Herpes……that ONE diagnoses you HATE telling patients they have……
I honestly feel as if I’m diagnosing at least one person with this on a weekly basis, which lets you know that it’s a lot more common than you think…..
While there is nothing FUN about herpes……here’s what I think you need to know……
1. Herpes is a virus…..most of you have heard of HSV(Herpes Simplex Virus) types 1 and 2.
Once upon a time we used to think HSV type 1 was only associated with oral herpes; cold sores……… and that HSV type 2 was only associated with genital herpes…..NOT TRUE! You can have either type of herpes in either location; i.e., HSV1 can cause both oral and genital lesions as can HSV2.
2. THE ONLY sure-fire way to prevent acquisition is to avoid having sex with someone who is infected. Herpes transmission occurs because the herpes virus is transmitted in bodily fluids contained in herpetic lesions….contact with such lesions leads to viral spread.
Of note, while the greatest risk of transmission occurs with the presence of active lesions, herpes can still be transmitted even in the absence of obvious lesions.
Herpes is herpes. I recently had a patient who contracted herpes from her partner who had an active cold sore. He didn’t think she could get it that way…Boy was he wrong. Cold sores can be spread easily, so it’s no wonder that this active cold sore infected the boy’s girlfriend too. Whilst there are no treatments for this, there are medicines from companies like Quantum Health that look to ease the effects of the cold sore and make them more manageable. Hopefully, that will make it easier to avoid spreading this infection.
3. Genital Herpes symptoms vary…..most of the time folks don’t even realize they have it; ofttimes confusing a herpetic lesion with “an ingrown hair”, or a pimple. Initial outbreaks can be preceded by “flu-like” symptoms of general malaise, muscle soreness/pain. Lymphadenopathy or tender lymph nodes in the inguinal(groin)region is also very common.
Feeling or seeing sores, blisters, or vesicle-like lesions in or on the vagina/vulva is commonly the tip off! Complaints of pain from urination resulting from the urine hitting the open lesions, or extreme pain from sitting down are common signs/symptoms.
4. Genital Herpes Diagnosis……obtaining a culture of the open lesion is the gold standard, though painful at best. Talk about someone hitting the roof…….herpetic lesions are exquisitely painful to touch….
I don’t routinely do blood work testing for the presence of HSV type 1 and 2 antibodies as anyone who has had even a cold sore will come back positive for one of the serotypes. In my opinion, this does nothing but cloud the picture and confuse the patient. Genital herpes is best diagnosed by obtaining a culture from an active lesion.
5. The first outbreak is usually the worst. Subsequent outbreaks of genital herpes are generally shorter and less severe.
THERE IS NO CURE for herpes! Genital herpes outbreaks are treated with antiviral medications such as Valtrex 500mg price in india or Acyclovir.
Treatment is offered in the form of suppressive or prophylactic therapy. Suppressive therapy is taken on a daily basis and helps to decrease transmission as well as recurrences. Prophylactic therapy is taken only when an outbreak occurs. Determining which treatment regimen is best for you is a decision best made after consulting with your physician.
Herpes…..one of many STI’s out there…….where there is one, you’ll likely find others. When entering a new sexual relationship, obtaining a thorough sexual history is PARAMOUNT. Remember, if you don’t know, “YOU BETTER ASK SOMEBODY”!
Hoping this blog post adds value to your day!
Until next time,
Look Better. Feel Better. Be Better.
Mother, Midwesterner, and award-winning OB/GYN, Dr. Angela is equal parts best girlfriend and bold professional, supporting women’s health with innovative approaches to care and heavy doses of humor. Dr. Angela has done more than launch a successful practice, she has defined herself as a voice for a new generation of womanhood, established her ASK DR. ANGELA brand committed to authenticity, and built a community rooted in trust, candor, and compassion.