What are the Different Treatments for Genital Herpes?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 December 2019
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Genital herpes is a form of the herpes simplex virus that results in painful sores in, on, and around the genitals of men and women. There is no cure for genital herpes, but by following doctors' recommendations and carefully managing symptoms, many people can reduce the frequency and severity of their outbreaks. There are many different treatments for genital herpes, from home remedies that help to manage active outbreaks to prescription oral medications that suppress the virus. With appropriate treatment, some people are lucky enough to stop experiencing symptoms altogether, though they must remember that they carry the virus for life and risk transmitting it to others at any time.

Home treatments for genital herpes can significantly reduce the healing time of outbreaks. Applying ice packs to sore areas can help to alleviate swelling and temporarily numb painful lesions. People can take warm baths and wear loose fitting clothing during an outbreak to prevent irritation and itching. Reducing stress, eating healthy foods, and getting enough rest are also helpful in overcoming a genital herpes episode.

There are several different over-the-counter treatments for genital herpes. An individual can take vitamins and supplements, such as vitamin C and zinc, to help boost his or her immune system and lessen the severity of an outbreak. Topical creams and antiseptics help to kill bacteria and heal open sores. People may also take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication to ease irritation, swelling, and discomfort.


Doctors commonly prescribe antiviral medications to help patients who suffer from genital herpes. Some medications are taken only when a person is experiencing an outbreak, while others are prescribed to be taken daily, whether or not a person exhibits physical symptoms. Daily medicines are effective at suppressing the herpes simplex virus, reducing the frequency of outbreaks, and lowering the chances that the disease will be spread to others. Many physicians suggest that patients combine prescription treatments for genital herpes with home remedies to better prevent and recover from outbreaks.

The various prescription, over-the-counter, and home treatments for genital herpes are often very successful at relieving symptoms and decreasing the recurrence of outbreaks. Once a person has the virus, however, he or she can never completely get rid of it. Even when a person has not had an outbreak for a very long time, he or she still puts sexual partners at risk of contracting the virus. Individuals with genital herpes should inform their partners of their condition and use condoms during sexual activity to lessen the chances of transmitting the virus.



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