Genital Herpes Drugs – Do They Really Work?
What Is Genital Herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes virus. The disease is characterized by the formation of fluid-filled, painful blisters in the genital area. As well as the physical symptoms, sufferers also often experience considerable emotional distress.
Is There Any Cure?
Because herpes is a virus, it cannot be eradicated completely from the body or cured by antibiotics. However, the good news for sufferers is that effective treatments ARE available. The latest medications can hasten healing and reduce the risk of recurrence while they are being administered.
What Treatments Are Available?
Antiviral drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration that greatly reduce the frequency of outbreaks and shorten their duration and severity. These drugs may also have some effect in lessening the symptoms and decreasing the length of genital herpes outbreaks. There is evidence that some may also prevent future outbreaks. These antiviral drugs work by interfering with the replication of the viruses and are most effective when taken as early in the infection process as possible. For the best results, drug treatment should begin during the early stages of an outbreak before blisters are visible. Depending on the length of the outbreak, drug treatment could continue for up to 10 days. The anti-herpes drugs do not eliminate the virus and have no effect on the long term natural history of the disease.
How To Obtain Treatment
Sufferers should always visit their physician for proper diagnosis and medication. Several different drugs are available and a trial medication period of any particular drug may be required. Also, specific drugs may be recommended for persons with low immune systems or those suffering other complications (e.g. HIV positive).
Other Tips To Reduce Discomfort
1. Always keep lesions dry and clean.
2. Wrap some ice in a towel if herpes is developing but blisters have not yet appeared, applying it frequently to the tender areas for an hour may stop the blisters from forming.
3. Bathe in salt water – approximately 2 teaspoons of salt per litre of water.
4. Drink plenty of water.
5. If urination is painful, urinating in a hot bath or, for women, using both hands to separate the lips of the vulva to achieve a free stream of urine, preventing urine from touching the sores.
6. Wear loose, cotton underwear and avoid tight trousers.
7. Get plenty of rest.
8. Use pain relief such as aspirin and paracetamol.
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