According to the World Health Organization, HSV-1 (Human simplex virus 1) was contracted by roughly 3.7 billion people under 50 years in 2016. Around 491 million individuals between 15 and 49 years had HSV-2 infection.1
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. This infection spreads during sexual activity, like vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, and other activities that involve contact between genitals.
Although HSV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, the virus can also be found in semen, saliva, and vaginal secretions. Some people who get this viral infection may not exhibit any symptoms or have minor symptoms. However, they still can transmit the infection. Others experience discomfort, itching, and ulcers in their mouth, anus, or genitalia. Herpes cannot be cured. Symptoms often return after the initial outbreak. Medical management can reduce symptoms temporarily and the chance of spreading infection.
There is excellent scope for homeopathy in treating genital herpes. Homeopathic medicines have no adverse side effects and are very effective in curing the problem from its root.
Role of homeopathic medicines in genital herpes
Homeopathy does not treat diseases locally but cures them from their roots. Thus, homeopathy has a great scope for genital herpes. Homeopathic medicines reduce inflammation induced by herpes virus infection.
The best part is that homeopathic medicines relieve symptoms, reduce their intensity, and decrease the frequency of their recurrence. Thus, with homeopathic medicines, eruptions will go away and can cure the disease over time.
Top five homeopathic medicines for genital herpes
Natrum muriaticum ( Nat-m.)
Common name: Chloride of sodium
Natrum muriaticum is a good homeopathic medicine for genital herpes in both males and females.
In males, it is indicated for blisters on any part of the genitals like the scrotum, penis, glans penis, thighs and around the anus. Marked itching and stinging pain on the scrotum and glans penis is the characteristic symptom of this remedy.
Nat. mur is indicated in females when bumps form on the vagina, vulva, or around the anus. These women often feel burning, itching, and soreness in the vagina after urination. All these symptoms worsen before menses. This remedy works well in the case of genital herpes with white discharge from the vagina, with itching and burning.
Nitricum acidum (Nit-ac.)
Common name: Nitric acid
Nitricum acidum is another great remedy for genital herpes with ulcers in and around the genitals. In males, it treats ulcers on the scrotum and foreskin of the penis. These ulcers often exude foul-smelling moist fluid or blood. Other indications of Nitric acid are sore, painful ulcers with burning and stinging pains.
In women, it is indicated for ulcers in the vagina with intense itching and burning sensation.
Common name: Crude rock oil
Petroleum is a very good homeopathic medicine for genital herpes with marked itching and redness.
This medicine is prescribed for men with eruptions on any part of the genitals, especially on the scrotum and prepuce. There is intense itching in the bumps that turn reddish and ooze fluid or remain dry. Often, the skin of the genitals can be rough with cracks and bleeding.
Petroleum is indicated in females during eruptions breakouts along with itching during menses. Women often complain of itchy bumps scattered on any part of the genitals with a burning sensation in the vagina.
Common name: Inky juice of Cuttlefish
Sepia officinalis is indicated as a homeopathic medicine for genital herpes in females. Sepia is an excellent homeopathic remedy for genital herpes with blisters. This remedy is prescribed for tenderness of genitals with itching on external genitals. Sepia works well in cases with a yellow, green discharge vagina with itching.
Hepar sulphuris calcareum (Hep.)
Common name: Hahnemann’s calcium sulphide
Hepar sulphuris calcareum is the best-suited remedy for highly sensitive eruptions on male genitals. This medicine is highly effective for little blisters formed in groups over the genitals. These eruptions are white with a red base and extremely sensitive to touch.
Causes of genital herpes
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the cause of genital herpes. Vaginal fluids, saliva, and semen all contain this virus.
HSV virus enters the body through the mucus membrane of the mouth, nose, and genitals. The virus infects cells after entering the body, where it replicates, and symptoms begin to manifest.
Genital herpes is associated with two types of herpes simplex virus, HSV2 and HSV1.
HSV2 is known to cause genital herpes and spreads through sexual contact. Thus, the virus is highly contagious and spreads without an open sore on the genital area. It spreads swiftly by skin or sexual contact with an infected person.
