Genital herpes is essentially a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by HSV or the herpes simplex virus infection. Two kinds of HSV exists; HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is associated most commonly with cold sores, which are blistering lesions all around the mouth. HSV-2 comes with blistering lesions around the genital areas, exposed during sex. However, both kinds of HSV have the capacity to infect either the genital areas or the mouth.
After the initial herpes outbreak, the virus moves through the nerves and dwells in the nerve tissue in the body. Repeated outbreaks of the blisters or re-activation can take place throughout the lifetime of the infected individual. As much as 50 million individuals in the United States are likely to be infected with genital herpes. Among individuals aged between 14 and 49 years, an estimated 1 in every 6 individuals have the infection.
Causes of Genital Herpes
The viruses get into the mucous membrane or skin through the tiny openings in the tissue. Given that an infected individual could pass the disease on even when he or she is not having herpes signs or symptoms, avoiding sex with an individual who has active blisters is not guaranteed protection against herpes.
Symptoms of Genital Herpes
A number of infected individuals have mild symptoms or symptoms that are erroneously identified as another clinical condition. Additionally, it is possible to have the infection without experiencing any symptoms at all. Genital herpes symptoms typically consist of aching blisters around the rectal or genital area. Then there is an outbreak of the blisters, ulcers are formed and they take between 2 and 4 weeks to heal. During the initial genital herpes outbreak, an individual could experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes and body aches. Right before an outbreak, the individual may experience an itching, tingling or burning sensation.
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Genital herpes in women typically results in blistering lesions around the opening of the vagina and on the vulva that progress to the formation of ulcers. Then the infection, in most cases, spreads to involve the cervix, leading to inflammation of the cervix, which is known as cervicitis. In a number of women, cervicitis could be the only sign of the infection. Some women also experience inflammation and infection of the urethra, resulting in painful urination. Following the initial infection, individuals usually have outbreaks at different points in their lives.
There is no cure for genital herpes and when an individual becomes infected, the infection continues throughout her life, with the possibility for recurrent occurrences. However, medications are available that can decrease the frequency and severity of the outbreaks; and there are treatment methods to control the symptoms.
Zovirax™, Valtrex™ and Famvir™ are all oral medications that are most commonly used to treat the symptoms of genital herpes. In cases of viral infections that are considered severe, antiviral medications may be intravenously administered to the infected individual; however, this is not a typical treatment for genital herpes. Another form of treatment involves the direct application of topical ointments to the sores.