How to cure Genital Herpes?
Currently, genital herpes is the first most common disease among all the sexually transmitted infections. Virus carriers are over 90% of all the people in the world.
Herpes simplex virus belongs to the DNA-viruses and resides only inside the cells, replicating in epithelial cells and human nervous system. There are two major types of the virus affecting a human: HSV-1 and HSV-2.
HSV-1 strain develops on the mucous and skin of the eyes and other organs. The causative agent of genital herpes is HSV-2.
Finding its way to a human body once, the virus remains there for a very long time or forever, relapsing from time to time.
How genital herpes can be transmitted?
Routes of transmitting genital herpes :
- sexual contacts (the virus may be transferred from a person with evident genital herpes symptoms and from a partner without any clinical presentation, i.e. from the carrier);
- oral sex (the risk is equally high for both partners);
- autoinfection (transfer of the infection from the oral mucous to the genitals or vice versa);
- transplacentally (through amniotic membranes a pregnant woman may infect the fetus);
- infection of a newborn baby during a natural delivery;
- via contact (through direct contact with body fluids which is a very rare case).
What causes the symptoms of genital herpes :
- low immune protection;
- rapid change of temperature (most often excessive heat loss);
- mental strains;
- hypovitaminosis and avitaminosis;
- addictions (smoking, alcohol);
- caffeine abuse;
- menstrual cycle disturbances in women;
Mechanism of development and incubation period of genital herpes
Incubation period of the disease may last from one day to two weeks. In some cases, entering the human body, herpes simplex virus may reside there in a latent state.
HSV-2 makes its way to the human body through nerve fibers, moving forward to the ganglia (nodules) and rests there. Thus, the type of the virus is localized in the sacral part of spinal cord. Additionally, the virus is diagnosed in biological human fluids and the skin.
Primary affection and genital herpes relapse are distinguished. In the first case, a clinical presentation is evident and lasts for a long time. Recurrent genital herpes occurs because of a regular virus migration from the nerves to the skin and is characterized by mild symptoms.
Symptoms of primary genital herpes in men
- the foreskin;
- penis glans;
- urinary tract;
- groin area;
- anal orifice area;
- inner thigh.
The signs of genital herpes are characterized by a rash. Morphological elements of the rash look like blisters located on the red and swollen skin. Rash presents a group of spots. Among subjective sensations are burning and intensive itching sometimes causing pain.
Further development of genital herpes in men relates to the breaking of the blisters which burst and erosion occurs. In some cases, rash gets dried out and brown or yellow crust appears. Then it is rejected and tissue epithelialization is observed.
For herpetic urethritis the following symptoms are characteristic:
- scanty discharge (in genital herpes the discharge is serous or mucous);
- erosive mucous of the urinary tract;
- groups of blisters (rarely).
Sometimes urethra discharge may become purulent. The causes of such progress of genital herpes is accompanied bacterial pathology. In these cases, the duration of acute episode lasts longer and treatment is more difficult.
Clinical manifestation of genital herpes in women
- vagina and vaginal vestibule;
- urethral orifice;
- vulvar lips;
- crotch and pelvic area;
- anal area and buttocks;
- inner thigh;
- uterus (most often the cervix);
- throat (after oral sex).
Symptoms of genital herpes in women are the same as in men but they are milder. The rash is insignificant. Discharge (vaginal, urethral or uterine) is scanty or absent. However if the resistance of the body is very low (in primary and secondary immunodeficiencies, general exhaustion), necrotic process may occur. After oral or genital contacts, the symptoms of genital herpes may develop in the oral cavity, especially on the posterior pharyngeal wall. A clinical presentation of pharyngitis appears which is accompanied by severe pain, necrotic areas and ulcers.
What are the dangers of genital herpes?
Clinical symptoms of herpes usually are not life threatening, but cause physical and psychological discomfort. However in some cases general symptoms of fever and lymph glands injury may appear. Aseptic meningitis is mostly dangerous (serious inflammation of the linings of the brain) as well as transverse myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord).
