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This article is co-written by Lacy Windham, MD. Dr. Wyndham is a Certified Tennessee Obstetrician-Gynecologist. She graduated from residency at West Virginia School of Medicine in 2010, where she received an award as the most outstanding resident.

The number of sources used in this article is 20. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

The disease that causes the herpes simplex virus is sexually transmitted. Treatment helps get rid of the symptoms of the disease, relieve pain and reduce the spread of infection, but it is impossible to completely recover from herpes. The virus remains hidden in the human body, but symptoms can return again and again. Read our article to find out if you have this disease.

1. Learn the basics

There are two types of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSV-2. The first is called the labial form, and its symptoms are called a cold on the lips. This is unpleasant and ugly, but quickly passes. It is transmitted through oral contact, that is, for example, through kisses or general hygienic lipstick. Also transmitted through oral sex. That is, if a cold on the lips of your girlfriend can go to the area

your genitals. It is this area that predominantly affects the second type of virus, HSV-2, which is called the genital form. It is transmitted mainly through sexual contact. According to Wreck, about 400 million people in the world are infected with this form, but 85% of them did not show symptoms. The main symptoms are pimples, itching and scabies in the groin, on the back and upper thighs, pain during urination, symptoms similar to flu.

2. Hand over the analysis

How do you know if you have cold sores if you have no symptoms? It is not easy to answer, since blood tests can give false-positive results. This is due to the fact that the virus itself is not in the blood, there can only be antibodies to it, which appear 12-16 weeks after infection. Therefore, doctors recommend taking a blood test only with a real suspicion of herpes, for example, after sexual contact with a person who has symptoms. A preventive vaccine for the virus does not yet exist.

In addition to a blood test, there is also an analysis for viral culture and DNA analysis. The first only works if the crop is removed from the pimple within 2 days from the moment it appears. And the effectiveness of this method worsens with each new outbreak. DNA analysis is more accurate and can determine the type of virus. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.

What effect does herpes have on the human body?

Transmission of a viral infection is carried out directly by contact, by airborne droplets, as well as through household items. Herpes infection passes through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, genitals and upper respiratory tract. Having overcome all tissue barriers, the infection enters the lymph and blood. Then it moves to the internal organs. Herpes penetrates the nerve endings, and then settles in the genetic apparatus of nerve cells. If this happens, it will be impossible to remove the infection from the body, and it will remain with the person for life.

The protective function of the body responds to infection by the production of specific antibodies that block a particle of the virus contained in the blood. The infection awakens in the cold seasons, with colds and hypovitaminosis. With the multiplication of herpes in the cell epithelium of the mucous membranes and skin, dystrophy develops, as a result of which the cells die. Herpes is a stimulating factor for the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease. This is because with infection of brain cells, the level of beta-amyloid increases. With this disease, 90% of plaques form in the brains of patients.

4. Avoid what causes symptoms

When you pick up herpes, he will wait for certain triggers in the nerve cells. If you avoid them, then the symptoms may never appear. Unfortunately, these triggers are common:

  • Sunlight - According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the onset of herpes symptoms in skiers is due to the amount of exposure to ultraviolet B, which negatively affects the immune system. Use a sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 30, being in the sun even in winter. And do not forget about the lips: for them, too, there is a special lipstick.
  • Stress - increases the level of the hormone cortisol, which weakens the immune system. There are tons of recipes to combat stress, but our favorite is a glass of red wine for dinner: according to Antiviral Research, the wine contains resveratrol, which protects against the labial form of herpes.
  • Visit to the dentist - “An injection in the oral cavity can cause the virus to be activated,” says Michael Siegel, head of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at the Faculty of Dentistry at Southeast University of Nova.

5. Get rid of the symptoms.

If symptoms appear, go to a doctor right away. The first outbreak is usually the strongest. Your doctor will prescribe antiviral drugs like acyclovir, famciclovir, or valaciclovir. They fight the virus by blocking its replication. If you strike on time, you can disrupt the usual development of symptoms: opened pimples will heal faster, but not opened can not open at all.

Causes of the disease

Herpes simplex virus infections are easily transmitted through direct contact with herpes simplex lesions or body fluids. Transmission can also occur with skin contact during an asymptomatic disease.

Other reasons include the following:

  • Kisses with an infected patient
  • Use of public toilets (when the toilets are not processed)
  • Frequent changes in sexual partners, as well as oral sex with a carrier of infection,
  • Overheating or hypothermia of the body,
  • Hygiene

Risk factors for children with HSV-1 infections include insufficient hygiene, birth in poorly developed countries, low social status, and overpopulation.

