Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Tuesday, July 29, 2008 troglodyte, Community Member, asks

Q: Dramatic increase in outbreaks - menopausal, using bioidentical hormones (sporadically, sometimes. .

I'm 54, and stopped having periods about 4 years ago.  I began using bioidentical hormone replacement (estrogen and progesterone) and taking DHEA about a year ago.  I am a little sporadic with their use (work nights a lot, travel); a few weeks ago I decided to be more diligent, as I was having acne breakouts that I thought might be related to my hormone roller coaster.  I've used the cream as ordered, which amounts to a higher dose than previously, since then, and since then I've had outbreaks twice a week or more, and more severe. 

 

I am in a stressful but happy period (buying a house, renting others, getting married), but less so than other times when I had no outbreaks.  I haven't really noticed a correlation with stress, personally. 

 

Does anyone know of research into how/which hormones affect outbreaks?  For instance, rising or falling estrogen or progesterone, testosterone (DHEA?), wildly and randomly fluctuating hormones?  Seems like I've gotten worse now that I'm being "compliant", although that didn't happen when I first got the cream and was using it as ordered.

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Answers (37)
astatine, Community Member
6/ 6/09 2:06am

HI!  I am in a similar boat.  I have had it for 4 years.  I'm 26. As a birth control I am on the Depo shot.  I have noticed that as time goes by my outbreaks are more frequent.  And about a week before my next shot is due is when I get an agressive outbreak.  So, being on depo is like being in menopause.  I am also very curious as to the correlation between hormones and outbreaks.  I guess I don't really have an answer. But I know it is stress and hormone related.  I just noticed you wrote your question a year ago almost, but if you just so happen to see this, I would love a response.  Oh, I am also taking DHEA. 

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MSea, Community Member
3/25/11 6:29pm

Yes, all of the literature says that ou get less frequent with time, but that is not proven out in the blogs.  I have now been on bioidentical hormones for 2 1/2  years. (By the way, all of you out there considering bioidenticals it has been really tough finding a doctor in the Seattle area who really knows the research and what he/she is doing. I finally found Dr. Hinchcliffe at Tahoma Clinic in Renton who is very experienced. If you want the names of two current books that are excellent, I can give them to you.) There has been no let up in outbreaks. As I age, the outbreaks get more frequent. I'm now 61 and very healthy, cycling and weight lifting classes 3 times a week, eat lots of raw food, no gluten or dairy, etc, but nothing has affected the breakout frequency.  I get break outs right on top of each other, with almost no break at all. I'm even considering trying a drug route for a month or two to see if I can interrupt the breakout cycle. Has anyone been able to do that with drugs? I hate to go that route becuase they give me terrible headaches.

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carole7777, Community Member
2/29/12 11:35pm

Hello,

 

I bike as well. I find it difficult to balance the cream I need to use to not chafe (I use Chamois Butt'r) with keeping the area sufficiently dry. Too dry and I tear; a post menopausal symptom of dryness. So I use a moisturizing cream as a first layer (recommended by my dermatologist, Cicalfate by Avene, available on Amazon). If I dont remove the bike shorts, shortly after my ride, I get a rash which can lead to a fungal infection which can lead to a breakout. 

 

On top of this, as you may have found, with age the labial fatty tissue decreases, and there's less padding from the saddle. I have a Terry saddle with an opening, which is better but I wish there was nothing there at all. I'm looking for an undergarment solution, or maybe just use a sanitary napkin.

 

You know I love biking if I endure all of this and still cant wait for the temperature to rise so I can get outside :-)

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troglodyte, Community Member
3/10/13 1:09pm

Sorry - just saw this.  My outbreaks have pretty much stopped, and I still use hormone cream.  It's hard to arrive at cause and effect for this, as so many things are changing during menopause, but I don't think it was the cream.  Maybe the change/transition?  Dunno.

 

I bicycle to work when the light holds out (daylight savings!  YAY!), and don't notice a problem.  I just wear cotton skivvies and yoga pants, nothing fancy.  Also, applying a little plain kefir locally helps normalize flora in the neighborhood.

 

Good luck to you - you may be a longer-distance rider; I only go 5 miles each way. 

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carole7777, Community Member
3/ 3/12 10:48pm

Would you say the benefits of hormone replacement is not outweighed by the outbreaks? 

