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Herpes Symptoms Causes and Treatment
What is the herpes simplex virus?
Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus affects the skin of the external genitalia, the area of the anus, mucous surfaces, and other parts of the body. HSV is spread through skin contact with infected sites, most often during vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and kissing. HSV causes painful itchy blisters or sores that sometimes come and sometimes go away. Many people with herpes do not notice the sores or treat them as something else, so they do not know they are infected. You can spread herpes even when you do not experience any symptoms. HSV is a long-term problem. However, many people do not have symptoms even after the virus is present. Symptoms include blisters, ulcers, pain when urinating, mouth sores, and vaginal discharge. Although there is no cure for herpes, medicines and home remedies can be used to treat it.
Types of Herpes
How many types of herpes are there?
HSV infection is classified into the following two types –
HSV-type 1 (HSV-1)
It creates sores around the mouth and lips. Sometimes they are also called “cold sores”. HSV-type 1 is spread through oral secretions or sores on the skin. It can be spread through toothbrushes, eating utensils, and kissing or sharing objects.
HSV-type 2 (HSV-2, or genital HSV)
In HSV-2, sores may occur around the genitals or rectum of an infected person. Although HSV-2 lesions can occur in other locations as well, these lesions are usually found below the groin.
In general, you can become infected with HSV-2 during sexual contact with someone infected with HSV-2. Pregnant women with the HSV should speak to a doctor, as it is passed to the baby during childbirth.
Symptoms of Herpes
What are the symptoms of HSV?
The following are some related to this virus –
- Blisters or sores (in the mouth or on the genitals).
- Pain in urinating
- You may also have symptoms similar to the flu. These symptoms are as follows –
- Inflammation of the lymph glands.
- Loss of appetiteHSV can sometimes spread to the eyes, which is called herpes keratitis. This can cause symptoms such as eye pain, leakage, and a gritty feeling in the eyes. It is important to understand that a person can be infected with the virus even if they do not have visible sores or symptoms, and they can also transmit the virus to others.
Causes of HSV
Why does herpes happen?
If the virus is present on the surface of the skin of an infected person, it can easily be passed on to another person through moist skin, which is around the mouth, anus, and genitals.
Infection can occur in the following ways –
- Having vaginal or anal sex without a condom.
- Having oral sex with a person suffering from mouth ulcers.
- Sharing sex toys.
Coming into genital contact with an infected person.
The virus is more likely to spread when the blister has not formed when it appears and until it is completely healed. The virus can be transmitted to another person even when there are no visible symptoms, although this is less likely.
If a woman has genital HSV while giving birth, it is possible that the infection is passed on to the baby.
What are the risk factors for getting herpes?
Anyone can be infected with the HSV simplex virus, regardless of age. Your risk is based on exposure to the infection. In cases of sexually transmitted herpes, it is spread when people have sex without a condom.
- The following are other risk factors for HSV-2 –
- Having sex with more than one person.
- having sex at a young age.
- Women are more prone to get HSV.
- Having another sexually transmitted infection.
- Weakening of the immune system.
- If a pregnant woman has genital HSV while giving birth, it makes the baby more vulnerable to both types of
- HSV also puts her at risk of serious complications.
Protection against HSV
How to avoid getting the herpes simplex virus?
- To reduce the risk of HSV simplex virus –
- Use condoms while having sex.
- Do not have sex if symptoms are present (genital, anus, or skin-to-skin).
- Do not kiss if you have a blister in your mouth.
Do not have too many sexual partners.
Some people find that stress, fatigue, illness, or exposure to the sun can trigger a recurrence of symptoms. Identifying and avoiding these factors can help reduce the number of iterations.
Herpes simplex virus test
How is the herpes simplex virus diagnosed?
This type of virus is usually detected by a physical examination. Your doctor will examine your body for sores and ask about symptoms.
Your doctor may also do an HSV test. This is known as an HSV culture. This will confirm the diagnosis if you have sores on your genitals. During this test, your doctor will take a sample of wound fluid with the help of a swab and then send it to a laboratory for testing.
Blood tests that look for antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2 can also help diagnose these infections. This is especially useful when no lesion is present.