For many people suffering from genital herpes the initial outbreak lasts the longest and brings the most discomfort.
During this initial episode your immune system has not started producing enough antibodies to adequately defend itself.
Most people with genital herpes will never know they are infected. In fact, 90% of people who carry the genital herpes virus show no symptoms or their symptoms are so mild that they are mistaken for something else like a yeast infection or jock itch.
First, these blisters happen in people who have never shown previous exposure to the herpes simplex virus. The symptoms of a first attack are usually the most severe because the body does not have any defense against the herpes virus.
During initial occurrence, your body reacts by sending antibodies to fight the virus. Certain immune cells and antibodies that are present in the body have the ability to pinpoint and regulate the virus.
Unfortunately, the antibodies do not totally remove the virus from the system, which explains why you would learn to live with the herpes virus once infected.
Genital outbreaks are milder after the production of antibodies. After several years, your body may experience lesser or zero outbreaks.
After initial exposure, the symptoms may manifest itself within 2 to 12 days. However, it may take days, weeks, months, or years for any symptom to manifest itself.
Since the duration and severity of outbreaks may vary from one person to another, it is difficult to determine the time and the carrier of the virus. Some people may have mild manifestations of the STD.
In other people, the outbreak can be severe while in others there may be zero manifestations at all.
During initial outbreaks, you may be experiencing any of the following manifestations:
* Flu-like symptoms, fever, muscular pain
* During an initial infection, blisters are more likely to be present, especially in women. They may come in various sizes and may be found in different locations, such as genitals, buttocks, thighs, and around the anus.
* Tenderness, pain, and itchiness in the skin of the affected region.
* Swelling in the affected region that is normal due to bodily reactions to the virus.
* Swelling in the lymph nodes of the groin area, which is another normal reaction of the body to the virus.
* In women, there is a cervical infection in 80% to 90% of initial outbreaks, and there is likewise a vaginal discharge.
If you suspect that there are symptoms of genital herpes outbreaks, consult your doctor right away.
The good news is that new methods for evaluating initial occurrences are now available. It is worth noting that the effectiveness of Famvir in treating herpes have not been proven at the moment.
The list below contains the most common symptoms of this first episode.
– Flu-like symptoms
– Swollen lymph glands
– Vaginal discharge
– Swelling of the skin
– Itching and redness
– Sores, lesions, and blisters (these can be located on the genitals, thighs, and buttocks)
This first episode commonly ends after less than two weeks, but some individuals report their first outbreak lasting as long as a month.
You can reduce the duration and severity of your initial outbreak by taking prescription anti-viral medication. There are currently three available options when it comes to medication – acyclovir, famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex). All three of these medicines work in the same way reducing the ability of the herpes virus to reproduce.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the currently recommended regimens for these medications are as follows.
– Acyclovir – 400 mg orally three times a day for 7 to 10 days
– Acyclovir – 200 mg orally five times a day for 7 to 10 days
– Famvir – 250 mg three times a day for 7 to 10 days
– Valacyclovir (Valtrex) – 1000 mg orally twice a day for 7 to 10 days
These recommended regimens may be different than the one your doctor prescribes. This is especially true if you are overweight or if your outbreak lasts more than a few weeks.
It is important to start treatment for initial herpes infection immediately. It is recommended that treatment be started within six hours of your first symptoms.
Doing this will both shorten and reduce the severity of your outbreak. In some cases this has actually stopped the outbreak completely.
If you start taking anti-viral medication during this time you will limit the number of viruses present which will result in fewer and smaller sores.
And it is much easier for your body to fight off a handful of small herpes blisters than it is to fight off dozens of large blisters.
Treatment for initial herpes infection is not the only consideration. You should also make sure to get an accurate laboratory confirmation of the herpes infection.
Any laboratory test will be more accurate if you are in the middle of an active outbreak.
A laboratory test can tell you which type – type one or type two – of the herpes virus you are carrying.
Genital herpes type two is much more likely to produce recurrent outbreaks and is much more likely to be spread than type one.
Laboratory tests can also tell you if this is a new infection or if you have been infected for some time. This is only possible during the beginning stages of a herpes infection.
Here’s what you can do to get rid of genital herpes:
1. Eat Healthy. Herpes outbreaks are triggered by poor diet, so avoid sugar and fatty foods as much as possible. Also avoid too much caffeine or alcohol, as well as chocolate and nuts. Eat plenty of high protein foods.
2. Get Some Sleep: Fatigue is a major trigger for herpes outbreaks. One of the main ways to get rid of outbreaks is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep hygiene is a huge topic that we don’t have the time or space to get into here, but if you have trouble sleeping, getting that looked at can really help with your herpes outbreaks.
3. Exercise. Exercising daily will not only keep you fit, but also has been shown to reduce outbreaks. It’s also good for your health as a whole, will help you sleep better and reduces stress, so it is a huge help for herpes sufferers in many areas.
4. Reduce stress. Stress is a HUGE trigger for outbreaks. Avoid stress as much as possible. Try meditation, relaxation therapy, and avoid stressful situations, even if this means making changes at work or home.
5. Treatment. Many sufferers take antivirals which can work to get rid of genital herpes symptoms if taken daily. However due to the cost and nasty side effects, many sufferers are turning to homeopathic remedies, which due to recent advances are just as powerful at getting rid of genital herpes and are cheaper and side-effect free too.