How to determine herpes or not?

To understand whether rashes in the form of vesicles are herpes, you need to carefully listen to your body. The first signs that herpes is already in a developmental stage are:

  • General malaise
  • Skin burning
  • Chills,
  • Weakness,
  • Acne
  • Burns
  • Allergic itching
  • Thrush (caused by Cand>

It is also necessary to pay attention to the emergence of a constant desire to scratch the skin of the lips. Under these circumstances, you need to quickly use an ointment or cream against herpes. Anxiety should also arise in the presence of even a small bubble containing liquid on the lip or body, as they have the ability to spread quite quickly.

The precursors of genital (genital) herpes include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Temperature 38-39 C,
  • Rapid urination
  • Itching and burning of the skin of the genitals,
  • Nausea,
  • Headache,
  • Numbness of the nape.

Before you sound the alarm, you first need to make sure that there are groups of vesicles filled with fluid in the genital mucosa, which become cloudy a few days later, then burst and, as a result, small sores form. They are covered with a crust, which after 7 days falls off on their own. Only the presence of such vesicles is indisputable evidence of the development of herpes in the intimate zone. Also, the occurrence of herpes can be recognized by the occurrence of characteristic symptoms for each species.

Virus classification

All varieties of herpes belong to the Herpeveridae family, which includes a large group of viruses (about 1000 individuals). Forms of herpes in humans can be caused only by 8 representatives of this family, which are able to disfigure the area of ​​the mouth with a rash, appear in the nose, in the mouth, on the genitals, affect the eyes or spread through the body. The location of the disease depends on the type of virus with which it is caused. Therefore, the classification of the pathogen.

As a result of studying the forms of herpes in humans, 8 of its species were distributed among 3 subfamilies.

The subfamily Gammaherpesvirinae includes 4 types of pathogens - these are viruses:

  • Epstein-Barra (4 type),
  • Type 6 virus (HHV-VI),
  • 7 type of virus (HHV-VII),
  • Type 8 virus (HHV-VIII).

They are united by a pronounced tropism for B or T-lymphocytes - this is when the internal tissues of the body or blood are deeply affected, but there is no external damage to the skin and mucous membranes.

Herpes simplex VPG-1, HSV-2

These 2 types of herpes simplex are dangerous to humans. They are also called a creeping lichen, a cold or herpes simplex. Bubbles can spread in the area:

  • Persons
  • Mucous membranes of the oral cavity, eyes (HSV-1),
  • The genitals and anus
  • Thigh
  • Lower abdomen (HSV-2).

Diseases can develop when it comes into contact with the skin or mucous membranes of the virus carrier. The causative agent can go to a healthy person with saliva during a kiss, as well as during oral sex. Sometimes HSV-1 can affect the organs of vision, the skin of the hands or the whole body. It poses a special danger to pregnant women, whose immune system weakens at that moment. Read more >> Herpes during pregnancy

HSV herpes can develop, regardless of age, but more often it occurs in children and, moreover, the symptoms are mild, and may even be absent.

Herpes simplex developmental stages

Herpes simplex in the course of its life goes through 4 stages:

  • Stage 1 - tingling. At this moment, the person feels that he is getting sick. The skin in the place where the “cold” will appear soon begins to itch, ache, nip, and blush. At this stage, it is possible to stop the further development of herpes if you use the drug based on acyclovir in time. With severe itching, it is recommended to take 1 tablet of paracetamol or aspirin,
  • 2 stage - inflammation. A small but painful vial begins to appear, filled with a clear liquid, which then becomes cloudy,
  • 3 stage - ulceration. The bubble bursts and the fluid, which consists of a billion virus particles, spills out and an ulcer forms in this place. The person at this stage is highly contagious
  • Stage 4 - scab formation. A crust forms over the ulcer; if it is damaged, bleeding and pain can occur.

It is better to prevent the development of herpes, for this you need to respond in time to the symptoms that portend it by taking appropriate measures.

1 virus type (Herpes Simplex Virus or HSV)

1. Herpes simplex virus type 1 - periodically causes rashes on the lips, in the mouth and in different parts of the face. Almost all children in the 1st year of life or infants at birth are infected with this virus.

2. Labial herpes type 1 - manifests itself as an accumulation of small vesicles filled with a cloudy liquid, which merge into 1 spot for a short time. It is contagious, transmitted by contact with the liquid contained in the vesicles or rash.

3. Herpes simplex type 1 - develops in similar places like the rest. Even before the appearance of the bubbles, tingling appears in the area of ​​the subsequent development of herpes, the temperature rises. The virus can through a towel, hands spread throughout the body. In this case, it will be possible to notice the development of genital herpes. If the pathogen enters the eyes, conjunctivitis will develop or ulcers will appear on the cornea. Herpes HSV - 1, once in the brain, causes enzifolite.

