Genital Herpes in Women
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
- Genital herpes in women facts
- What is genital herpes?
- What causes genital herpes?
- How is genital herpes transmitted?
- What are the signs and symptoms of genital herpes?
- How is genital herpes diagnosed?
- Can genital herpes be cured?
- What is the treatment for genital herpes?
- Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for genital herpes?
- How is genital herpes managed in pregnancy?
- What is the prognosis for genital herpes?
- Can genital herpes be prevented?
- Genital Herpes FAQs
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
Genital herpes in women facts
- Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV).
- HSV causes genital herpes by entering the skin or mucous membranes through microscopic breaks in the skin and mucous membranes.
- Genital herpes is transmitted by any type of sexual contact with the genital area.
- When symptoms are present, they may include
- painful blisters and/or ulcers in the genital area,
- itching, and
- burning or tingling sensations in the skin.
- Some individuals may develop symptoms of
- Symptoms come and go over the person's lifetime.
- Diagnosis is usually done by recognizing the skin changes in the genital area but viral cultures, genetic amplification of HSV genome material and other tests may be done.
- There is no cure for genital herpes.
- Antiviral medications are used to reduce the severity and frequency of genital herpes.
- Some home remedies may help reduce symptom severity, but provide no cure.
- Oral antiviral medications may be used in pregnancy. Check with your OB/GYN before taking any medications if you are pregnant.
- The prognosis of genital herpes is variable: there is no cure, and the recurrent outbreaks may vary in frequency and severity.
- Genital herpes prevention is difficult. Condoms may prevent the disease spread during sex, but not in areas of skin not covered by a condom or during oral to genital contact. Clothing that touches genital skin ulcers may transmit HSV to others that wear the clothing.
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV. HSV-1 is most commonly associated with blistering lesions around the mouth known as cold sores. HSV-2 is associated with blistering lesions in genital areas that are exposed during sexual contact. However, both types of HSV can infect the mouth or the genital areas. After the initial outbreak of herpes, the virus travels through the nerves and resides in nerve tissue within the body. Reactivations, or repeat occurrences of the blisters, can occur throughout an individual's lifetime. Among people aged 14 to 49, an estimated 1 out of every 6 people have the infection.
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