

Is Genital Herpes Infectious?

Yes, Genital Herpes is known to be infectious. It can spread across people via the following means:
  • sexual contact
  • skin to skin contacts

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Genital Herpes.
Herpes Simplex
Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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