Genital herpes (genital herpes)
Cause of genital herpes (genital herpes) is an infection with certain herpesviruses. The viruses remain in the body for life, so that the disease can break out again under certain circumstances.
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a viral infection caused by certain herpesviruses arises and can occur both in men and in women. The main causative agent, the herpes simplex virus type 2, is mainly transmitted through sexual contact.
Infection with herpes simplex virus is known colloquially frequently briefly as herpes:
Genital herpes is one of the most common STDs (Also called STI for English. Sexually transmitted infections). About 10 to 30 percent of men and women are 2 (HSV-2) infected with the herpes simplex virus type that is mainly responsible for herpes genitals worldwide.
Infection with the herpes simplex virus type 1 are more common: Up to 90 percent of the population are affected. However, Type 1 is rarely the cause of genital herpes, but more often the cause of cold sores.
are the cause of genital herpes Herpes simplex virus:
In addition to the herpes simplex virus, there are other types of herpesviruses, which can make people sick. Thus, besides herpes labialis and genital herpes for example, herpes zoster, also known as shingles. The causative agent of shingles is varicella zoster, and also one of the herpesviruses.
At the time at which a genital herpes makes its appearance, the infection may have passed some time with the viruses. This is because the initial infection with the Herpes Virus Type 1 or 2 - similar to the cold sores - often unnoticed runs.
The invading herpes viruses enter from the site of initial infection (e.g. mucosa of the genitals or oral mucosa) through the Nervenleitbahnen (axons) to the associated ganglia (ganglion), and also infect him.
During the first week of a genital herpes infection, the immune system, both the pathogen eliminated in the mucosa and in a part of the infected nerve cells. However, the genetic material (DNA) of herpes viruses hiding in the nucleus of nerve cells. This is the reason for this is that the immune system does not recognize the viral DNA and thus can not attack. Thus, the virus DNA for life to survive in the nerve produce and other herpes viruses.
Once the weakened immune system is to reactivate the viral DNA - and produced in the infected cells number of new viruses. There is a second infection, The manifests itself usually with typical symptoms.
The reactivation of the virus can different causes to have. It can be triggered by, for example:
Genital herpes can transmitted in several ways are, depending on which type of virus is the cause of the disease. Close contact with other people is but always in the game:
Many infections with genital herpes by HSV-2 arise in adolescence or later. Because sexual contact with a person who suffers from genital herpes, are the biggest risk factor.
With HSV-1 the victims themselves stuck often at an early age. The reasons for this are parent-child contacts close contact with siblings or playmates.
The liquid, which is located in the cold sore is, highly contagious. Burst the bubbles, they spread - the risk of infection is now particularly high.
But even if the sores are healed, you can be infected, such as through contact with
- because the virus can remain in the infected areas. At the intercourse the virus can enter the body through mucous membranes or through small skin lesions. Also at Oral Sex is an infection possible: cold sore on the lips can get to the genitals - or vice versa.
In rare cases, the genital herpes virus can also during birth transferred to the child, especially if the mother goes through a primary infection during pregnancy.
Genital herpes can completely without symptoms or very mild run, so that the disease goes unnoticed. Some patients carry the virus, but never have symptoms of genital herpes.
In others, the symptoms occur only long time after infection when the immune system is weakened. The symptoms then are similar to those of cold sores.
Genital herpes affects, as the name suggests, Region of the genitals, both in men and in women. Since genital herpes is transmitted during sexual contact, predominantly penis, vagina and anus are affected and adjacent areas. The skin is then irritated, hypersensitive and itchy.
A typical symptom of genital herpes form painful sores with purulent, encrusted surfaces. Also, water retention in the tissues (edema) or a glassy discharge can count on the complaints. In some cases, the adjacent lymph nodes are swollen with a genital herpes.
Among other possible symptoms:
Within about two to three weeks, the sores heal. Since the viruses remain in the body even after healing of the sores, the disease can again occur (So-called. Relapse).
Often genital herpes is not recognized, because the infection can pass without any symptoms or mild so with the herpes simplex virus that those affected do not notice any symptoms.
If the genital herpes makes its appearance, the doctor can diagnosis usually already make reference to the typical changes: Inflammatory blisters on the genitals clearly indicate genital herpes.
Whether the herpes simplex virus is responsible of type 1 or 2 for the genital herpes, one can not determine the diagnosis based on the externally visible signs.
To the to determine causative agent of genital herpes, Therefore, the physician sends bubbles content, or mucosal swabs or tissue samples (biopsy) to the lab. There it is possible, the genetic material (DNA) evidence of the causal virus. Also found in an infection in the blood antibodies against the virus.
Genital herpes is treated depending on the severity of symptoms. On limited herpes infection the skin or mucous membranes can usually untreated Me and subsides after a while by itself.
Power of genital herpes treatment required, it is primarily about the curb infection and the relieve discomfort.
In the case of genital herpes virus-inflammatory drugs (So-called antivirals.) Such as acyclovir or famciclovir used: This prescription remedies act against genital herpes, by preventing that increase the herpes viruses, and thus ensure that the blisters heal faster. The sooner they are used, the more effective are these funds.
However, the herpes viruses do not disappear by this drug therapy: You last a lifetime in the body, so that the genital herpes can erupt at any time again.
In which form You get the virus-inhibiting drugs for genital herpes treatment depends on the extent of the infection:
Causes of genital herpes severe pain, pain relievers can help with the drug diclofenac. Even ointments, which numb the painful area can be helpful.
Develops next to the genital herpes also a bacterial infection, antibiotics and locally disinfecting measures may be necessary.
at pregnant, shortly before or during birth have genital herpes, a caesarean section may be useful to ensure that the virus is not transmitted to the child during birth. If necessary, the doctor administered to the newborn a cure for the virus, if it is suspected that the baby could have been infected.
Pregnant women who had a genital herpes before should discuss this with their doctor because the viruses remain in the body for life and the infection may break out again and again.
Genital herpes can take one individually very different course, heals in most cases, but within two to three weeks again. However, the herpes can genital reoccur again and again even after his healing. Because the causative herpesvirus may live long in the body. Such new cases (so-called recurrences) are more common than type 1 upon infection with the herpes simplex virus type 2 - is the risk for type 2 about 60 to 70 percent.
A genital herpes genital herpes can in the course various complications entail:
If you already carry the causative agent of genital herpes in, you can a largely prevent the outbreak, by avoiding factors that favor the occurrence. The following tips may help:
Nevertheless, a genital herpes sometimes breaks out for no apparent reason. In this case:
If one partner shows symptoms, you can reduce your risk of infection by temporarily without intercourse. With blisters on the lips, it is advisable to avoid oral sex.
Since the genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, you can also during intercourse by condoms effectively protect against infection.