Genital herpes is an infection by the virus called herpes simplex virus or HSV. This virus is transmitted through contact with the mucus lining of the vagina and enters the body through tiny breaks in the skin or mucus membranes. This virus travels to the nerve roots near the spinal cord and settles there in an inactive state. During a recurrent phase, the virus travels to the skin. It is a common sexually transmitted disease and can affect women more commonly than men causing pain, sores and itching in the genital region. The main way of the spread of this virus is by sexual contact.
The cause of genital herpes in women is the two types of herpes simplex virus infections:
1. HSV type 1 – This herpes simplex virus causes blisters and sores around the mouth which can be transmitted to the genital area during oral sex.
2. HSV type 2 – This type of virus causes herpes and spreads through sexual contact or skin to skin contact. It is a common type of virus which is very contagious.
Genital herpes in women may not show symptoms or any signs after infecting. The symptoms may be mild and therefore be unnoticeable. Some of the symptoms of genital herpes in women are appearance of small blisters, vaginal discharge, bumps or ulcers in the genital area, itching sensation or pain near your genital region. Pain and itching is normally the first symptom and then small bumps may appear. When these blisters break, they become ulcers and can bleed. Then they start healing forming scabs. Genital herpes in women causes these bumps to appear in the vaginal area, buttocks, cervix, external genitals or anus. These sores may make it difficult to pass urine causing pain and sensitivity. During the herpes outbreak, one may experience fever, muscle ache and headache.
The doctor may conduct a physical exam and do tests like viral culture, PCR test and blood tests to diagnose the condition of genital herpes. The treatments for genital herpes in women may include oral medication which is antiviral. There is no cure for this condition but with the treatment, it may help to heal the sores sooner, it may reduce the severity of the outbreak, lessen the frequency of reoccurrences, decrease the duration of the symptoms and lessen the chances of transmitting this virus to somebody else. The three drugs available to treat genital herpes in women are Zoviraz, Famvir and Valtrex. Valtrex and Famvir can be used to treat recurrent episodes whereas Zoviraz is useful for treating the initial and recurrent episodes of this condition.
Genital herpes in women can result in the risk of getting other sexually transmitted diseases and can spread the infection to her baby if she is pregnant. It may also lead to problems in the urinary system of the women. One can avoid the spread of this herpes and help in healing by keeping the affected region dry and clean. Do not touch the blisters or sores and if you do, immediately wash your hands. Avoid sexual contact when you notice the symptoms.