Genital Herpes Treatment

Nov 28, 2011 No Comments by

Currently there is no cure for genital herpes. Treatment goals for this viral disease are to provide relief from the symptoms, which can include painful sores, and to shorten the ten to fifteen days it typically takes for an outbreak to heal.

A secondary treatment goal would be to lengthen the time between outbreaks or help genital herpes sufferers go outbreak free for increasingly long periods of time.

In treating each outbreak it has been found that the earlier the treatment begins the more effective it will be in relieving symptoms and shortening healing. This is very important for those who suffer from recurrent outbreaks, or those that have symptoms again and again.

Primary Outbreak Treatment

The primary or first outbreak of genital herpes is typically the most severe as your body hasn’t manufactured anti-bodies to fight the viral infection. If you realize that you have genital herpes the earlier you seek treatment the better.

Many of those recently infected with the disease will get relief and recover faster from the primary outbreak if they take antiviral medication. This medication will help speed the healing of blisters and sores, and can relieve symptoms of pain, headache, muscle aches, and more.

The antiviral medicines recommended for the treatment of primary genital herpes outbreaks include:

  • Acyclovir or Zovirax
  • Famciclovir or Famvir
  • Valacyclovir or Valtrex

It is important to note that while antiviral medicine can decrease the amount of time it takes for this first outbreak to heal, it will not prevent recurrence of the disease. At this time there is no cure for herpes. Antiviral medications may also lesson the amount of time that you are contagious and can spread the infection.

To treat the pain, fever, and other flu-like symptoms that can occur with genital herpes the nonprescription drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen are typically recommended.

Sufferers may also elect to use home treatments such as a warm sitz bath using Epsom salts to relieve the pain and itching in the genital area. They should make sure to pat the skin dry and wear loose cotton underwear to allow the herpes sores to heal.

If you have symptoms and signs of genital herpes you should avoid all sexual contact during an outbreak or flare up in order to prevent the spread of this viral disease.

Recurring Outbreak Treatment

Treatment of recurring outbreaks will likely be dependant on the severity of the outbreak, how long they take to heal, and how often they occur. If the outbreaks are severe, take several weeks to heal, and occur often, then the sufferer may elect to take antiviral medication for treatment or your doctor may recommend this treatment.

Taking an antiviral medicine can reduce the healing time for the genital herpes ulcers, just as it did with the primary outbreak. This medicine may also prevent some outbreaks and can decrease the possibility of transmitting genital herpes to any sexual partner.

There are two ways that genital herpes sufferers can use antiviral medications. They can take an antiviral medicine every day, or on an as needed bases.

Those who take an antiviral medication every day are trying to reduce frequency of recurrent outbreaks and shorten the amount of time the outbreak takes to heal. For those that have many outbreaks a year the use of a daily antiviral may be able to reduce the number of outbreaks by one or two episodes a year. There have been studies done that show those who take a daily dose of valacyclovir, and are in a single partner, monogamous relationship—may cut the risk in half of infecting their partner. Other antiviral medicine may do the same thing with a daily dose but have yet to be studied and proven.

Those who have prodromal symptoms and learn to recognize this tingling and pain as precursors to an episode may decide to take an antiviral medication when they feel a recurrent outbreak starting. An as needed basis means that the antiviral is a higher dose taken for two to three days instead of a lower dose taken every day.

Natural Treatment for Genital Herpes

Natural treatment at home may be the treatment of choice for those who have genital herpes outbreaks that don’t occur very often and are not very severe. Those taking antiviral medications may also want to add some of the natural remedies to their treatment regime. These treatments focus on relieving symptoms, may help reduce the risk of new outbreaks, and provide ways to cope with a condition that has no cure.

Natural treatments include:

  • Sitz baths which are warm baths with Epsom salt added to the water. You sit in the bath until the water is cool, soaking the sores and blisters. Be careful to pat dry afterward and not wipe. You can take the baths three to four times a day, or wash the area several times a day with warm water and pat dry. For comfort you can even use a hair dryer to blow yourself dry instead of using a towel.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes if you have an active outbreak. Cotton underwear is better than synthetic due to the absorbency of the material.
  • Use nonprescription medicines like Advil and Tylenol to lesson the pain and fever.

Stress and illness can increase the frequency and severity of genital herpes outbreaks, as can overexposure to sun. Learn what triggers your genital herpes and take measures to avoid of lesson your exposure to these triggers. You can exercise and eat right to increase the strength of your immune system. Avoid stress, fatigue, and any irritation to the genital area.

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