Women and genital herpes

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Genital herpes is the most common chronic sexually transmitted disease in our country and as many as 5 million British women are believed to be carrying the herpes simpex virus or antibodies against the virus. Genital herpes (hsv 2) only causes symptoms in about 25% of the infected women, which means that there are about 1,25 million women in the UK who experience regular outbreaks of herpes that cause sores in the pubic area.

Herpes outbreaks reoccur regularly
Outbreaks of genital herpes typically reoccur 3-4 times each year in individuals who have been carrying the virus for 1-5 years. After that the outbreaks typically occur about once a year. Persons who have had an infection for many decades usually experience outbreaks only when exposed to heavy sunlight during holiday trips, and when their general condition is weak. It is not possible to cure herpes. However, herpes can be treated with antiviral medicines developed especially for dealing with the herpes virus. This will offer some relief and may prevent further outbreaks.

The immune system determines your herpes symptoms
Genital herpes and the herpes virus generally infect both men and women, and neither one of the sexes is more likely to get infected or more resistant to infections. Anyone can carry the virus, but like many other viral infections, not all infected persons show common symptoms such as blisters and sores. The reason why a person can carry the virus and still have no symptoms is related to the immune system. Some of us are capable of dealing with certain viral attacks, and the virus can be held under constant control by the immune system.

Symptoms in women infected with genital herpes
Symptoms normally start to appear in about two weeks after exposure to the virus. The infection is almost exclusively transmitted through sexual intercourse with an infected person who has visible sores in the genital area. However, it is possible to get infected by a person without visible sores who is carrying the virus.

Herpes genital women

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Genital herpes female

The first outbreak for women is typically associated with sore groins, a feverish sensation in the body and a general feeling of being unwell for a day or two. Burning pain around the opening of the vagina is common, and there may be a feeling of a small lump under the skin where the blisters are about to appear. After a few days, fluid-filled blisters will occur, usually around the vaginal opening. The pain may be rather severe, especially in the initial phase of blister formation. The blisters burst after a few days and start weeping pus. A sore appears and there will be pus weeping out regularly during 3-7 days before the sore starts to heal. During the phase when the sore is leaking pus, the risk of infecting other people is very high if the skin comes into direct contact with fresh pus. The sore should be almost completely healed in about two weeks after the infection has started.