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Health Condition

Genital Herpes

About This Condition

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted viral infection characterized by fluid filled blisters or red bumps in the genital area.

Genital herpes is caused by either of two types of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There is no known cure for herpes. Both conventional and alternative treatments only help in reducing the symptoms and frequency of outbreaks. Treatments effective for cold sores—which are also caused by the herpes virus—may or may not also be effective for genital herpes, because of possible differences in the type of herpes virus causing infections in different body locations.

Symptoms

People with genital herpes may have outbreaks of small, often painful, fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) in the genital or anal region. Fever, general weakness, and painful urination often accompany the initial occurrence. Subsequent outbreaks may appear with colds, fevers, menstrual periods, or during periods of stress,1 and usually disappear within two weeks. Initially there may be tingling or prickling at the site of the blisters even before they are visible, then the blisters often weep a clear fluid and form a scab.

References

1. Cohen F, Kemeny ME, Kearney KA, et al. Persistent stress as a predictor of genital herpes recurrence. Arch Intern Med 1999;159:2430-6.

2. Syed TA, Afzal M, Ahmad SA, et al. Management of genital herpes in men with 0.5% Aloe vera extract in a hydrophylic cream: a placebo-controlled, double-blind study. J Dermatol Treat 1997;8:99-102.

3. Wolbling RH, Leonhardt K. Local therapy of herpes simplex with dried extract of Melissa officinalis. Phytomedicine 1994;1:25-31.

4. Walsh DE, Griffith RS, Behforooz A. Subjective response to lysine in the therapy of herpes simplex. J Antimicrob Chemother 1983;12:489-96.

5. McCune MA, Perry HO, Muller SA, O'Fallon WM. Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with L-lysine monohydrochloride. Cutis 1984;34:366-73.

6. Griffith RS, Walsh DE, Myrmel KH, et al. Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Dermatologica 1987;175:183-90.

7. Simon CA, Van Melle GD, Ramelet AA. Failure of lysine in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection. Arch Dermatol 1985;121:1678 [letter].

8. Debiaggi M, Tateo F, Pagani L, et al. Effects of propolis flavonoids on virus infectivity and replication. Microbiologica 1990;13:207-13.

9. Vynograd N, Vynograd I, Sosnowski Z. A comparative multi-centre study of the efficacy of propolis, acyclovir and placebo in the treatment of genital herpes (HSV). Phytomedicine 2000;7:1-6.

10. Arens M, Travis S. Zinc salts inactivate clinical isolates of herpes simplex virus in-vitro. J Clin Microbiol 2000;38:1758-62.

11. Wahba A. Topical application of zinc solutions: A new treatment for herpes simplex infections of the skin? Acta Derm Venereol 1980;60:175-7.

12. Finnerty EF. Topical zinc in the treatment of herpes simplex. Cutis 1986;37:130-1.

13. Brody I. Topical treatment of recurrent herpes simplex and post-herpetic erythema multiforme with low concentrations of zinc sulphate solution. Br J Dermatol 1981;104:191-4.

14. Eby GA, Halcomb WW. Use of topical zinc to prevent recurrent herpes simplex infection: review of literature and suggested protocols. Med Hypotheses 1985;17:157-65.

15. Bourne KZ, Bourne N, Reising SF, Stanberry LR. Plant products as topical microbicide candidates: assessment of in vitro and in vivo activity against herpes simplex virus type 2. Antiviral Research 1999;42:219-26.

16. Bourne KZ, Bourne N, Reising SF, Stanberry LR. Plant products as topical microbicide candidates: assessment of in vitro and in vivo activity against herpes simplex virus type 2. Antiviral Research 1999;42:219-26.

17. Pompei R, Flore O, Marccialis MA, et al. Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits virus growth and inactivates virus particles. Nature 1979;281:689-90.

18. Csonka GW, Tyrrell DA. Treatment of herpes genitalis with carbenoxolone and cicloxolone creams: a double blind placebo controlled clinical trial. Br J Vener Dis 1984;60:178-81.

19. Partridge M, Poswillo D. Topical carbenoxolone sodium in the management of herpes simplex infection. Br J Oral Maxillfac Surg 1984;22:138-45.

20. Bourne KZ, Bourne N, Reising SF, Stanberry LR. Plant products as topical microbicide candidates: assessment of in vitro and in vivo activity against herpes simplex virus type 2. Antiviral Research 1999;42:219-26.

21. Bourne KZ, Bourne N, Reising SF, Stanberry LR. Plant products as topical microbicide candidates: assessment of in vitro and in vivo activity against herpes simplex virus type 2. Antiviral Research 1999;42:219-26.

22. Cohen F, Kemeny ME, Kearney KA, et al. Persistent stress as a predictor of genital herpes recurrence. Arch Intern Med 1999;159:2430-6.

23. Rand KH, Hoon EF, Massey JK, Johnson JH. Daily stress and recurrence of genital herpes simplex. Arch Int Med 1990;150:1889-93.

24. Longo DJ, Clum GA, Yaeger NJ. Psychosocial treatment for recurrent genital herpes. J Consult Clin Psychol 1988;56:61-6.

25. Koehn KA, Burnette MM, Stark C. Applied relaxation training in the treatment of genital herpes. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry 1993;24:331-41.

26. Gould SS, Tissler DM. The use of hypnosis in the treatment of herpes simplex II. Am J Clin Hypn 1984;26:171-4.

27. Tankersley RW Jr. Amino acid requirements of herpes simplex virus in human cells. J Bacteriol 1964;87:609-13.

28. Algert SJ, Stubblefield NE, Grasse BJ, et al. Assessment of dietary intake of lysine and arginine in patients with herpes simplex. J Am Diet Assoc 1987:87:1560-1.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

Drugs used to treat GENITAL HERPES. Select drug name to view medication information and pricing