An old friend – herpes

Health Tips

Most people know about herpes today. In the 20th century, it turned from an inconspicuous companion of colds and fevers into a formidable disease, and with this reputation it gradually moved into the 21st century. Moreover, herpes has many faces, and in the age of the sexual revolution, he fully revealed his second face – the genital form. Genital herpes has become one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). And, alas, women suffer from it twice as often as men.

Herpes (including its genital form) has been our constant “roommate” for at least two millennia. This is exactly the age of the first mention of the “fever”. For many centuries, genital herpes has remained a rather rare disease, because the main way of its spread is sexual contact. And a person infected with genital herpes is practically deprived of the opportunity to have sex because of the soreness of the affected mucous membranes. Thus, there was a kind of natural isolation of a sick person from healthy people.

But the situation has become more complicated in recent decades. Why? The mass nature of the incidence of herpes in recent years depends on many worsened factors. Bad environment means weakened immune system. Social cataclysms – falling living standards – spitting on personal hygiene. Sexual permissiveness is the flowering of all STDs, including herpes.

But the herpes itself, of course, did not doze off all the years. He, like the flu, developed, acquired new, more dangerous forms and varieties, adapted to medicines. The main trouble of herpes today is that now it is most often disguised as other diseases. It can manifest itself as urethritis or prostatitis in men, in the form of inflammation of the rectum or organs of the genitourinary system in women. And for years a person can be treated not for what he is sick with (if he is going to be treated at all, which is, in fact, unusual for our frivolous population).

However, it would be useful to list symptoms that should alert you and become a reason for a visit to the doctor. So, genital herpes appears 2 to 14 days after infection. Burning, itching, pain and swelling appear in the genital area. All these symptoms may be accompanied by a rise in temperature and general malaise. Then bubbles form, filled with a clear liquid, which soon burst. In their place, small painful sores form. After a week, the sores heal on their own, leaving no traces on the skin. Rashes can be located on the external genitalia, pubis, cervix, in the urethra, in the anus and buttocks, on the inner thighs.

The incidence of genital herpes is uneven and depends on age, gender, social level, marital status and even race.. For example, for some reason, the dark-skinned population of our planet is more susceptible to genital herpes – almost five times more than the Caucasian race. Rarely do children suffer from it. But at 14-15 years old, and even earlier, in a word, with the onset of sexual activity, almost seven percent of adolescents are already “familiar” with genital herpes. And by the age of 30-40, the number of virus carriers reaches 30 percent.

The social level is important not only in connection with the possibility of infection, but also in connection with the possibility of treatment. All currently known drugs against herpes (and these are not only ointments, but also intravenous and tablet ones) are very expensive. Especially when you consider that you can’t get by with small doses. Treatment should be carried out in courses with each exacerbation. And such exacerbations can be up to 3-4 per month. If we take into account that the course of treatment lasts 6-7 days, we get an almost continuous intake of expensive drugs. In this case, you can not take a reduced amount of medicine (saving money or sparing the body), – the treatment will be insufficient and, therefore, ineffective.

However, long-term treatment with anti-herpes drugs has an unpleasant feature: they can “plant” the kidneys and provoke baldness.. But sometimes (in severe cases), in order to reduce the number of relapses from almost weekly to several per year, antiviral drugs need to be taken for several years in a row in large doses.

Marital status also affects the disease of genital herpesjust like any other STD. Having a permanent sexual partner, the chances of contracting genital herpes are not so much. It is only necessary to remember that the facial and genital forms of herpes are interpenetrating. So be especially careful when making love during the appearance of sores on the face.

Alas, women are more susceptible to this disease. It is more difficult to determine herpes due to anatomical features, and painful sensations are often attributed to other female troubles: erosion and so on. And there is no correct diagnosis, and there is no proper treatment. Therefore, women get herpes more often than men.

Advanced genital herpes often causes infertility. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women and newborns. That is why visiting a gynecologist and a venereologist is becoming more and more relevant not after, but before the conception of a child. After all, according to world statistics, in the early stages of pregnancy, an exacerbation of the genital form of herpes in every fourth case leads to a miscarriage, and in the later stages – already in half of the cases. If a child is born at the time of an exacerbation of genital herpes, he becomes infected with the virus even in the mother’s birth canal. And herpes in newborns is a disease that leads to the death of a baby in 85 percent.

So genital herpes is best avoided, and at the slightest suspicion – diagnosed by a specialist and persistently treated. True, it is completely impossible to destroy it in the body. All the achievements of modern medicine are aimed only at preventing it from multiplying, that is, to exclude exacerbations – the appearance of those very sores. Well, and most importantly – you need to strengthen the immune system. It may not protect you from infection, but at least it will fight the virus, depriving it of the opportunity to “bloom” and multiply too often.

Irina LETUNOVA, venereologist.

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