The Short And Long Term Effects Of Genital Herpes

Understanding the short- and long-term effects of genital herpes can help you understand the behavior of this virus, its transmission and the associated risks involved.

The Early Stages of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes follows no established pattern of behavior. Sometimes the virus is contracted and will lay dormant for years before the first outbreak becomes visible. Other times, outbreaks occur right away, between two and 14 days after the virus is contracted.
The initial outbreak is usually the most severe. Subsequent outbreaks may occur but will usually be less painful, and fewer ulcers will be present. In the first year after contracting the herpes simplex virus you may have up to five or six outbreaks. The frequency of outbreaks will typically decrease over time.
Sometimes subsequent outbreaks do not appear, but this doesn’t mean the virus is no longer present. Herpes is an incurable virus that affects those who have it for their entire lives.

Long-Term Effects of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes usually causes recurrent genital ulcers, or sores, that may be painful. You may experience discomfort walking or sitting, although the severity and pain of outbreaks is likely to decrease over time.
Because of the stigma associated with genital herpes, many people experience psychological distress as a result of diagnosis. In some cases, a therapist may help you in coping with genital herpes.
Your doctor can prescribe an oral medication to help suppress outbreaks and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to a partner. Side effects of herpes treatments like these include fatigue, headache, nausea and rashes. More severe side effects include tremors and seizure.
Genital herpes can be severe in people who have suppressed immune systems. Individuals who suffer from genital herpes may have an increased chance of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), because the open sores caused by herpes provide a port of entry for this blood-borne virus.

Pregnancy with Genital Herpes

Genital herpes can cause fatal infections in newborn babies who do not yet have antibodies to protect them. Fortunately this occurrence is rare, but women who have genital herpes are often recommended by doctors to undergo a cesarean section to further reduce the risk.
Women who are pregnant should take all precautions to avoid contracting genital herpes because a first episode of the virus can cause a greater risk of transmission to the baby. If a woman has active genital herpes at delivery, a cesarean section is usually performed. Make sure you and your doctor fully discuss the risks of child bearing with genital herpes.