Genital herpes is not yet curable. That said, there is a variety of herpes medication that works by lessening the length and recurrence rate of herpes symptoms. Your herpes treatment is determined by your primary physician based on numerous factors.
Your First Herpes Outbreak
Your first genital herpes outbreak tends to be the most severe, accompanied by numerous symptoms such as a fever and lethargy. Outbreaks that come after the initial one are typically much less severe and painful.
Frequency of Outbreaks
Patients who experience outbreaks frequently should discuss their long-term treatment options (suppressive medications) with their primary physician to prevent recurrences.
Herpes and Your Immune System
Individuals with genital herpes who have received an organ transplant or are on immunosuppressive agents to combat HIV/AIDS or leukemia run a higher risk of experiencing serious herpes-related infections. People over a certain age should also be proactive in getting ongoing treatment as the immune system weakens with age.
Herpes and Pregnancy
Women who have genital herpes are monitored thoroughly for any signs and symptoms of herpes before childbirth. If you exhibit any signs that point to a forthcoming outbreak, their OB/GYN may recommend a C-section. Women who are on antiviral medications must talk to their primary physician as to whether their use of these drugs is safe while pregnant.
There are three commonly used medications to keep genital herpes symptoms under control and prevent frequent outbreaks. These medications are acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.
Acyclovir is known to cause side effects such as stomach pain, diarrhea, a decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness, and lethargy. Famciclovir may cause diarrhea, nausea, headaches, and loss of energy. Finally, valacyclovir may cause side effects such as headaches, lethargy, lightheadedness, nausea, and vomiting. These medications may be problematic for individuals with kidney disease or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Your primary physician can carefully evaluate your situation and risk factors to determine the right course of treatment.
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