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Genital Herpes: Symptoms, Causes, and treatment

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Jul 14, 2019

   2 min     

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Overview

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. There is no cure for genital herpes, but medicines can ease symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting others

What are the symptoms of Genital Herpes?

People infected with herpes simplex virus don’t know they have it because they don’t have any symptoms. The symptoms may begin about 2 to 12 days after the exposure to the virus. The symptoms of genital herpes include:

  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Small red bumps or tiny white blisters
  • Ulcers
  • Scabs

When the infection enters the body, sores appear. The infection can be spread by touching a sore and then rubbing or scratching another area of the body. Sore can develop on buttocks and thighs, anus, mouth, urethra. Women can develop sores in or on the vaginal area, external genitals, and cervix. Men can also develop sores in or on the penis and scrotum.

What are the causes of Genital Herpes?

There are two types of herpes simplex virus which cause genital herpes:

HSV-1: It usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. HSV-1 usually spread through skin to skin contact, but it can be spread to the genital area during oral sex.

HSV-2: It commonly causes genital herpes, and it spreads through sexual contact and skin to skin contact. It is highly contagious.

How is Genital Herpes diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose genital herpes by doing a physical exam and a few laboratory tests:

Viral culture: It involves taking a tissue sample of the sores for examination in the laboratory.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test: It is done to test your DNA to determine the presence of HSV and its type.

Blood test: A blood sample is taken to analyze the presence of HSV antibodies to detect past herpes infection.

How is genital herpes treated?

There is no cure for genital herpes. The doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to:

  • Heal sores sooner during an initial outbreak
  • Reduce the severity and duration of symptoms in recurrent outbreaks
  • Reduce the frequency of recurrence
  • Minimize the chance of transmitting the herpes virus to another

How can you prevent Genital Herpes?

You can prevent genital herpes by:

  • Abstaining sexual contact to only one person
  • Using protection during every sexual contact
  • Avoiding sex if either partner has an outbreak of herpes in the genital area or anywhere else.
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