Herpes simplex virus (HSV), a recurrent viral infection, is caused by Herpes virus hominis (HVH), a widespread infectious agent. Attempts at controlling this infectious disease as well as latent infections associated with herpes viruses is an area presently being actively explored.
The human herpes viruses, which include Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, human cytomegalovirus, Varicella-Zoster virus, and the Epstein-Barr Virus, either cause or are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases ranging from infectious mononucleosis to malignancies and mental retardation. Indeed, the herpesviruses are multipotential, having the abilitly to cause more than one kind of disease.
Herpes simplex virus type II primarily effects the genital area and is transmitted by sexual contact. However, cross-infection may result from orogenital sex. While generally not dangerous, it is a nuisance, can be painful and may be emotionally traumatic. While there is no cure, the frequency and severity of attacks can be reduced.
If you think you have the virus, see a doctor while symptoms are still present. The doctor will look at the area, take a sample from the sore(s) and test to see if the herpes virus is present. The test you should request is a specific virus culture or assay for herpes virus. Remember, the test will not work if the sores have healed. Known available tests are: Cell Culture Test, Antigen test, and Pap Smear.Genital herpes is one of the leading sexually contracted diseases. Spreading every day, genital herpes is considered an epidemic in the making. Due to the mode of transmission, genital herpes are rarely seen in children. However by early teens, when sexual contact begins, genital infections rise dramatically, continuing for the next twenty years.
Genital herpes requires intimate body contact, either through intercourse or oral sex, that being genital-to-genital, mouth-to-genital, rectal-to-genital, mouth-to-rectum. These variations in modes of body contact lead to the finding of Herpes I in the genital area and/or Herpes II on the mouth, a function of oral sex. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause genital herpes. Roughly speaking, HSV-2 causes 60% and HSV-1 causes 40% of all cases.
A first infection with genital herpes generally occurs three to seven days after sexual exposure. Often people do not notice this infection for the first time, while others have their worst outbreak. Symptoms vary from a slight fever to a group of blisters which crust over and disappear.
The virus starts to multiply when it gets into the skin cells. The skin becomes red and sensitive, and soon afterward, one or more blisters or bumps appear. The blisters first open, and then heal as new skin tissue forms. During a first outbreak, the area is usually painful and may itch, burn or tingle. Flu-like symptoms are also common. These include swollen glands, headache, muscle ache or fever. Herpes may also infect the urethra, and urinating may cause a burning sensation.
Generally speaking, visible symptoms (lesions) will show up after standard prodromal symptomology (mild tingling and burning near areas where an outbreak will occur). Prodromal symptoms do not always precede an outbreak. The onset of an outbreak is evidenced by watery blisters. The herpes virus is most infectious during the blistering stage, less infectious after the blisters crust over, yet may be passed on to your partner during the prodromal stage or right after the blisters disappear.
For women, blisters involve the external genitalia (the labia, perirectal skin, foreskin of the clitoris), in addition to the vagina and cervix. It is common to have watery discharge and pain during urination.
For men, groups of blisters appear on the head, foreskin, or shaft of the penis including surrounding areas of the genitalia. Generally, herpes can show up anywhere in the pelvic area both front and back.
It is common among men and women to experience low-grade fever, headache, generalized muscle aching, and tender, swollen lymph nodes in the groin. The first visible outbreak can last anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.
To determine whether the symptoms you have just experienced are in fact a herpes virus, you can have two separate blood tests for herpes viruses, one for Herpes I and one for Herpes II. This will determine if herpes is present and which virus is active.
Recurring Herpes Episodes
Recurring herpes falls into three categories:
- After the first outbreak or primary outbreak, the virus never shows up again.
- Herpes outbreaks are so mild, the person is unaware of their occurrence.
- Periods of chronic, repeated episodes of active ulcerations may continue for months or years.
Those persons in category 2 can move into category 3 or recede into category 1. For those persons in category 2 and 3, severity and periodicity does calm down after two to three years.
