ABC Medical Center > Padecimientos > Genital herpes

Genital herpes

21:54 - 4 May , 2021

Disease

What is Genital herpes?

It is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus which is spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a person who has it. Many times the virus can remain inactive, especially at the beginning of the infection, but once manifested, it may have several reactivation episodes per year, depending on the patient’s immunological conditions, that is, the stronger the immune system, the fewer episodes.

Symptoms

Sometimes genital herpes does not have symptoms, but the most common are:

  • Discomfort, burning, pain, itching, or tenderness in the genitals.
  • Red rashes or whitish blisters. 
  • When the blisters burst, they form sores that cause burning and pain when urinating.
  • Due to the moist area in which they are found, the sores’ scabs tend to break, delaying their healing.

Both men and women can get sores on the following parts of the body:

  • Anus.
  • Mouth.
  • Buttocks and thighs.
  • Urethra.

In women:

  • Vulva and vagina.
  • Cervix.

In men:

  • Testicles.
  • Penis.

During the first year of infection, which can be spread by touching a sore and then rubbing another area of the body, it is common for flare-ups to reappear milder and less frequent. However, the virus will remain in the body forever with inactive periods and reactivation crises, depending on the patient’s general health and their immune system.

In periods of virus recurrence, before the sores appear, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Burning, tingling, and itching in the genitals.
  • Discomfort and pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.

If you suspect that you are infected, it is important that you avoid all sexual contact and see your doctor as soon as possible, since genital herpes, if not treated promptly, can cause risks to your health, such as:

  • Getting other sexually transmitted infections, including AIDS.
  • Infecting newborns.
  • Anal swelling.
  • Meningitis.
  • Bladder problems.

Diagnosis and treatment

After knowing your symptoms and clinical history, your doctor will request laboratory tests, a viral culture, and a PCR test to determine the type of virus you have.

Genital herpes is not curable, but treatment, through antiviral medications, can relieve pain and itching, as well as heal sores faster. It can also lessen symptoms in subsequent outbreaks, reduce recurrences, and minimize its spread.

Like any treatment, it will have a better response if it is started shortly after the first outbreak. 

Preventive Measures:

The only sure way to avoid getting genital herpes and any other sexually transmitted diseases is by having safe, low-risk sex, also:

  • Use condoms correctly.
  • Avoid risky practices, such as constantly changing partners or having sex with promiscuous people.
  • Do not have sex with people who have symptoms or may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Establish a monogamous relationship on both sides.

In ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.

Fuentes:

  • medlineplus.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • msdmanuals.com
  • cigna.com
  • who.int
  • medigraphic.com
  • Prieto TLM, Ramos AJT, González TMI, et al. Extracto de la «Guía de la Sociedad Española de Infectología Pediátrica sobre prevención, diagnóstico y tratamiento de la infección neonatal por virus herpes». Rev Latin Infect Pediatr. 2018;31(2):48-53.
  • Meylan P. Herpes Genital. Una actualización para el profesional. Arch Med Actual Trac Gen Inf. 2011;3(5):3-15.
  • Zamilpa-Mejía LG, Uribe-Salas F, Juárez-Figueroa L, et al. Prevalencia y factores asociados con sífilis y herpes genital en dos grupos de población femenina. salud publica mex. 2003;45(Suppl: 5):617-623.
  • González GSE. Terapias supresivas en el herpes genital. Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica. 2003;1(2):113-115.

						
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