HSV-2 spreads through:
- Anal-penile, vaginal-penile and vaginal-vaginal intercourse
- Giving or receiving oral sex with someone who is infected
- Skin-to-skin contact with or without ejaculation.
- Touching open sores
- Childbirth by a mother with active infection
HSV1 is different from HSV2. It causes fluid-filled pimples, also known as
fever blisters. It typically appears around the mouth and causes genital herpes through the orogenital route during oral sex.
HSV-1 can be transmitted through:
- Touching the skin near the mouth
- Sharing lip balm or razors
- Having food in the same utensils
- Oral sex with a person who has a cold sore
Symptoms of genital herpes
An initial outbreak manifests a few days after getting the virus. However, it may take as little as 2 days or as long as 12 days or more.2
Symptoms in males include blisters on the scrotum, penis, and buttocks. Whereas symptoms in females include blisters in and around the vagina, vulva, buttocks, and anus.
The following are the general symptoms of genital herpes:
- Blisters on the mouth, lips, face, and other parts that come into contact with infected areas.
- Before blisters form, the affected part will begin to itch or tickle.
- The blisters change into open sores known as ulcers and exude fluid.
- Within a week of the outbreak, a crust develops over the sores.
- Lymph nodes get inflamed and swollen due to viral infection.
- Other symptoms include headaches, muscle aches, and fever.
Treatment for genital herpes
Herpes simplex viruses cannot be cured by treatment, but it can minimize outbreaks. Often, medications are used to shorten outbreaks and lessen the severity of symptoms.
Antiviral medications lessen pain and hasten the healing of sores. Medications are given to alleviate the symptoms of an outbreak as soon as tingling, itching, and other symptoms appear.
In cases when outbreaks have already occurred, doctors prescribe medications to reduce the chances of further outbreaks. For this, HSV-2 patients take daily oral medicines.
Antiviral creams or ointments are used to ease symptoms and hasten their healing. However, this is only effective if you use it immediately after the outbreak begins.
Lifestyle management for genital herpes
Lifestyle changes cannot treat genital herpes. However, following some precautions can prevent the risk of getting HSV like
- Using barrier methods every time before intercourse, such as condoms.
- Avoiding sexual contact with the person who has herpes symptoms. It’s important to understand that HSV can be transmitted from an asymptomatic person as well.
Here are some tips to consider for easing genital herpes outbreak.
- Place an ice pack over your genitals.
- Apply the ice pack, wrap it in a washcloth, and put it over your pants.
- Keep your private parts dry. Wear cotton or other non-synthetic pants, and avoid clothing that is too tight.
- Relax in a hot bath.
Genital herpes is a skin infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It causes blisters-like lesions on your body. The lips, genitals, and buttocks are the most often affected parts.
People with HSV will experience breakouts from time to time, as there is no known treatment for the infection. However, constitutionally selected homeopathic medicine helps with healing and reduces its outbreaks.
- Herpes simplex virus [Internet]. Who.int. [cited 2023 Sep 3]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/herpes-simplex-viru
- Thin RN. Does first episode genital herpes have an incubation period? A clinical study. Int J STD AIDS [Internet]. 1991 [cited 2023 Sep 3];2(4):285–6. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1911962/
- Saleh D, Yarrarapu SNS, Sharma S. Herpes Simplex Type 1. StatPearls Publishing; 2023.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482197/
- James C, Harfouche M, Welton NJ, Turner KME, Abu-Raddad LJ, Gottlieb SL, et al. Herpes simplex virus: global infection prevalence and incidence estimates, 2016. Bull World Health Organ [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 Sep 3];98(5):315–29. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/blt.19.237149
- Shinde MD, Patil SA, Mukherjee A, Nema V. Revisiting the therapeutic potential of homeopathic medicine Rhus Tox for herpes simplex virus and inflammatory conditions. J Ayurveda Integr Med [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Sep 3];14(4):100739. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaim.2023.100739