Type 2 virus (HSV-P)

The herpes simplex virus type 2 manifests itself, like others, in a rash, but in this case it occurs in the anus or genital area. Therefore, the disease is also called genital or genital herpes. It enters the body through sexual contact. It affects children in isolated cases. It affects mainly adult men and women.

Symptoms in infected patients do not always appear immediately. The disease often hides in the nerve endings of the spinal column or hides in the nerve ganglia. During a period of weakening of the protective function in humans, it is activated and makes itself felt in the form of a rash manifesting in the area of ​​the female or male genital organs.

Stages of development of genital (genital) herpes

Genital herpes can be primary - a person has not previously encountered a disease and recurrent - the disease does not appear first, depending on the duration of the person's infection with the herpes simplex virus. Signs and symptoms of genital herpes, respectively, will have differences:

  • 1st genital herpes - is asymptomatic. As a result, it leads to the hidden wearing of the virus or its transition to the stage of relapse. Primary herpes manifests itself from 1-10 days of the incubation period. Its exacerbation process is long and quite difficult,
  • Recurrent herpes - It may appear as an eruption, both from the outside of the genitals, hips, legs, and the inside (in the vagina, urethra). Often herpes in the intimate zone appears in women before menstruation. He is also characterized by symptoms that are manifested by a bubble rash in and around the rectum.

Often, in men, constant colds, infertility, prostatitis, recurrent urethritis, aches and pains in the lumbar region are provoked by the active course of the latent primary form of genital herpes, which can only be detected in a laboratory study. The most dangerous stage is considered to be the primary stage, as a person does not know that he is a carrier of infection and continues to have sexual contact with partners, infecting them.

Type 3 - Zoster virus (HHV-W)

Herpes of this type is caused by shingles on the body, head, face, arm or leg and often proceeds with complications. It mainly affects 1 side. Symptoms of the Zoster virus are:

  • Groups of vesicles passing along the line of the trigeminal nerve,
  • Hyperemia of the skin,
  • Chills,
  • Groundless, sharp increase in temperature from 38-39 C,
  • Dull tingling and pain in places where the rash wants to manifest.

It is also the causative agent in children with chickenpox. This type of herpes is contagious during reactivation, but it can only be transmitted to those who have not had chickenpox in childhood. Infection occurs during contact with the skin of a patient infected with Varicella zoster virus during an exacerbation of their disease. Usually chicken pox is not a second time, but sometimes the virus can be activated, which occurs when immunity decreases with various diseases, and it can also appear against the background of a blood disease, with pneumonia, or due to the development of oncology.

4th type - Epstein-Barra virus (HHV-IV)

Quite a dangerous type, for people of any age category. When falling into a child’s body with air through the nose, throat, through the mouth with saliva, and even as a result of a handshake, it can provoke the development of serious diseases, and may not cause harm at all. This species is included in the group of contagious infections and a person who has received primary infection may not notice the disease, spreading it to healthy people.

You can detect the disease by the results of the tests and the following symptoms:

  • An increase in the size of the liver,
  • Swelling of the tonsils,
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A sore throat,
  • Increased sweating
  • Temperature 40C
  • Chills.

Herpes of the 4th degree can cause the development of cancer, hepatitis, mononucleosis, herpetic sore throat.

Type 5 - Cytomegalovirus (HHV-V)

This type does not pose any danger to people with good immunity. It is typical for people who have undergone complex operations, patients with AIDS and cancer. This virus, even when activated, hardly affects the skin, but its destructive effect is noticeable on the internal organs. For newborns can be fatal.

6 type of herpes, for children and adults (HHV-VI)

Type 6 virus is of 2 types.

It can affect T cells. For a healthy person, it is practically harmless, and with a weakened protective function of the body, it can cause, in particular, the development of pneumonia, meningoencephalitis, myocarditis, and also epilepsy in children, which occurs as a complication of the disease. In especially severe cases, lymphogranulomatosis, lymphadenopathy, which can become harbingers of AIDS, can develop. This virus can also cause hypersensitivity to medications, and even cause eosinophilia.

Herpes of the 6th type is transmitted from adults to children mainly by airborne droplets. Infection occurs in childhood, but if the child has maternal antibodies in the body, it does not even cause a rash, as well as adults, with a healthy immune system, it almost never bothers with its relapses.

