Herpes is a common and usually mild recurrent skin
condition; most infections are unrecognized and undiagnosed. Herpes is caused by a virus - the Herpes Simplex
(HSV). HSV is in a family of viruses called Herpesviruses.
Herpes can cause symptoms on the mouth (Oral Herpes or Herpes Labialis,
sometimes called cold sores or fever blisters) or
genitals (Genital Herpes or Herpes Genitalis).
Herpes simplex viruses include two distinct but closely related
viruses, namely, Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex
Virus Type 2 (HSV-2). The majority of Oral Herpes
cases are caused by HSV-1 and the majority of Genital Herpes cases are
caused by HSV-2; however, type-1 or type-2 can occur in either the genital
or oral area.
The “classic” symptoms that most people associate with genital herpes are sores,
vesicles, or ulcers – all of which can also be called “lesions.” (irregularity in the skin.) These classic lesions of genital herpes often
resemble small pimples or blisters that eventually crust over and finally scab
like a small cut. These lesions may take anywhere from two to four weeks to heal
fully. During this time, some people will experience a second crop of lesions,
and some will experience flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands,
particularly in the lymph nodes near the groin. Headache and painful urination
also sometimes accompany full-blown symptoms of first episodes.
But for many other people, herpes lesions can so mild that they may be mistaken
for Insect bites, Abrasions, Yeast infection, “Jock itch” and other conditions.
In other words, the signs go unrecognized as being caused by genital herpes.
Also, signs and symptoms can be found on the penis and vulva; near the anus; on
the thigh; on the buttocks - virtually anywhere in the genital area.
Some people have
recurrent outbreaks with the so-called “classic” blister-like herpes lesions
that crust over, or with painful sores. In recurrent herpes, however, this
process usually takes about half the time it does in first episodes. In
addition, many people have very subtle forms of recurrent herpes that heal up in
a matter of days. And lastly, herpes is capable of reactivating without
producing any visible lesions (asymptomatic reactivation).
A person may show symptoms within days after
contracting genital herpes, or it may take weeks, months, or years. For this
reason, it can be difficult for people to know when and from whom they may have
contracted the virus. Early in the phase of reactivation many people
experience an itching, tingling, or painful feeling in the area where their
recurrent lesions will develop. This sort of warning symptom—called a
“prodrome”— often precedes lesions by a day or two. To be on the safe side, it's
best to assume virus is active (and, therefore, can be spread through direct
skin-to-skin contact) during these times.
Whether there are severe symptoms or not, virus will
persist in the body. To avoid the immune system, HSV will retreat along the
nerve pathways, finding safe sanctuary in a nerve root called a “ganglion.” In
cases of genital herpes, HSV retreats to the sacral ganglion, located
at the base of the spine. In “oral” or facial herpes (cold sores), HSV finds its
way to the trigeminal ganglion, at the top of the spine. In the
ganglion, the virus remains inactive (“latent”) for an indefinite period of
time. Unfortunately, while HSV is latent, various biological events can cause it
to become active and begin traveling the nerve pathways back to the skin. There
it can cause signs and symptoms again, though it doesn't always do this.
triggers (determining exactly what leads to an outbreak) are highly
individual, but with time, many people learn to recognize, and sometimes
avoid, factors that seem to reactivate HSV in their own bodies. Illness,
poor diet, emotional or physical stress, friction in the genital area,
prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light (commonly for oral herpes, such as a
beach trip or skiing weekend), surgical trauma, and steroidal medication
(such as asthma treatment) may trigger a herpes outbreak.
The frequency of outbreaks can often be managed through effective stress
management, and getting adequate rest, nutrition, and exercise. For people
with frequent outbreaks, homeopathic treatment has been found very
effective. Complete and permanent cure of Herpes Simplex is possible with
properly chosen homeopathic medicines.
If a woman
with genital herpes has virus present in the birth canal during
delivery, herpes simplex can be spread to an infant, causing neonatal
herpes can cause an overwhelming infection resulting in lasting
damage to the central nervous system, mental retardation, or
How is Herpes transmitted?
- Any person who is sexually active can get genital herpes.
- Herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. This occurs
when a contagious area comes into contact with a tiny break in the skin or
mucous membrane tissue, primarily the mouth and genitals.