There is reason to believe that the frequency of recurrent herpes is related not only to the health of the patient but to the virus strain itself. Some strains of virus are more prone to frequent reactivation while others tend to remain quietly latent in the body. It is also important to point out that almost all spontaneous reactivations come from latent virus in the base of the spinal chord and rarely from exposure during sexual activity.
General causes of recurrent genital infection include common stressful conditions such as menstruation, emotional upset, pregnancy, and local trauma to the genitalia. It is common to have an outbreak a week after having intimate sex.
Although there is no cure, there are measures that can be taken to reduce the effects. During an outbreak, keep the infected area as clean and dry as possible. This will help your natural healing processes. Some doctors recommend warm showers in order to cleanse the infected area. Afterwards, towel dry gently, or dry the area with a hair dryer on a low or cool setting. To prevent chaffing, some people also find it helpful to avoid tight-fitting undergarments. Most creams and lotions do no good and may even irritate.
Finally, a healthy immune system may be important in controlling the virus. Don’t ignore the need for proper nutrition, exercise, and rest.
Signs, symptoms & indicators of STD Herpes II
Conditions that suggest STD Herpes II
Some women seem to develop vulvodynia in response to infection with the herpes virus. [Vulvodynia: A Perplexing Disorder; Questions and Answers With Stanley Marinoff, M.D. NVA News, Vol. I, Issue 1; Winter, 1995]
Risk factors for STD Herpes II
History of herpes type II
STD Herpes II can lead to
Recommendations for STD Herpes II
Supplementation with free-form lysine has been shown to be beneficial in controlling herpes along with a diet high in lysine and low in arginine. It has been found that foods high in I-Arginine may cause herpes outbreaks. Increased levels of lysine over arginine suppress viral replication and inhibit the cytopathogenicity of the herpes simplex virus. L-Lysine appears to be an effective agent for reduction of the occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent HSV infection.
Foods high in lysine and low in arginine include fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast, mung bean sprouts and most fruits and vegetables. To quote one study, “The amount of lysine required to control herpes varied from case to case but a typical dose to maintain remission was 500mg daily and active herpes required 1 to 6gm between meals to induce healing.”
Arginine promotes viral replication of herpes. In some people, changing the dietary ratio of lysine to arginine reduces the frequency and intensity of outbreaks. Foods that are lower in lysine and higher in arginine such as chocolate, peanuts and other nuts, grains, peas, seeds, oatmeal and whole-wheat products should be reduced or eliminated from the diet. Lists of foods and their lysine:arginine content are available on the Internet.
Licorice root contains antiviral substances, like glycyrrhiza. Some doctors recommend creams or gels containing licorice be applied 3 to 4 times per day. Sprinkling the contents of a capsule of licorice root extract containing glycyrrhiza upon open herpes lesions may shorten the healing time.
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a potent inactivator of lipid-enveloped viruses. Herpes is such a virus. A dose of 250mg per day is sufficient to prevent recurrence for many people. Some need up to a gram a day. No toxicity has been reported at this higher level. If herpes continues to be a problem at one gram per day, other supplements should be considered in conjunction with the BHT.
The herpes virus is responsible for outbreaks of blisters on any area of the body but most commonly on the mouth and genitals. If our immune system is functioning well, this virus should be destroyed. Sterols and sterolins increase the body’s natural interferon – our frontline defense against viruses. They also make cytotoxic cells more effective at destroying virus-infected cells. Research has shown that these important plant fats can decrease specific immune factors that the herpes virus uses to make more of itself. As a result, the amount of virus in the body may decline.
Zinc orally or topically may be useful in the treatment of herpes.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of lithium carbonate (doses ranging from 150-900 milligrams daily) demonstrated “a consistent reduction in the number of herpes episodes per month, the average duration of each episode, the total number of infection days per month, and the maximum symptom severity. In contrast, treatment with placebo resulted in an increase in three of the four severity measures.”
