Herpes has been well known for years. But there are still people who are unaware of the right facts about this virus. Some even view it as a trivial disease that causes little harm, which is not the case at all.
Herpes not only affects the potential happiness of those who suffer from it, but it also hurts their relationships with other people. Before you panic, herpes is more common than you think. The herpes simplex virus affects almost 12% of Americans between 14 and 49 years of age.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about herpes. That’s why it’s important to cut through the confusion and get the facts straight. This article will go over an overview of herpes types, causes, and treatment. Learning about these will help you make better decisions about your health.
What is Herpes Simplex?
Herpes simplex is a skin infection caused by a virus. The infection lasts forever. This results in painful or itchy lesions and blisters that may resurface over time.
Herpes is a tricky virus. It rarely leads to complications, but it can be harmful to newborns and immunocompromised individuals. It is not curable. But you can treat herpes in the vagina with antiviral medications.
Over-the-counter genital herpes treatments are effective in helping reduce physical discomfort. They also promote healing from a herpes outbreak and inhibit relapses. Moreover, it will help lower the probability of spreading herpes to others.
What are the Types and Causes of Herpes?
Most people don’t know they have it because they can’t feel the symptoms. Even if symptoms are present, they aren’t always recognized as associated with herpes. They include oral herpes and genital herpes. Read on to find out the differences between the two and their causes.
1. Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is a virus infection caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Its symptoms are also known as “cold sores” and “fever blisters.” They mostly occur on or around the lips.
However, oral herpes is not always bound to this area. Symptoms usually develop between the upper lip, on or inside the nose, or on the chin or cheek in some people. They call it oral-facial herpes in these cases.
Individuals may contract HSV-1 through:
- Stroking the skin close to a person’s mouth
- Sharing cutlery, chapstick, and blades
- If you have oral sex with someone who has a cold sore, you could get a herpes infection in your genital area.
2. Genital Herpes
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection. Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is the most frequent cause of genital herpes. It causes skin irritation and open wounds (lesions) in the vaginal area. But, it can also be asymptomatic.
Individuals may contract HSV-2 through:
- Anal,vaginal-penile, or vaginal-vaginal intercourse
- Oral sex (giving or receiving) with an infected person
- Ejaculation-free skin-to-skin contact
- Touching open wounds, even while breastfeeding
- Pregnancy and birth by an infected mother
What is the Difference Between Herpes and a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
For many reasons, it is important to know the difference between herpes and a vaginal yeast infection. First, there’s a real difference in how they’re treated. Also, one is potentially more risky than the other as far as spreading to sexual partners. In this section, we will cover the differences between a herpes outbreak and a yeast infection.
1. The Presence of Generalized Symptoms and Signs
A vaginal yeast infection is not like herpes. It does not induce severe symptoms and signs. This includes:
- Overall weakness
- Flu-like signs, and
- Lymph node enlargement
There are no outbreaks or signs of infection of genital herpes in women as well as in men. Many people are unaware they have the virus. Once compromised, the virus remains in your nerve cells for the rest of your life.
When the virus is not active, people typically don’t experience any symptoms. A herpes outbreak occurs when the virus becomes active.
2. The Occurrence of Skin Lesions
Vaginal yeast infections cause widespread inflammation and swelling. On the other hand, herpes has fluid-filled blisters or sores. These are typically concentrated on the same red source.
3. The Presence of Discomfort
A vaginal yeast infection is burning and itchy, while herpes lesions are intense.
4. The Discharge
Most women with a vaginal yeast infection have thick, clumpy white discharge. Herpes discharge, on the other hand, is thin and clear.
How Is Herpes Treated?
Herpes is an uncomfortable disease. Symptoms such as itching and pain are not something people talk about in public. But, much of the stigma surrounding herpes is due to ill-informed people. As stated earlier, you can get herpes treated with over-the-counter medications.
You can find these medications for herpes at your local drug store. But, before you buy one, you should first consult your doctor about it. Self-medicating can only do more harm to your health than it does to treat genital herpes.
1. Topical Pain Relievers
These are desensitizing treatments applied topically. Examples include:
- Lidocaine creams or ointments
- Camphor and phenol
- Benzocaine creams
2. Lysine Ointment
Some individuals assume that lysine, an amino acid, has antiviral properties. Some ointments include lysine in their ingredients for the treatment of cold sores.
This is a prescription-only ointment used to treat genital herpes. It has natural ingredients such as lemongrass and willow bark, which are less harmful to the skin. But, there is insufficient evidence that FemiClear changes the path of herpes infection.
4. Oral Pain Relievers
Tylenol is an oral pain reliever that can help with the discomfort of a herpes outbreak. You can also get nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) over the counter. These can also ease mild to moderate pain while minimizing redness and inflammation.
5. 1% Hydrocortisone Cream
This is a low-dose topical substance that can ease redness. It can also reduce the burning sensation that people with herpes experience. Hydrocortisone cream is frequently used to treat genital herpes. You can use this together with prescribed antiviral medication.
Yeast infection treatment should address sores generated by a yeast infection. If your yeast sores are bothersome, use an anti-itch cream like hydrocortisone.
Consult Your Doctor
Anyone diagnosed with herpes should talk to their health care provider about managing outbreaks. And remember, no one should feel ashamed of having herpes. If you do have active symptoms, talk to your partner, friends, and family about how you are dealing with them.
Herpes may sound scary at first. It is also painful and frustrating. But, with proper care and management, you can experience fewer symptoms and lead a normal life.
A good place to start is with a visit to your doctor or local clinic. First, you’ll need a diagnosis from a doctor, who will be able to confirm if you have oral or genital herpes. Next, they can recommend one of the many over-the-counter medications or treatments. Picking up topical ointments and other essentials at the pharmacy is always a good idea.