If you have herpes, you’re not alone. Few people talk about it, but more than 1 in 6 people have herpes type 2. There are two types of herpes: herpes simplex I and herpes simplex 2. HSV-2 is the type of herpes that causes genital herpes.
Genital herpes causes flare-ups from time to time, and they can be extremely uncomfortable. You need to learn how to manage them. Dr. Alan Patterson explains more about how to manage your symptoms when your herpes flares up.
What are the two types of herpes?
Herpes simplex 1, or HSV-1, is an extremely common type of virus. About 67 percent of people worldwide below the age of 50 — which accounts for 3.7 billion people — have HSV-1. This common virus causes cold sores. It spreads easily, even by sharing silverware or glasses.
Herpes simplex 2, or HSV-2, causes genital herpes. It’s less common than HSV-1, and is spread only by sexual transmission.
However, most people don’t know that they have genital herpes. Only about 10-20% of people know they have genital herpes. This makes it incredibly easy to spread to your partners without knowing it. It’s also more than twice as common among women than men.
How to treat a herpes flare-up
If you have herpes, you may experience a flare-up from time to time. There are sometimes periods of outbreaks, followed by periods of remission. Although it is more likely to spread the virus if you have sex during an outbreak, you can still spread it when you’re in remission.
If you have a herpes flare-up, you may experience the following:
- Small blisters around your genitals, rectum, or mouth
- With your first outbreak, the symptoms may last for 2-4 weeks
- The small blisters break and leave painful ulcers
- Recurring outbreaks may be shorter
- You may have lesions outside of your genital area, including your buttocks, thighs, finger, or eye
If you have symptoms of a herpes flare-up, it’s important to call the office right away. Dr. Patterson can prescribe an antiviral medication.
The antiviral medication should be a mainstay of managing your herpes outbreaks, especially if they occur regularly. Antiviral medications can suppress herpes outbreaks and prevent future outbreaks, as well as decreasing the likelihood that you can transmit it to your partners.
How to manage herpes going forward
You need to have a conversation with Dr. Patterson about your herpes. Although it may feel embarrassing to bring it up, you can rest assured that he has seen many other patients with herpes as well. Your honesty with Dr. Patterson ensures that he can help you take care of your health.
If you have plans to get pregnant, he also needs to know about your herpes. A HSV-2 infection can pass to your baby. Among women who contract herpes during pregnancy, you may face higher risk of developing hepatitis.
Managing herpes is part of managing your sexual health. It’s an extremely common condition but requires vigilance. We can manage herpes with antiviral medications to keep you healthy and well. If you have herpes, contact Dr. Alan Patterson today or schedule an appointment online.