Home Remedies for Genital Herpes

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While a diagnosis of herpes is discouraging, it’s important to remember that it’s not a death sentence. There are many different ways to address the symptoms of the recurring condition caused by a virus that attacks the genitals and other parts of the body. To find a comfortable balance, become familiar with home remedies for genital herpes.

herpes microscope

What are Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus and is generally transmitted through sexual contact [1]. There is no cure for herpes and patients suffer recurrent bouts of the infection, where the skin and mucous membranes of the genital region are affected.

Causes and Symptoms

Two different types of herpes simplex virus infections can cause genital herpes [2]: (1) HSV type 1 (usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth, but can also pass on to the genital area during oral sex) and (2) HSV type 2 (the most common culprit behind genital herpes that spreads through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact).

HSV-2 is a highly contagious virus that spreads even when no open sore is present. It’s a tricky infection that can lie dormant without showing any signs or symptoms. Luckily, the virus cannot survive outside of the body, meaning contact with toilets, towels and other objects do not pose a threat for contracting the infection. Usually, the first genital herpes outbreak is the worst with some people luckily never experiencing a second wave of the infection. Less fortunate patients battle outbreaks as long as 40 years after the initial outbreak.

Common symptoms of genital herpes include small red bumps, blisters and open sores that appear in the genital, anal, or nearby areas. Pain and itching can attack the genital region, buttocks, and inner thighs.

One of the first symptoms of genital herpes to appear is a pain or itching that starts within a few weeks after exposure to the infection. After several days have passed, small red bumps may emerge. As they rupture, the bumps turn into ulcers that ooze or bleed. As the ulcers heal, scabs form. Other symptoms of genital herpes include:

• Painful urination
• Muscle aches
• Headache
• Fever
• Swollen lymph nodes in the groin

Genital Herpes Home Remedies

The genital herpes virus affects people in different ways and no two individuals will show the same symptoms of intensity in regards to the infection. As time passes, some people experience less frequent outbreaks, while others must dodge factors that trigger the virus, including stress, certain medications, menstruation, surgery, illness, fatigue, and rough sexual intercourse. To ease symptoms, consider the following home remedies for genital herpes:

a) Pin or Needle:

If you are interested in draining a herpes blister, you will need a sterilized tool, like a pin or needle. Rubbing alcohol provides a safe method for cleaning your tool of choice. Another method of sterilization is to place a needle over an open flame or match and heat until it glows red. Before using, let the needle cool.

b) Soap and Water:

To avoid a secondary (bacterial) infection, use soap and water to keep affected areas free of germs.

c) Immune System Boost:

Eat foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to give your immune system a boost that helps fight against the symptoms of genital herpes.

d) Say ‘No’ to Ointments:

It’s tempting to slather on ointments to treat genital herpes, but these kinds of sores require a great deal of air in order to heal. Applying petroleum jelly and antibiotic ointments can hinder beneficial air that ultimately slows down the healing process.

e) Baking Soda:

Dry out genital sores by using a cotton ball to apply baking soda, which helps decrease itching.

f) Peppermint Tea:

Treat a fever and reduce pain by sipping on a cup of peppermint tea.

g) Warm Bath or Shower:

Tame symptoms of genital herpes that accompany a primary or severe secondary attack by taking a warm bath or shower around three to four times per day. Some people have enjoyed relief by blow-drying the genital region with a hair dryer on a low or cool setting. For some, the heat helps dry out sores and speed up the healing process.

h) Cotton Underwear:

Choose loose-fitting, cotton underwear to allow air to reach the genital region – an act that can play an essential role in healing. It is important to let your skin breathe.

i) Tea:

Moisten a tea bag and apply to sores, as the tea contains tannic acid that can soothe painful genital tissues.

j) Ice:

Reduce pain and itching of genital herpes by applying ice to sores. You can fill a Ziploc bag with crushed ice, which is applied 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day. Keep in mind that prolonged exposure to ice can cause damage to skin tissue.

k) Bag of Frozen Vegetables:

If you don’t have access to crushed ice, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables as a suitable alternative.

l) Milk:

Encourage healing and ease pain by soaking cotton balls in milk and applying to sores.


Resources

[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=genital%20herpes

[2] http://mayoclinic.com/health/genital-herpes/DS00179/DSECTION=causes

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