The herpes simplex virus is available in two forms: herpes simplex infection type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Herpes simplex virus type 2 cause genital herpes that cause breakouts of genital sores.
Herpes simplex type 1 generally causes cold sores or blisters around the mouth however can be transferred to the genital area by method of foreplay (oral to genital contact).
HSV-2 (genital herpes) are frequently spread out through sex.
HSV-1 (oral herpes) can be spread through oral bodily fluids contacts like during kissing or with skin to skin contact with a fever blister.
Upon entry into the host body, the herpes simplex virus connect themselves chronically in the body through the nerves deep into the nerve centers (ganglia) part of spinal nerves and remain in a hidden state up until being “re-activated” again triggering break out symptoms like painful blisters or sores.
What Triggers Herpes Outbreaks?
Medical doctors are still unclear why or how does the herpes infection choose when to reactivate but some research studies have revealed that particular aspects such as trauma to the skin or different form of stress are possible triggers.
Typical herpes break out triggers include:
- Physical stress, such as tiredness.
- Emotional stress, such as depression, anxiety.
- Immune suppression (can be set off by sickness, infection, steroidal medications or surgery).
- Energetic sex or friction to the skin during sexual intercourse.
- Inflammation or extreme sweating around the genital due to tight trousers or riding a bike.
- Don’t consume alcohol (alcohol is harmful for health).
- Exposure of affected area to strong sunshine or ultraviolet light.
In addition to the triggers common in between both sexes, women might be at increased risk of a breakout due to the additional elements:
- Hormone changes.
Scientists have also found that foods or diets that are high in L-arginine, an amino acid can also worsen the herpes simplex infection. This causes the infection to alter, provoking more frequent herpes outbreaks.
Types of foods that are high in Arginine must be prevented to prevent frequent outbreaks include:
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews and peanuts.
- Grains: whole wheat, oats, wild rice and even flour products.
- Caffeinated liquids or beverages.
What Are The Symptoms And Cycles Of A Herpes Outbreak?
In most individuals who are infected with herpes simplex infection, first main break out will occur in between 3 to fourteen days after sexual exposure with an infected partner. Prodromal symptoms of mild tingling, itching and inflammation may precede the real outbreak.
Other prodromal symptoms might likewise include:
- Flu-like symptoms, consisting of fever, headaches, muscle aches and swollen lymph node glands.
- Burning sensation or pain while urinating.
- Vaginal or penile discharge.
For some patients with herpes, the infection might not advance beyond the prodromal stage or the attack might be rather mild with just a few small red bumps.
For those who go on to develop active break outs, symptoms such as watery blisters or small fluid lesions will begin to form.
Patients with infection of HSV-1 will have blisters, typically referred to as cold sores in or around the mouth.
For genital herpes in women, the blisters will establish around the external genitalia as well as in the vagina and cervix. There is also vaginal discharge and pain during urination.
For men, particular or multiple blisters will appear on the scrotum, head, foreskin or shaft of the penis. There might also be penile discharge and pain in “passing water”.
Genital herpes can likewise form on the thighs, buttocks or around the anus for both genders.
After the appearances of the blisters, they break down into painful ulcers which have the tendency to exude fluid. During this stage, the herpes infection is the most infectious.
After a day or 2, the open sores will then dry, crust over forming a scab then heal without any scarring.
For reoccurring outbreaks, the whole cycle from prodromal symptoms of an outbreak to healing can take about 10 days to 3 weeks. For individuals who are experiencing main (first) break out, the break out will be the worst and the whole course of the infection may be longer and last from 3 to 6 weeks.
How Often Do Recurrent Herpes Outbreaks Occur?
Frequency of reoccurring outbreaks vary for various people. For some lucky few, the body will build up an antibody tolerance and the disease will become constantly asymptomatic, never ever to have an episode once again, while others will continue to experience repeated chronic outbreaks for months and years.
Statistically, roughly 80% of the infected individuals will struggle with a reoccurring (secondary) outbreak within the first 6 months of the first episode. Usually, the number of frequent outbreaks is 3 to 5 times a year depending on the general health of the patient.
In addition, if the infection is herpes type-2, one is likewise 5 times most likely to experience a reoccurring outbreak than an individual who is infected with herpes type-1.
Fortunately is, over years, the frequency of break outs typically lessens with time and the break outs end up being less severe. Nevertheless, even if a break out has actually not taken place for an extended period of time or an individual become perpetually asymptomatic, the person is still a carrier of the virus and might still be contagious to others.
Do Stress or Diet Cause Herpes Outbreaks?
Herpes outbreaks are due to prolonged activation of the herpes simplex virus in the dorsal root ganglion, part of the back nerves that lie along the vertebral column. The infection remains in a hidden state in the sensory nerves and becomes active again due to several biological elements.
Once active, the virus travels back down the sensory nerve to the skin. Prolonged reactivation can cause symptoms and signs of a break out, which might include painful blisters or sores. Typically, however, outbreaks are mild and appear as fissures or irritation, with little to no pain or discomfort.
Studies do not show an association of break outs with diet or stress, however that does not totally dismiss these as possible triggers for you. More common triggers include injury to the skin or genital mucosa. Normally speaking, however, we have no idea much about trigger events.
What we do understand is that without treatment, essentially everyone with genital herpes infection, caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 2, will have 4 to 6 break outs per year. Break outs, however, are just a small part of the story concerning genital herpes. We now know that shedding of HSV-2 from genital sites is frequent, (occurring 5 percent to 20 percent of days, and mainly with no symptoms.
The frequency of symptom-free shedding and outbreaks can be controlled with daily suppressive therapy with the approved oral medications for genital herpes. Daily suppressive therapy can reduce shedding by 70 to 90 percent (as figured out by culture or the polymerase domino effect test) and reduce the frequency of break outs by 80 percent.