Genital Herpes in Women Overview (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- 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
Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for genital herpes?
There are no natural remedies available for genital herpes, and as mentioned above, the infection cannot be cured. Home cares such as warm baths, keeping the blisters dry after washing, and wearing loose-fitting, cotton underwear may help with symptom relief.
How is genital herpes managed in pregnancy?
Oral antiviral medications as described above may be used during pregnancy. One serious concern with genital herpes in pregnancy is transmission of the infection to the baby during delivery. In an infant, genital herpes infection can spread through the bloodstream and have serious consequences. Cesarean delivery is performed for women who go into labor while there is an active outbreak of genital herpes in order to prevent infection of the baby during birth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women with recurrent genital herpes be offered oral antiviral medication at or beyond 36 weeks until delivery in order to increase the chances of being able to deliver vaginally.
What is the prognosis for genital herpes?
As discussed, there is no cure for genital herpes infection, and the infection persists for life. People vary in the number and severity of outbreaks they experience. For those with frequent outbreaks, taking antiviral medications as suppressive therapy can decrease the frequency of outbreaks.
Can genital herpes be prevented?
Herpes infection can be spread both during an outbreak and by infected people even when there is no outbreak of the condition, so prevention can be difficult. While condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes during sexual activity, the infection can also be spread from skin contact in areas not covered by a condom, or during oral to genital contact. If you are having an outbreak, thorough hand washing and not sharing clothing that has touched the skin ulcers can also help prevent transmitting the virus to others.
Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
"Genital Herpes." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 11 Feb. 2013.
Villa, Adrianna and Brian Berman. "Genital Herpes Infection: Beyond a Clinical Diagnosis." Medscape. 2013.
Sex & Relationships
Get tips to boost your love life.