Symptoms indicating dangerous condition in vaginal herpes :
- headache (reminding of migraine);
- nausea and vomiting;
- stiff neck (it is hard and painful to flex the head onto the chest);
- signs of fever;
- faintness and convulsive disorder;
- sensory feelings disorder (hallucinations may appear);
- unilateral hypomyotonia;
- painful joints.
Clinical representation of a relapse
Secondary symptoms of vaginal herpes are not very evident, the course of disease is mild and does not last long. Relapses relate to two factors:
- additional penetration of HSV-2 when it is already in the body;
- significant immunity decrease.
Types of recurrent herpes:
- arrhythmical (intervals between acute states are varied between two weeks to half a year);
- monotonous (almost equal intervals between frequent acute states);
- remitting (latent period which lasts over 6 months).
Genital herpes in pregnancy and in children
As a rule, over 75% pregnant women are infected with HSV-2. The symptoms relate to the decreased immunity and significant hormonal transformations. It was also confirmed that excessive insolation also favors the development of genital herpes in pregnancy.
Dangers of genital herpes in pregnancy (the worst consequences occur when a woman was infected already being pregnant):
- fetus infection;
- premature delivery;
- intrauterine growth retardation;
- injuries of internal parts of a woman’s body.
Genital herpes in newborn babies occurs very rarely. However there is still a risk of infection with life-threatening consequences.
Consequences of genital herpes in babies:
- death (over 60% of newborns);
- mental retardation;
- organic brain syndrome;
- CNS disorders.
The first symptoms in babies appear in some days after the birth and it is a rash developed into blisters. The baby becomes restless, it has fever and loss of appetite. The first thing to do in this case is to visit a doctor.
Genital herpes diagnosis
A material for the laboratory tests is penile discharge, affected skin smears and blood sample for a serological test.
Criteria for diagnosis:
- A test for genital herpes implying HSV-2 detection in cells of the sample;
- Indirect immunofluorescence response aimed at detecting virus antigens;
- Polymerase chain reaction identifies herpes DNA in a collected sample;
- Staining for the Tzank test enables to identify multinucleate giant cells in the smears;
- Enzyme immunoassay to detect immunoglobulins M and G.
Unfortunately, therapy does not release a person from the virus as it is localised in the nerve cells and medications have very little effect.
The disease is characterized by relapses and chronic condition, for this reason the following medications are used for genital herpes treatment :
Physiotherapeutic treatment is also indicated.
The most effective etiotropic agent for genital herpes treatment is acyclovir . It is used for topical treatment and systemic treatment.
Advantages of using acyclovir in genital herpes treatment are:
- high penetrating efficiency into cells;
- minimal accumulation in tissues;
- it is not addictive;
- it is not toxic;
- effective impact on the virus.
This drug is used for treating genital herpes in pregnancy and in newborn babies. It is also indicated for preventing relapses. The dosage and method of administration are decided in every individual case.
If HSV-2 is accompanied by other bacterial and viral sexually transmitted infections, before using the drugs to treat genital herpes , it is necessary to cure the secondary pathology.
Immunomodulators are indicated for the patients with decreased immunity to inhibit the viral propagation. Cycloferon is a such medication indicated for patients with genital herpes .
Some additional medications and methods to ease the symptoms of genital herpes are:
- aloe-based medications;
- infusions (to relieve intoxication in severe conditions).
- Prevention of relapses
As relapses are related to the decreased resistance of the body to infections, it is recommended to pay special attention to the healthy life style, healthy diet, physical training and getting rid of bad habits. It is also critically important to visit a doctor and maintain a compensatory level of chronic pathologies.
- Prevention of infections
Condoms are the most effective method of contraception against sexually transmitted infections, however a condom will not protect you against HSV-2 as the disease is localized not only in the genitals. To avoid the infection, have a safe sex life with one partner to whom you can trust.
- Emergency prevention
In case with unprotected intercourse and in other situations with a high risk of being infected with HSV, apply the genital herpes ointment herpferon. It does not guarantee total destruction but it helps to minimize the risk of infection.