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Grapesquisher, Community Member
10/17/13 11:59pm
I have been on bio identical HRT for the past nine months, which I'm very happy with and which I apply to my inner thigh or lower belly. Originally, my ND also prescribed estrandiol vaginal cream, which I applied daily for 2 weeks initially, then dropped to 3 x per week. I found that stopping the daily application of the vag cream caused repeated breakouts but when I discontinued its use altogether, the breakouts stopped. I saw on different websites that many women with herpes also complained about repeated breakouts and my ND wondered if that might be due to their applying their HRT vaginally. I found that using a natural, aloe-based moisturizing gel worked just as well in keeping those tissues moist and reducing tearing. I currently take the smallest dose needed to maintain hormonal balance ( .6 ml of testosterone and .5ml of Biest). I did run out of Biest and had a very mild breakout after the 3rd day off but once back on, everything has resolved. Because I don't believe that "one size fits all", I chose to go the bio identical route and found a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in them. Also, I did saliva testing to determine exactly what I was deficient in. I normally would only have one or two breakouts per year, so to have WEEKS of breakouts with the vag cream really freaked me out. Don't know if others might find this helpful (we are all so different), but it's working for me. Keep trying different dosages until you find the magic one (took me a few months). Reply
MSea, Community Member
9/18/09 2:50am

There is definitely a correlation between menopauseal hormone fluctuations and the frequency of outbreaks.  I am 59 and my outbreaks have been steadily more frequent, with and without bioidentiacal hormone replacement.  My naturopath is changing my hormone dosages upward, to balance my horomones, so I will be able to report in a few months if that helped the outbreaks.  Meanwhile I am going to suggest that every woman reading this site write the University of Washington Herpes Virus Center. They do research but I don't think they know anything about this.  Most of the research has to do with how drugs affect the virus. If there is anyone else going through this same thing, It would be helpful to hear from you! MSea

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CWR, Community Member
2/ 1/12 7:24pm

Hi,

 

I found this post and I'm 51 just going into menopause.  Not taking any hormones and having the 1st outbreak in over 10 years. It's as bad or worse than the first one and has lingered much longer. I will write the University of Washington Herpes Virus Center as advised.  Thank you for the information! CWR

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carole7777, Community Member
2/29/12 11:41pm

Please tell me why you would be prescribed hormones, and how long you're allowed to take them? I'm suffering from some severe menopausal symptoms, but my Gyn believes in 0 hormones.

 

I certainly dont want more breakouts though. I saw an increase in beakouts, until several months ago. More so in the summer, and possibly brought on by sweat and rashes after biking or working out. Ive been period free an entire year now.

 

Is hormone treatment worth the side effects Ive heard of, plus the breakouts you mention?

 

Thanks!

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MSea, Community Member
3/ 3/12 8:50pm

Doctors are not taught about hormones in school, unless they are Naturopaths, and even many natruopaths don't understand unless they have specialized. Medicl doctors do not know how to precribe bio-identical hormones, they only know hormones from drug companies and regular pharmacies, not compounding pharmacies.

Lots of great books on bioidenticals at you public library, but I'd start with these, easy to read and tell you what you need to know.

 

Read these two books and you willunderstand, then make your choice:
Natural Hormone Replacement For Women Over 45 [Paperback] John Morgenthaler (Author), Jonathan V. Wright (Author)

Stay Young & Sexy with Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement: The Science Explained [Paperback] Jonathan V. Wright (Author), Lane Lenard (Author), Suzanne Somers (Foreword)

 

Then, research naturopaths in your area. if you are anywhere near Seattle go to the Tahoma Clinic, Dr. Hinchcliffe.  She's worth traveling to!  If you are too far away, contact your nearest compunding pharmacy (listed under Compounding Pharmacy).  Go talk to the pharmacist there and ask which doctors he/she works with understand bioidentical hormones. That's how I found Hinchcliffe and that is the recommended way to find a doctor in many of the books out there. Compounding pharmacists know who knows their stuff and who doesn't.  You may need to fill out insurance forms with your insurer and submit them to get a partial reimbursement (I do). Good luck.

However...hormone replacement with testosterone, estrogen  and progesterone will help you feel great, sleep soundly and have stronger bones but it does not seem to affect herpes outbreaks.  I just turned 62 and I am having just as many outbreaks as before. No change except that I am strong, happy  and healthy!

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carole7777, Community Member
3/ 3/12 9:01pm

I have more skin related issues; thinning of the vaginal and walls and labia (as if herpes wasnt enough) leading to tears and of course outbreaks because the area has been compromised. 

