Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the main cause of genital herpes in sexually active people. It’s a highly contagious virus spreading through skin-to-skin contact and sexual contact. So every sexually active person has an equal chance of contracting it. If you’re infected with this virus, it’s crucial to take a look at the virus and learn how to deal with it. The article will mention a useful and complete guide to genital herpes in women.
How Common Is Genital Herpes in Women?
Genital herpes is very common for both men and women. According to the CDC, about 776.000 new Americans have contracted genital herpes each year. We know that genital herpes infection is mainly caused by HSV2. Interestingly, this virus is also more common in women than in men. Approximately one out of five women get it, while the rate for men to contract it is only one out of nine.
In fact, the rate of genital herpes may be also higher than what it has been reported. It’s due to the increasing number of genital herpes cases caused by HSV1. While HSV1 is mostly responsible for oral herpes (cold sores), it can lead to genital herpes through oral sex.
Risk Factors for Women Get Genital Herpes
Every sexually active person is always put at risk of genital herpes. But there’re some risk factors contribute to the danger of genital herpes in women you should know. These include
- Unprotected sex. Unprotected sex gives the HSV a good chance to spread through direct skin-to-skin contact.
- Many sexual partners. The more sexual partners a woman has, the greater the risk of genital herpes she contracts.
- Touching herpes blisters. Herpes is especially contagious if the blisters break. Touching the fluid-filled blisters will spread the virus easily.
As the virus sometimes doesn’t show up symptoms, many people don’t know they have had it. But herpes still spreads to others even though it doesn’t present symptoms. One more thing is once contracted this virus, it stays forever in the body and causes herpes outbreaks.
Genital Herpes in Women- How to Recognize
Genital herpes can be mistaken with other STDs because of similar symptoms. In fact, if you look carefully, the symptoms of genital herpes will be different. Specifically, you may see
- Tingling and burning feelings in the genital area
- Blisters appear on the affected area, especially on the vaginal opening, buttocks, or the anus.
- The vaginal tissue becomes red and swollen
- Painful when urinating and intercourse
- Other symptoms, like fever, body aches, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes
If you experience these symptoms, you should see your doctor for getting tested. There’re several ways to diagnose genital herpes in women. The test also depends on the stage of the exposure, such as
- A blood test. It’s available for some cases that physical symptoms of genital herpes haven’t shown up.
- A swab test. The test is used if you show up herpes blisters or sores in the genitals.
- PCR test. The test can tell you if you have this virus even though you don’t have symptoms.
What Does Genital Herpes Do Inside Your Body?
There’s a fact that women who are infected with genital herpes are at high risk of getting HIV. The HSV is known as latent infections that last for the life of a patient and often spread through sexual contact. It can penetrate the body through the mouth, genitals, or a cut on your skin. After a period of time, one or more lesions may occur, which is considered the first genital herpes outbreak.
When the herpes blisters form, break, crust over, and disappear, it also enters into a group of nerve cells near your spinal cord. The virus can stay dormant at that place unless it’s triggered by stress. If some certain triggers come, the virus reactivates and leads to other herpes outbreaks. You may develop herpes outbreaks for months or years depending on your immune system. The HSV can affect different parts in your body as well as various organs and tissues.
Is There Any Cure for Genital Herpes in Women?
There’s no cure for both genital and oral herpes. However, your doctor will prescribe antiviral medications to help remove this virus. Commonly, Acyclovir and Valacyclovir are the common prescribed antiviral medications for this virus. These medications can help to alleviate herpes symptoms and prevent it from coming back. Also, some topical creams, like Prosurx or Acyclovir can ease discomfort and eliminate sores quickly. Home remedies are another useful treatment. But if you experience any irritation, should stop applying them immediately.
Because of no cure for genital herpes, you should raise your awareness of how to prevent it. Prevention is always better than cure, it’s also the biggest key to avoid herpes and other STDs. If you or your partner is infected with this virus, you should take more precaution. The best ways for women to prevent genital herpes is to
- Ask your partner’s sexual history before engaging with sex
- Insist that your partner uses a condom when having sex
- Limit your sexual partners
- Abstain from sex if you see any symptom of genital herpes
- Ensure that you and your partner get tested for HSV
The rate of genital herpes in women is higher than the rate in men. The above complete guide helps women to identify their risks and symptoms of a genital herpes infection. From that, they can know how to remove and prevent herpes outbreaks.