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Herpes is a lifelong disease with no present cure. Living with herpes can be a nightmare and the fact that it is highly contagious means that it can hinder relationships and day to day life when an outbreak occurs. For people who suffer with herpes, treating the symptoms as best they can is their only option.
Not all herpes infections are the same. There are two types of herpes; Herpes Simplex 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex 2 (HSV-2). These two types present differently and must be treated differently, however both are incurable.
HSV-1 causes oral herpes, also known as fever blisters or cold sores. This presents as oozing sores on and around the mouth. HSV-2 causes genital herpes. This presents as sores on genitals such as vagina, vulva, anus or penis.
Either virus can infect the genital areas and oral areas through oral sex. This means that if a person with HSV-1 virus had oral sex with a non-herpes partner, the HSV-1 virus can infect the genitals of his/her partner. Vice-versa, if a HSV-2 patient had oral sex with a non-herpes partner, the HSV-2 virus can infect the oral area of his/her partner.
Once you have contracted the herpes virus, you cannot get rid of it. It will flare up periodically for the rest of your life, although flare ups may lessen in severity with time. This is why finding the right treatment for your herpes is so important. Otherwise, it can severely affect quality of life.
The herpes infection can start with a simple kiss. Mostly, sexual intercourse is the leading cause of herpes infection. Through vaginal sex, oral sex or even anal sex, a herpes infection will start as soon as the liquid from sores came in contact with the skin of an uninfected person. Even the sharing of sex toys can trigger the spread of herpes. During vaginal childbirth, the infection can also be transferred to a newborn baby.
There is a connection between the herpes and HIV viruses. This is because herpes increases the amount of cells that HIV targets. These cells are called “CD4”. If you are infected with herpes and you have sexual intercourse with a person with HIV, it is more likely the HIV will affect you as you will have more of these CD4 cells.
During the first herpes outbreak or “primary outbreak”, the patient will be most likely to suffer from flu-like symptoms. During this outbreak they will likely experience dull and aching pain, itchiness and irritation on the affected areas. While herpes is incurable and outbreaks will continue throughout a patient’s life, the pain and severity of the outbreaks will lessen significantly over time. The frequency will also decrease over time.
There are differences in how the herpes virus presents among men or a women:
Symptoms for men:
Symptoms for women:
The simplest way to know if you have a herpes infection is to book an appointment for a consultation with your family doctor. He or she can help to identify your symptoms and find a diagnosis. A doctor will take a liquid sample from the sore and conduct a PCR blood test.
A PCR blood test can determine whether you suffer from herpes without having the symptoms of a herpes infection. This is because it is possible to have the herpes virus without showing any symptoms at all.
A PCR blood test is the most accurate way to find out if you have herpes. A blood test may give a false report if the sores are already healing or the infection happened recently. This is because the herpes antibodies will usually take a week before appearing in the blood.
There are home remedies and over the counter medicines that can help you relieve the pain and discomfort caused by a herpes infection.
Over the counter medicines such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can lessen the pain.
Putting lukewarm or cool cloths on the sores can help soothe the itchiness and pain
Taking lukewarm baths.
Keeping the infected area or genitals dry and clean can reduce or even prevent the itchiness.
CBD and Herpes
There is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD could be used as an effective treatment for both HSV-1 and HSV-2. However, there is little scientific data to support this. The scientific study of CBD has been slow as a result of its connection to the cannabis plant and the legal status of that plant.
The studies which have been conducted have found that CBD acts as a supplement for the human body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for skin health, mood and pain. It is believed to have a regulatory effect on the brain and be tightly linked to the immune system too.
Taking CBD cannot prevent a herpes infection. However, it may reduce the number of outbreaks caused by the virus. Since CBD is well-known for having strong anti-inflammatory properties, it can combat the swelling and the itchiness in the genital areas and around the mouth where sores most commonly occur.
While taking CBD won’t change the fact that you have a lifelong condition, it may lead to a decrease in the frequency and severity of the outbreaks. Thankfully it is known to be a very safe natural medicine and so is appropriate for experimentation at home.
The only way to prevent a herpes infection is to practice safe sex. However, wearing condoms can only reduce the risk of contracting the virus. It is still possible to catch it even with a condom. If you have herpes, always talk to your partner about your condition before undergoing sexual intercourses.
If you think you may have the herpes virus but have not yet been diagnosed, make sure to make an appointment with your family doctor soon.