 

I just read about vaginal dialators, and about pelvic floor physical therapy. There are p/t's who concentrate on this! So if your vaginal skin is thinning, (I see overall extreme dry skin, I simply cant keep it moist.) and there's less moisture, lots of time the vagina is also tightening or tender and this may help. 

 

Thanks so much for this great info. I'm on the East Coast, will Google my area.

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MSea, Community Member
3/ 3/12 9:47pm

Sounds like you already know thinning of the vaginal tissues will be remedied in short order with bioidentical hormones! It is very common.

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carole7777, Community Member
3/ 3/12 10:47pm

Hmm, no I had no idea really....I know nothing about hormone replacement, and didnt imagine this could be remedied. Hmm!!! (Naive eyes popping ) 

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carole7777, Community Member
3/ 3/12 10:50pm

in '09 you were going to see if an increased dosage of hormonal dosages would help the outbreaks. Has it?

 

"My naturopath is changing my hormone dosages upward, to balance my horomones, so I will be able to report in a few months if that helped the outbreaks."

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MSea, Community Member
3/ 5/12 10:57pm

No change, if anything outbreaks are as bad as, or worse than before.  Seems like they get worse every year, even with hormones. 

I have a great naturopath, Dr. Hinchcliffe at the Tahoma clinic.  I take bioidentical hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) for bone health, sexual health and all around feel great and energetic.  I'm careful with organic food, no gluten or dairy or anything else inflamatory, exercise 3-4 times a week with cycle and weights......But non of this helps with outbreaks, just like all the other women here.  It's discouraging that the researchers don't recognize this.  It's puzzeling, though.  M

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Duckdiva1, Community Member
10/ 4/12 4:25pm
I am the AFLAC Agent for Tahoma Clinic North and South Campuses. If you are in the So. End area I recommend seeing Dr John Sherman @ Tahoma Clinic his phone number is 425-264-0059. He is fabulous and has over 30 yrs experience in the field of Naturopathy. Tell them Patti sent you! Good luck. Reply
Constant, Community Member
4/16/13 12:52am

I'm 57 and started having non stop outbreaks after using progesterone cream. Just out of the blue, my life went from normal to hell. I've tried everything under the sun for over 2 years and I can't get them to stop. Every two weeks, one finally heals and another is on it's way. Before that, I rarely had outbreaks and it was a tiny dot. Now it's spread along my crotch and is miserable. :(

I'm now taking 3000mg of Lysine a day, high potency olive leaf, DHEA, oregano oil on and off. 2000mg vitamin C, IP6 and also Lauracidin. I'm still breaking out! This just seems impossible! I'm going to try using Valtrex (1000mg per day), you can raise the blood level using Tagamet (300mg 4x a day). Also, natural thymic hormone is supposed to be fantastic (called proBoost). I got these last two sentence worth of info from a book called "From Fatigued to Fantastic". So here I go again, trying to find something that will work! At least my previous regime got rid of my fatigue. Now I just need to get rid of the break outs.

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MSea, Community Member
9/18/09 3:08am

Just in case anyone reading this wants to contact the University of Washington Viral Research Center to let them know about the herpes-hormone connection here is the information:

 

UWVRC is located at:
908 Jefferson Street, 11th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone 206-720-4340
Email vrc@u.washington.edu

Reply
researchplease, Community Member
3/11/11 1:22am

I am 45 going on 46.  Believe I am pre-menopausal.  I have outbreaks before my period and in between cycles.  it's maybe  a few days a month i don't have herpes outbreak symptoms.  This is an increase to outbreaks of the past... although i have never been completely symptom free.  I wondered if there was a connection since i am always fighting off symptoms and actual outbreaks.  it causes a lot of understandable problems and from what i read.... are these increased outbreaks just going to continue after menopause re: just post-menopausal as well?  any study and research could potentially really help alleviate suffering and symptoms.  Thankyou for your time.

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ddblonde, Community Member
3/16/11 8:56am

hello,

I am 49 and for the past 6 months i too have been having outbreaks on and off all month .

I first went to a urologist because it tends to feel like a bladder infection but it is not.

I too would like to know if this is going to contiunue through menopause or after .

I have missed the last two periods so this is what made me think im starting to go through this change . I cannot take hormones as cancer runs in my family .

any information you find please let me know  .

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missmoday1, Community Member
12/30/11 8:57pm

i am doing the same thing... i am 46 and am having menapuase issues as well.. i have gone years w/out break outs and now get them every month before and during my period... this is miserable for me...i didnt know it was hormone related but am going to go to the dr and try to get med....have you tried that or anything else that helps w this?

