Genital herpes are also commonly known as HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus – Type 2). This is a sexually transmitted viral infection that can be triggered when one comes into contact with an infected person through oral sex, anal sex or normal sexual intercourse. The virus gains access into the body via microscopic tears. The instant the virus gains access into the body, it is transmitted to the nerve roots close to the spinal cord. The virus then stays dormant in that same position for as long as the person is alive.
When there is an outbreak, the virus is then transmitted from the nerve roots to the nerve fibers where the infection originally occurred. When the infection reaches the skin, one may notice sores and blisters around the affected area. Once the original outbreak has cleared, recurrent outbreaks may occur once in a while. Recurrence can be weekly or several years apart.
What Triggers Genital Herpes?
As pointed out earlier, there are generally two types of herpes which are commonly linked to genital lesions. These are:
– HSV-1 (Herpes Simplex Virus – Type 1).
– HSV-2 (Herpes Simplex Virus – Type 2).
Herpes simplex virus – type 1 is known to trigger sore and blisters in the mouth, and as such is commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. On the other hand, herpes simplex virus – type 2 triggers blisters and sores in the genital area. Persons who usually engage in anal sex may also notice lesions around the anal area. Herpes outbreaks are widely linked to the immune system. When the immune system starts to weaken, one may start to notice the signs and symptoms since the virus stays dormant in the body. Women who are at an increased risk of suffering from genital herpes are:
– Women who have multiple sexual partners and do little to safeguard themselves from acquiring STIs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).
– Women who have suppressed their immune system as a result of taking medications such as contraceptives.
– Women who constantly suffer from emotional and physical stress.
According to a recent study that was released by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), it is believed that there are roughly 50 million individuals in the US, majorities of whom are women that suffer from genital herpes. Genital herpes is mainly spread from one person to the other primarily through sexual contact with an infected person. The study went further to reveal that roughly 60% of adults who are sexually active are carriers of the virus.
One of the reasons why there are high numbers of people suffering from genital herpes is because majorities of women infected with HSV-2 do not even know that they are carriers. Due to lack of symptoms or less signs showing up, most women do not know that they are infected. In most women, the signs are quite mild and tend to clear after a couple of days. The situation is complicated further by the fact that there are fewer indicators as well as outbreaks the longer the virus stays dormant in a woman. Then again, the virus can be cleared from the cervical area and into the vaginal area in a number of women who do not experience the signs and symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
According to the CDC, infection rate can be controlled and curbed if only people took time to learn more about the signs and symptoms. The signs and symptoms of HSV-2 are similar in both men and women. Once the virus gets into the body, it stays incubated for a couple of days prior to the lesions developing. During the seven days the virus is dormant, there are no signs and symptoms and as such, transmission cannot take place. An outbreak will occur, roughly 2 weeks after the actual infection.
The signs and symptoms of genital herpes in women include formation of small, fluid-like sores and blisters on the vaginal area.