Symptoms of the disease are always well defined, but sometimes they are confused with other diseases. When the virus is in the activation stage, the following occurs:

  1. The temperature rises to around 39-40 C,
  2. There is intoxication,
  3. After 3 days, an uneven rash forms,
  4. Added to all is weakness and general fatigue.

This type of virus makes itself felt only by the manifestation of a fever, as a result of which febrile convulsions occur, however, a rash does not form.

7 type of herpes (HHV-VII)

The virus of this type is not well understood, since it has been known since 1990. Однако встречается часто, но причиной возникновения заболеваний становится редко. О его присутствии можно узнать из анализа крови и слюны, он имеет сходства с цитомегаловирусом.In the body most often lives with type 6 virus, causing the patient a chronic fatigue syndrome and unpleasant feelings.

The main symptoms of activation are:

  • Dullness of intellectual abilities,
  • Distraction
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Baseless fever
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes,
  • Memory impairment

Herpes Type 8 (HHV-VIII)

Herpes of the 8th type is directly related to the development of Kaposi's sarcoma. It is activated in extreme cases. It can occur in patients infected with HIV, AIDS, as well as in the presence of cancer, affecting lymphocytes. In addition to Kaposi’s sarcoma, it can cause Castleman’s disease, myeloma and lymphoma.

Symptoms of such herpes practically do not appear. It is detected due to the detection of the above diseases.


Such complications appear as a result of improper or untimely treatment, as well as in its absence. In this case, the virus, during development, can spread to internal organs (brain, liver, esophagus, bronchi, lungs). Often herpes hides under the accompanying chronic conditions.

Complications after genital herpes, depends on the place of its localization.

Pregnancy Complications

For pregnant women - this is especially dangerous in the 1st and 3rd trimesters, as well as during breastfeeding. This is explained by the high risk of infection of the fetus, as a result of which the following pathological processes may occur in relation to it:

  • Outward ugliness
  • Violation of the development of internal organs,
  • CNS damage
  • Epilepsy,
  • Deafness,
  • Blindness,
  • Lingering jaundice
  • Heart disease,
  • Hemorrhagic syndrome,
  • Death at birth
  • Intrauterine fetal death.

A more common complication is the latter, which occurs in the 1st trimester. Pregnancy can be frozen, even if its beginning was successful. If this happens, a woman may have:

  1. Bleeding, thrombosis,
  2. Inflammation of the endometrium.

The main thing is to timely detect the absence of embryo development. The extraction proceeds through vacuum extraction, which is carried out under general anesthesia. Often the method of scraping, or curettage, becomes appropriate.

Complications for Men

With the development of herpes in the structures of the small pelvis of men, complications such as:

  • Pelvic sympathy,
  • Neuritis
  • Persistent pain syndrome
  • Prostate cancer.

After herpes zoster complications can be in the form of: sensation of pain at the site of herpes localization, weakness and insomnia. Nerve stress and fever persist even after healing of the ulcers throughout the year.


Non-specific complications are caused by the addition of a bacterial or extraneous viral infection to herpes. Such complications, after a virus transferred by a person, are sometimes accompanied by pneumonia. Moreover, the probability of such events is very high, since during an exacerbation of the disease, immunity is greatly reduced. In this regard, the body is not able to resist other diseases, such as:

  1. Alzheimer's disease,
  2. Encephalitis,
  3. Meningitis,
  4. Rheumatoid arthritis,
  5. Malfunctions of the nervous system, heart, blood vessels.


The study of the patient is prescribed directly by the doctor. It determines the presence of herpetic infection visually. Laboratory studies are carried out to identify the virus that has been associated with the development of the disease, which is necessary for adequate treatment. For this, laboratory research methods are prescribed to determine:

  1. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Detects elements of the virus in human blood,
  2. Immunofluorescence Reaction (RIF).

Other metadas include:

  1. The HSV test is an immuno-specific G-specific glycoprotein. In 98%, it is guaranteed that it correctly determines the virus and the type of herpes,
  2. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) - a method by which the virus, macromolecules and other compounds are detected. The basis of this method is the antigen-antibody reaction. Using a special enzyme, the resulting complex (antigen-antibody) is isolated.

The body after infection with the herpes virus reacts with the formation of antibodies to it, which are called immunoglobulins. They come in IgG class and IgM class.

  • IgG - are formed in the blood during the course of herpes in a chronic form. If the virus is activated, the composition of immunoglobulins increases sharply. There are also: IgG to early proteins, which appear a little later than IgM. They also indicate the activation of the chronic period or already in the acute period of the course of the disease,
  • IgM - formed in the blood within 1 or 2 weeks from the moment of infection with the virus. IgM experts call the indicator of primary infection, but in 20% of patients, viruses of this class are detected during the period of activation of the old infection.