 

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researchplease, Community Member
3/11/11 1:22am

I am 45 going on 46.  Believe I am pre-menopausal.  I have outbreaks before my period and in between cycles.  it's maybe  a few days a month i don't have herpes outbreak symptoms.  This is an increase to outbreaks of the past... although i have never been completely symptom free.  I wondered if there was a connection since i am always fighting off symptoms and actual outbreaks.  it causes a lot of understandable problems and from what i read.... are these increased outbreaks just going to continue after menopause re: just post-menopausal as well?  any study and research could potentially really help alleviate suffering and symptoms.  Thankyou for your time.

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researchplease, Community Member
3/11/11 1:22am

I am 45 going on 46.  Believe I am pre-menopausal.  I have outbreaks before my period and in between cycles.  it's maybe  a few days a month i don't have herpes outbreak symptoms.  This is an increase to outbreaks of the past... although i have never been completely symptom free.  I wondered if there was a connection since i am always fighting off symptoms and actual outbreaks.  it causes a lot of understandable problems and from what i read.... are these increased outbreaks just going to continue after menopause re: just post-menopausal as well?  any study and research could potentially really help alleviate suffering and symptoms.  Thankyou for your time.

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missmoday1, Community Member
12/30/11 9:30pm

have you gotten any info on the post menapause breakouts... less/ more... ect.... i am not happy about these developments and very curious to know what i can do and what is to come

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missmoday1, Community Member
12/30/11 9:31pm

have you gotten any info on the post menapause breakouts... less/ more... ect.... i am not happy about these developments and very curious to know what i can do and what is to come

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xcalibur, Community Member
10/ 5/09 11:43am

I suspect there is a strong OB/hormone connection. I have been OB free for years, and now suddenly at 46 while going through homonal changes, it seems like I get an outbreak every 4-6 weeks (this has been going on now for 10 months). I'm at my wits end. The OBs are more painful and intense from what I remember from years ago. Valtrex has helped, but I'm not used to recurring episodes like this. Some are even back to back. Other than that, my other perimenopausal symptoms have been rather manageable, so I am reluctant to do any sort of hormonal therapy. 

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jonalisa, Community Member
9/29/10 12:26am

exactly. Me too. Same exact.  I am 46 , peri menopause. Getting outbreaks every 4 - 6 weeks and they are more painful and worse each time. Really at my wits end. This a PROBLEM. I don't want to start messing with hormone stuff. I am going all natural. Taking vitamins and echinacea.

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BG, Community Member
10/24/10 9:56am

I'm having the same exact situation.  I'm 48, contracted herpes at 19 and for many many many years, have had very few outbreaks and those that I had were pretty minor.  Over the past year or so, I've had more frequent and intense outbreaks.  I'm still having regular periods and no big obvious signs of menopause, but something is changing that is causing this.  My stress is not the issue - I'm under no more stress now than I have ever been - in fact, quite a bit less.  I'm fit and in great health, eat right, drink moderately, don't smoke...etc.  It's a bummer.  

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Bimmergal, Community Member
5/31/11 2:24pm

I hear ya,  I am 44 and have had herpes for 25 years... great eh?  Anyhow I seem to in the past year have more OB's,  like once a month!!   Hormones??   I really wish I knew!  However just know we are not alone!

Laughing

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spike lavender, Community Member
10/ 6/09 11:27pm

Thanks for posting this, and thanks to the responders so far. I'm 53 and entering perimenopause, irregular periods for the last 18 months and hot flashes for the last 3. I'm not using any hormones - just trying to be concious of eating good, diet, herbs, exercise etc.

I've had herpes for almost 30 years with occasional outbreaks maybe once or twice a year (always base of spine area) with varying degrees of flu-like symtoms. Just a few days ago I started the worst outbreak I have ever had with funky pre-symptoms - I thought I really was getting sick. Area is at least 4 inches with large center blistering and several outlying clusters. After doing some research I'm thinking that the hot flash/body's reaction to regulating temperature (hot/sweaty) is definitely an issue and obviously when combined with stress sets me up for the outbreak. So I'm going to take my B vitamins, support my immune system, try to moderate my stress (ha ha). Using lemon balm (true melissa) essential oil directly on the herpes has been the most effective treatment for me. I'd love to hear more from others on this. Thanks!

