Healthy Living

Are There Effective Treatments For Genital Herpes?

Are There Effective Treatments For Genital Herpes?

Key Takeaways

  • Antiviral medications such as acyclovir are usually recommended during a primary infection. 
  • Antiviral drugs prevent the virus from replicating, thereby also reducing viral shedding.
  • Apart from antiviral therapy, you can also benefit from alternative treatments. 

While there is no cure for genital herpes, there are several treatments that may be effective in providing relief for symptoms. Treatment is not only aimed at relieving symptoms but also helps to reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Certain treatments may even reduce the chances of transmitting genital herpes to a sex partner.

Effective treatments for genital herpes include:

Antiviral Drugs

Antiviral medications such as acyclovir are usually recommended during a primary infection. After the infection has subsided, a daily dosage can be taken to reduce the frequency and severity of future outbreaks. Researchers have shown that a daily dosage of these anti-viral medications can reduce the risk of transmitting genital herpes. Other anti-viral medications that can be used include valacyclovir and famciclovir. These medications are usually taken in tablet form. For severe cases of genital herpes, anti-viral medications may be administered intravenously.

Another benefit of taking anti-viral drugs is that they reduce viral shedding, consequently reducing the risk of transmitting genital herpes to a sexual partner. During shedding, the herpes simplex virus replicates on the skin, thus allowing new viruses to be easily spread once a person comes in contact with the skin of a person with genital herpes. Antiviral drugs prevent the virus from replicating, thereby also reducing viral shedding.

Anti-viral therapy can be divided into two kinds: episodic and suppressive. Episodic therapy involves administering anti-viral medications during the initial symptoms of a primary infection. Although these symptoms can resolve on their own without treatment, using anti-viral drugs can increase the rate at which symptoms disappear. Anti-viral medications are usually administered for five days during episodic therapy. Suppressive therapy consists of administering a daily dosage of anti-viral medication. This keeps the virus from replicating and reduces the chances of transmitting genital herpes.

Apart from antiviral therapy, you can also benefit from alternative treatments. These consist mostly in using herbs or plant extracts. There are several alternative treatments. They may include:

Plant Extracts

These include extracts of Prunella valgaris, aloe vera, St John's wort and Echinacea. These plants may help to fight the herpes simplex virus by enhancing the immune system’s ability to combat infections.

Propolis

Propolis is a waxy substance that is produced by bees that is believed to have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Propolis is available in tablet, capsule and liquid form. It is also available as a cream and ointment. It can be applied to the skin and speeds up the rate at which the blisters and wounds heal.

Honey

Honey promotes the healing of sores when applied to the skin. This is due to the ability of honey to absorb fluid from sores, making the skin dry, a property which speeds the rate of healing. It also helps to boost the immune system. Honey also prevents the sores from being infected with bacteria by as it provides a protective barrier. Honey may also reduce the number of recurrent infections of genital herpes.

Painkillers

Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen for pain management. Another painkiller that can be used is acetaminophen.

Supplements

Supplements of lysine and vitamin C may also be used. These may reduce the duration of symptoms during an outburst.

Living a healthy lifestyle may also help improve the symptoms of genital herpes. Avoiding factors that trigger outbreaks such as stress may also help in reducing the number of outbursts per year.