Herpes (oral & genital) - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology
Genital herpes and its features
Genital herpes is very a common disease, which is a viral lesion of the mucous membranes of the genital organs, in which groups of characteristic bubbles first appear, and then ulcers and erosion.
In the vast majority of cases, this disease is transmitted through sexual contact.
It is prone to frequent relapses and, with the wrong approach to treatment or the absence of therapy, can provoke the emergence of very serious complications: a decrease in general immunity, bacterial infection of the genitals, the occurrence of malignant diseases of the uterine cervix in women.
The most dangerous is genital herpes during pregnancy, but only when there is a primary infection, since in such a situation there is always a considerable risk of miscarriage, as well as the occurrence of various malformations and pathologies in the fetus.
According to statistics, the highest percentage of infection with the virus is observed among young people aged about 20-30 years. This can be explained by the rather early onset of sexual life, promiscuity in sexual intercourse, frequent partner changes, and the lack of barrier contraception when having sex.
There are also a number of specific factors that contribute to the development of the disease:
- decreased general or local immunity;
- the presence of genital infections;
- long-term wearing of an intrauterine device;
- previously performed artificial termination of pregnancy;
- having colds;
- overheating or hypothermia of the body;
- frequent stress;
- bad habits, etc.
To some extent, a person's gender can also be considered a risk factor, since it is known that genital herpes occurs much more often in women than in men.
Human immunity is designed so that when an infection enters the body, special antibodies are instantly produced, therefore, with adequate functioning of the immune system, no clinical manifestations of diseases occur.
But under the influence of one or more of the above factors, the herpes virus begins to activate: characteristic rashes appear on the skin and mucous membranes, neuralgic pains are noted./ p>
As already mentioned, genital herpes has a sexual transmission route, that is, infection occurs through the mucous membranes located on the genitals, in rectum, urethra.
Consider the cases of how genital herpes is also transmitted:
- airborne drip;
- from mother to child during childbirth, transplacentally or ascending, when the infection enters the uterine cavity from the woman's external genital organs;
- a person can become infected on their own by transferring the infection to the genitals, for example, from the face;
- it is extremely rare for the virus to be transmitted through household use.
Most often, infection through sexual contact occurs when one of the partners (the carrier of the virus) may not even know his illness at all.
Forms and symptoms of genital herpes
According to its clinical course, genital herpes is primary (the very first episode of the disease) and recurrent (subsequent episodes).
In the first case, the earliest symptoms of genital herpes women usually have the following :
- edema and hyperemia of the genitals;
- burning, pain and visible redness of the mucous membranes;
- temperature rise;
- general malaise;
- characteristic herpetic eruptions like blisters filled with clear liquid;
- erosive ulcers form after the bubbles burst.
In women, pathology most often affects the area of the external genital organs, the urethra, the area of the perineum and anus, the inner side of the thighs.
Recurrent form develops in more than half of people who have had a primary infection. This type of disease can develop in both typical and atypical forms, in addition, it is sometimes characterized by an asymptomatic course.
Also, doctors identify several forms of recurrent herpes, depending on the frequency of exacerbations:
- mild form (repeated episodes occur no more than three times a year);
- medium form (the number of exacerbations ranges from four to six per year);
- severe (recurring monthly).
Many factors can cause a relapse of the disease, such as hypothermia, stress, overwork or sexual contact. The clinical manifestations of each subsequent episode of genital herpes may be mild, but their consequences are usually very severe.
As for the atypical form of the disease, it is characterized by a somewhat blurred course in chronic inflammation of the genitals.
This type of genital herpes manifests itself as follows:
- mild swelling of the external genital organs appears;
- patches of erythema present;
- small bubbles;
- constant itching and burning sensation;
- profuse leucorrhoea that does not go away.
The long course of the disease is also characterized by an increase and soreness of the lymph nodes.
Diagnosis and treatment of genital herpes
If symptoms characteristic of genital herpes are found, it is necessary to visit a venereologist as soon as possible, who will prescribe a number of diagnostic measures:
- scraping of the vagina and uterine cervix;
- urethral swab;
- analysis of the histological material of the fallopian tubes;
- analysis of blood serum for antibodies (allows you to detect even an asymptomatic type of disease).
Treatment of genital herpes is carried out, as a rule, with the use of antiviral drugs.
Most often, doctors prescribe the following drugs:
- foscarnet and others.
Antiherpetic drugs can be in the form of ointments, suspensions, tablets or solutions for intravenous administration. It is important to understand that the sooner you start treating herpes, the more effective the therapy will be.
Classic herpes medicines can be used alternately, as well as in combination with interferon, the deficiency of which can be called one of the most common causes of recurrence of genital herpes. Quite often, doctors recommend combining antiviral treatment with therapy aimed at strengthening the immune system. Among other things, with genital herpes, personal hygiene, a healthy diet and avoiding sexual intercourse throughout the course of treatment are of no small importance.
The main preventive measure of primary infection with the genital herpes virus is the use of barrier contraception (condoms) during casual sexual intercourse. At the same time, existing microcracks on the mucous membranes can act as a way of transmitting genital herpes.
After intercourse, experts recommend treating skin areas that could have gotten the virus with antiseptic agents, for example, miramistin.
To prevent recurrence of the disease, it is very important to take full care of your own health, and specifically - to pay attention to the state of the immune system:
- avoid general or local hypothermia;
- lead a healthy and active lifestyle;
- strictly observe personal and intimate hygiene;
- avoid stress and overwork;
- timelyo identify and treat possible sexually transmitted diseases.
Of course, one cannot fail to mention regular medical examinations, which will help to identify many pathologies at the very early stages.