- Most skin on the body is too thick for the virus to go through.
- If a person with oral herpes (sometimes called cold sores or fever
blisters) performs oral sex, it is possible for the partner to get genital
- If a person with genital herpes has sex, it is possible for his or her
partner to get genital herpes.
- Genital herpes can be transmitted sexually both when symptoms are present
and sometimes when symptoms are not present.
- There are several days throughout the year (called asymptomatic
reactivation, asymptomatic shedding, or subclinical shedding) when the virus
may be present on the surface of the skin, but there are no symptoms. Herpes
can be passed through sexual contact during this time.
- There are no documented cases of a person getting genital herpes from an
inanimate object such as a toilet seat, bathtub, or towel. Herpes is a very
fragile virus and does not live long on surfaces.
Oral Herpes (Herpes Labialis) - Infectious fluid-filled blister on lower
During the first episode,
classic lesions tend to form as small fluid-filled blisters that can appear as a
single blister or in a cluster. Sores may also appear inside the mouth or on the
back of the throat, and the lymph nodes in the neck may swell.
However, symptoms of oral herpes can be very mild and
go unnoticed. Subtle symptoms can be easily mistaken for another infection or
condition such as a small crack or cut in the skin, chapped lips, bug bite, or a
pimple, to name a few examples.
While symptoms of Oral Herpes most commonly appear on
or around the lips, Oral Herpes is not always limited to this area. For some,
symptoms may appear between the upper lip, on or inside the nose, or on the chin
or cheek. In these instances, herpes is referred to as Oral-facial Herpes.
At least a quarter of people with oral herpes
Many people will experience a “prodrome” or warning symptom prior to developing
an outbreak. A “prodrome”
is an itching, tingling or painful sensation in the area where their recurrent
lesions will develop. The prodrome often precedes lesions by a day or two.
During this time, it is best to assume virus is active (and, therefore, can be
spread through close contact).
Herpes is caused by a virus - the Herpes Simplex
virus (HSV). Oral herpes is transmitted through direct contact
between the contagious area and broken skin (a cut or break) and mucous membrane
tissue (such as the mouth or genitals). Herpes can also be transmitted when
there are no symptoms present. There are several days throughout the year when
the virus reactivates yet causes no symptoms (called asymptomatic shedding,
viral shedding, or asymptomatic reactivation).
After birth, herpes can be passed to a baby by receiving
a kiss from someone with a cold sore on the mouth (oral herpes).
There is very
effective treatment to cure Herpes Simplex in Homeopathy. Homeopathic remedy
not only treats symptoms and controls outbreaks but also prevent
recurrences. This is not a suppressive therapy but curative one and hence
stops outbreaks of Oral and Genital Herpes. Homeopathy is equally effective
in all other Viral Diseases. The best part is that homeopathic medicines do
not have short-term or long-term side effects of any kind even if taken for
a longer period of time. We have specific approach towards Herpes Simplex
cases and use
patient's individualised remedy for complete and permanent
cure of Herpes Simplex. This treatment is recommended for every Herpes
Simplex patient for minimum 12 months irrespective of whether he has
symptoms/outbreaks or not.
The surest way to prevent the spread of genital herpes is to avoid sexual
contact during an active outbreak and to use condoms for sexual contact between
If a person is experiencing symptoms orally, we
recommend abstaining from performing oral sex and kissing others directly on the
mouth until signs have healed and the skin looks normal again. Because most
adults have oral herpes, we do not advise that a person stop giving or receiving
affection altogether between outbreaks
(when there are no signs or symptoms) simply because they have oral herpes.
However, using a barrier (such as a dental dam) or condom when performing oral
sex (even though there are no symptoms present around the mouth) can reduce the
risk of contracting genital herpes.
If your partner has genital herpes, abstain
from sex during active outbreaks. Between outbreaks, use a condom from
start to finish every time you have sexual contact, even if your
partner has no symptoms. (HSV can spread when no symptoms are
present.) Consider abstaining from sex (oral, vaginal, and anal)
during the last trimester.
Dr. Nitin Dhole
Shop No. 2, Guru-Gajanan Apartment,
Behind Reliance Mart, Garkheda,
Aurangabad (Maharashtra) India. 431009