There are 2 ELISA methods that determine the herpes virus:

  1. Qualitative - according to it, determine the type of virus, the presence of antibodies, the possibility of developing previous relapses,
  2. Quantitative - makes it possible to identify the titer of antibodies, and most importantly, the state of the immune system against the virus. An overestimated titer of antibodies mainly indicates a recent relapse of the disease.

Deciphering a blood test for herpes:

IgM indicators, where + the result is positive, - negativeIgG indicators, where + the result is positive, - negativeOutput
IgM -to early proteins IgG +, late +Acute primary infection or relapse
IgM -to early proteins IgG -, late +There is immunity to the herpes virus in the body (carriage)
IgM +to early protein IgG +, late -Primary acute infection
IgM +to early protein IgG + late +Primary acute infection
IgM -to early IgG proteins - late -No viral infection

According to this table, you can compare the results of the analyzes and get a complete picture of their value.

In most cases, the diagnosis of simple and genital herpes in an intimate place is not difficult only on the basis of visible signs and the nature of the development of the disease.

Herpes Nutrition

In order to overcome the disease, it is necessary to strengthen the immune system - this will provide great support to the body. To this end, you need to adhere to an adapted diet. Vitamins A, C, E, zinc and lysine will help boost the immune system. The patient's diet should contain a sufficient amount of protein and plenty of drink. Liquid will help rid the body of toxins and harmful substances. Fats of animal origin will have to be excluded from the diet, and ordinary tea should be replaced with herbal.

Extremely undesirable include:

  • Strong tea and coffee
  • Grapes (fresh and dried),
  • Confectionery,
  • Sugar.

The patient’s daily menu should look like this:

1st breakfastOatmeal porridge with fresh berries + a slice of bread and tea with milk
2nd breakfastMineral water in any quantity + green apple
DinnerChicken stock noodle broth + fish steaks with boiled potatoes + fresh berry compote
High teaBanana + Classic Yogurt
DinnerBoiled chicken + mushroom vegetable stew + fruit juice, a slice of bread
Before bedtimeYogurt or kefir

Disease treatment

Currently, no guaranteed cure for herpes virus has been found. However, there are drugs that, with regular use, can suppress the symptoms of the virus. The most effective drugs include:

For the treatment of herpes simplex, the following are effectively used: Flavoside (syrup) and Proteflazide (drops),

Acyclovir (Zovirax, Zovirax) - an antiviral drug that prevents the reproduction and development of the virus in cells. Available in the form of: solution for injection, cream, tablets. Its cost is relatively low. Effective for almost all patients

Panavir (Panavir) - BIO - a polysaccharide of plant origin, belonging to the class of hexose glycosides. In a short time (2 days) relieves burning, itching, pain. It exhibits antiviral polyvalent activity. For complex therapy, local and systemic forms of the drug have been developed: gel, rectal suppositories, solution for intravenous administration. The drug is not toxic, the period of remission increases by 3 times or more,

Famciclovir (Famvir, Famvir) is an oral form of the drug Penciclovir, which is effective against the Herpes simplex and Herpes zoster virus strains, as well as those with altered DNA polymerase and resistant to Acyclovir. By the principle of action, it is similar to Valtrex and Acyclovir. The drug is highly effective,

Valacyclovir (Valtrex, Valtrex) - has high efficiency. It differs from Acyclovir only in the delivery method. Fully inhibits the biological activity and symptoms of the virus. It blocks its reproduction, and also prevents the transmission of infection to partners upon contact. Today, this drug is the most popular in the treatment of herpes.

Drugs for the treatment of herpes should be prescribed directly by the attending physician, since self-medication may not be effective and lead to complications.


Everyone can reduce the percentage of the likelihood of a disease if they follow the following rules:

  • Keep calm as much as possible in stressful situations,
  • Eat properly, take vitamins or get them with food, to maintain immunity,
  • Regularly disinfect the toilet,
  • Use various methods of contraception,
  • If genital herpes occurs, refrain from sexual intercourse,
  • Follow all hygiene rules: wash hands, use personal hygiene products.

These simple rules can prevent such an unpleasant disease as Herpes.

From the foregoing, it can be concluded that a herpes infection can cause a lot of harm to the human body, regardless of gender and age. Therefore, if a disease manifests itself, you should immediately consult a doctor in order to receive adequate treatment. Herpes can not be ignored, the consequences can be very unpleasant.

All information is provided for informational purposes only. And it is not an instruction for self-treatment. If you feel unwell, consult a doctor.