Genital Herpes (HSV)

Genital herpes (caused by the herpes simplex virus) is a viral sexually transmitted disease. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people may be affected by genital herpes.

Causes

Sexual intercourse is not required to spread genital herpes, which can be transmitted through any kind of sexual contact. It is primarily passed through breaks in the skin. The virus then attacks healthy cells, which leads to different kinds of symptoms.

Symptoms

While many people that have genital herpes are not aware of their condition, some patients will notice the following:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, aches, fatigue, nausea
  • Blisters filled with fluid on the genitals or buttocks
  • Burning during urination
  • “Weeping”, when the sores burst open and leak fluid

Complications

There are common complications associated with genital herpes, much like any disease that remains untreated for too long. For pregnant women with genital herpes, the herpes virus poses a great risk to the unborn baby. If there is no time for antibodies to develop, herpes may be passed to the newborn child as it moves through the birth canal. This can lead to serious concerns for the newborn, including brain damage.

Treatment

While there is no cure for genital herpes, antivirals can help shorten the outbreaks of sores or lessen their intensity. The best course of action you can take against genital herpes is preventative. The below guidelines are useful in preventing any sexually transmitted disease:

  • use a condom during intercourse
  • limit sexual partners
  • know your partner’s sexual history
  • avoid open sores on the genitals

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of genital herpes, please consult your doctor. To read more about this condition online, please visit The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.