In herpetic lesions, fluid accumulates between the dermis and epidermis, producing vesicles which rupture, thus releasing more virions. They then become easily infected by secondary organisms.
Herpes lesions have been extensively studied with reference to topical ozone administration. Ozone in these cases will (I) directly inactivate herpes viruses which are lipid-enveloped (2) act as a pan-bactericidal agent in cases involving secondary infections, and (3) promote healing of tissues through circulatory enhancement. It is also postulated that ozone may have beneficial effects upon the peripheral neurons which harbor these viruses.
Dr. H. Konrad of Brazil published his results in treating genital herpes. Out of 20 patients, all but 3 cleared and stayed in remission after ozone injections during the 2.5 year follow-up period.
A preliminary study was done with ozonized oil applied topically for relapsing genital Herpes simplex, based on its antiviral action, good tolerance to tissues and absence of secondary effects. The results of this therapeutic test on 20 patients were satisfactory, as 8 patients did not relapse for 9 months, another 8 patients relapsed at intervals, and 12 diminished the duration of relapse. [R.Grillo, L.Falòon, S.Menèndez, M.Gomez, S.Carbonell y L.Eng Hopital Militar ” Dr.Carlos Finlay ” Centro Nacional De Investigaciones Cientificas]
|Weak or unproven link
|Strong or generally accepted link
|May do some good
|Likely to help
|Reasonably likely to cause problems
An infection, often recurrent, caused by herpes virus type 1 and 2. It causes cold sores around the lips and mouth, and also causes painful blisters on the genitals and in the pubic area, thighs, and buttocks.
Any of a vast group of minute structures composed of a protein coat and a core of DNA and/or RNA that reproduces in the cells of the infected host. Capable of infecting all animals and plants, causing devastating disease in immunocompromised individuals. Viruses are not affected by antibiotics, and are completely dependent upon the cells of the infected host for the ability to reproduce.
(CMV): A member of the herpes virus family which may induce the immune-deficient state or cause active illness, such as pneumonia, in a patient already immune-deficient due to chronic illness, such as cancer or organ transplantation therapy.
An acute, infectious disease caused by the herpes virus, Epstein-Barr virus, with fever and inflamed swelling of the lymph nodes around the neck, under the arms, and in the groin.
A substance, usually protein or protein-sugar complex in nature, which, being foreign to the bloodstream or tissues of an animal, stimulates the formation of specific blood serum antibodies and white blood cell activity. Re-exposure to similar antigen will reactivate the white blood cells and antibody programmed against this specific antigen.
Papanicolaou test. Microscopic examination of cells collected from the vagina and cervix to test for uterine cancer or dysplasia.
A sexually-transmitted disease. Symptoms include itching, burning in the genital area and discomfort while urinating, and a watery vaginal or urethral discharge. A weeping vesicular (blister-like) eruption in the vagina or on the penis is an early sign.
Describes a disease occurring in extensive outbreaks, or with an unusually high incidence at certain times and places.
The lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
Small, bean-shaped nodes at various points throughout the body that function to filter the lymph fluid and attempt to destroy the microorganisms and abnormal cells which collect there. The most common locations are the neck (both sides and front), armpit and groin, but also under the jaw and behind the ears. Swollen or painful lymph nodes generally result from localized or systemic infection, abscess formation, or malignancy. Other causes of enlarged lymph nodes are extremely rare. Physical examination for lymph nodes includes pressing on them to check for size, texture, warmth, tenderness and mobility. Most lymph nodes can not be felt until they become swollen, and then will only be tender when pressed or massaged. A lymph node that is painful even without touching indicates greater swelling. Lymph nodes can usually be distinguished from other growths because they generally feel small, smooth, round or oval-shaped and somewhat mobile when attempts are made to push them sideways. Because less fat covers the lymph nodes in children, they are easier to feel, even when they are not busy filtering germs or making antibodies. Children’s nodes enlarge faster, get bigger in response to an infection and stay swollen longer than an adult's.
Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.