If I have it, how do I manage it? Tradionally?

While currently there is no cure for genital herpes, there are very effective drugs available as well as lifestyle modifications that can help treat an outbreak. Treatment options include episodic therapy (treating occuring outbreaks), suppressive therapy (suppressing outbreaks before they occur) and alternative, homeopathic treatments. Homeopathit treatments will be covered in its own section.

Episodic Therapy
After you've been diagnosed with genital herpes, your doctor may prescribe acyclovir capsules (Zovirax), valacyclovir tablets (Valtrex), or famciclovir tablets (Famvir). Using these drugs during an outbreak (episodic therapy) works by disrupting the process by which the herpes virus replicates and spreads to other cells. Your doctor will help you decide which option might be best for you.

In addition to oral medication, topical prescription creams are also available. While topical medications don't treat the nerve cells where the virus lives, they can help soothe or lessen the severity of symptoms on the skin. As always, consult your doctor to find the best option for you.

These prescriptions are the "heavy guns" and should help your body fight off the outbreak in less time than it would take your body on its own. But almost as crucial to a quick recovery is plenty of rest.

Keep the infected area as clean and dry as possible. Warm, not hot, baths or showers are recommended. Excessive heat can further aggravate the lesions. After bathing, dry the area gently and thoroughly with a towel and it's recommended to finish drying the area with a hair dryer on a low setting - to remove as much moisture from the area as possible. Avoid tight-fitting undergarments and choose breatheable fabrics that help keep the genital area free of moisture.

Suppressive Therapy
It's possible to suppress the herpes virus by taking an oral medication daily, which like episodic therapy, disrupts the process by which the herpes virus replicates and spreads to other cells. Acyclovir and famciclovir require multiple pills daily, while valacyclovir requires only one pill daily. Some people can go up to six months or longer without an outbreak while using suppressive therapy.

However, no drug has been proven to completely prevent the spread of herpes. It's best to always use a condom, and to avoid all sexual contact (with infected region(s)) during an outbreak.

Episodic Therapy

Suppressive Therapy

  Zovirax and Valtrex are registered trademarks of Glaxo Wellcome, Inc.
Famvir is a registered trademark of SmithKline Beecham Pharmeceuticals.
 
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