Genital herpes is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease. The cause is a strain of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. HSV affects both men and women. There's no cure for this recurrent infection, which may cause embarrassment and emotional distress. Having genital herpes is no reason to avoid sex or give up on relationships though. Open communication with your partner or potential partner is important.
- It is caused by two types of herpes simplex viruses. Those are HSV1 and HSV2.
- HSV1 is the type that usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth, though it can be spread to your genital area during oral sex.
- HSV2 is the type that commonly causes genital herpes. The virus spreads through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact.
- Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.
- It can be spread from one part of the body to another, such as from the genitals to the fingers, to the eyes or other parts of the body.
- Herpes can also be spread from a mother to her baby when she gives birth.
- In males, herpes sores or lesions usually appear on or around the penis.
- In females, herpes sores are around the vagina. Most probably these are inside the vagina and create lot of problem. These cannot be seen except during a doctor's examination.
- Once exposed to the virus, there is an incubation period that generally lasts 3 to 7 days before a lesion develops. During this time, there are no symptoms and the virus cannot be transmitted to others.
- While you have ulcers, it may be painful to urinate. You may also experience pain and tenderness in your genital area until the infection clears.
- Although there is no known cure for herpes, there are treatments for the outbreaks.
- There are oral medications, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, or valacyclovir that prevent the virus from multiplying and even shorten the length of the eruption.
- Avoid excessive heat or sunlight, which makes the irritation more uncomfortable.
- Do not use deodorants or perfumes or antibacterial soap.
- Wear more comfortable, loose cotton clothing. Cool cloths on the affected area may soothe the pain.
- Topical antibiotic ointments also may be applied to prevent secondary bacterial infections.
- Wash hands every time you do touch the sores.
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