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bjw, Community Member
12/13/09 12:22pm

I am 52, post-menopause, and my outbreaks are getting worse and coming more frequently.  I am scared to death and want to detemine what's going on and how I can get this under control.

 

I have been married for 21 years, and I had my first outbreak 14 years ago.  My diagnosis at that time came as a complete shock, as my husband does not have herpes (or if he does, we don't know it and he's never had an outbreak).  He has been understanding, but I have not talked to him about what's been going on the last few years -- i.e., the increased outbreaks.

 

Our sex life is at a standstill, in part because both of us are busy and tired, plus sex has been uncomfortable for me in the last couple of years due to vaginal dryness.  And I am concerned with infecting him because I have outbreaks so often now.  Fortunately (and odd as it may seem), we are both OK with the status of our sex life right now. 

 

I am quite sure I was infected 23 years ago when I was in a relationship with a man who told me (after the fact, of course) that he had herpes.  But at the time, I never developed any symptons or had an outbreak.  I thought I had dodged the bullet!  My first outbreak came when I was 38 and entering peri-menopause.  I was devasted!

 

Initially, I started using Zovirax ointment for relief.  Over the years, the outbreaks became more frequent so I got a prescription for Valtrex.  Not wanting to take a pill every day (as I am concerned about long-term side effects), I've just been using the Valtrex when I have outbreaks, taking 2 500 mg tablets twice a day.

 

But over the years, the outbreaks have come with greater frequency, and since going through menopause 3 years ago, I am having them almost monthly.  It's driving me crazy.

 

I am convinced that there has to be a correlation between hormones and outbreaks.  My life is really pretty stress-free and I am in otherwise good health.

 

I dont take any hormones (never have, including birth control) and my menopause symptons have been relatively mild -- just some hot flashes at night after I get in bed.  Those have actually diminished in the last couple of years.

 

I take Paxil for anxiety, Diovan for mild hypertension, am a normal weight for my height (5'3, 125 lbs), and try to workout weekly.

 

I have not talked to my OB-GYN or internist much about this due to embarrassment and I dread having to go through a bunch of tests, etc.

 

I am wondering what other post-menopausal women have experienced (an uptick in outbreaks and do they eventually stop coming once hormones settle down) and what they've found helpful in controlling them.  Specifically:

 

1)  Should I start taking Valtrex daily?  Does that really help break the outbreak cycle?

2)  How about Lysine -- I've heard that can be helpful and tried that years ago.

3)  What about Vitamin B -- my OB-GYN told me several years ago to start taking that and I have not been faithful in doing so recently.  Does that help?

 

Sorry for the long post -- I haven't ever shared any of this and it feels good to get some of this off my chest.

 

I am also curious to know where the best research is being done on genital herpes.  It would be great if a cure could be found.

 

Thanks! 

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Sandy, Community Member
1/ 3/10 11:57pm

I am a 42 year old who just found out last year that I was infected.  You ladies have given me great comfort; as I am also pre-menopausal, frequent skipped menses.  However, I am finding that I am having frequent breakouts.  I am single and have not been sexually active for an extended period of time (especially not after being diagnoses).  As I have a family history of breast cancer, I am not eligible for HRT and have opted to go natural with Soy and vitamin therapy.  However, as this is new to me, I did not know the "regularity" of breakouts.  My physician told me that I may not experience one after starting medication with the initial, but I am having "regular" breakouts.  I am however very concerned about the consistant use of the anti-viral medications and their long term effects on my liver.  Any answers?

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Kirby, Community Member
5/12/10 2:48pm

I'm in the same situation.  49 years old. Never even knew I had it until 2 years ago and even then my outbreak was not TOO bad.  I believe that it's menopause.  I am at a loss as to what to do.

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cursed, Community Member
6/10/11 7:24am

I'm jumping in the boat ...44 yrs old ... a confirmed clinical perimenopause....same issue as everyone else ...mine is the week after a period or on the 36th day if I don't have one...just started the monthly OB 6 months ago...more painful , more intense...Starts with general tiredness, followed by crippling lower back /pelvic pain then shooting pains in my tendons and thighs...followed by a swollen urethra and peri area... ofter 7-10 days it ends and if I am lucky I get a break for another 2-weeks before my next period or time when I should have one unless I have one that lasts for 2 weeks(those are fun) ...I am going to check into the University of Washington...lets see if they have relief...

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Jennifer, Community Member
7/ 3/11 3:19pm

I am 51 years old and had my first outbreak at age 33 when I was newly pregnant with my 3rd child. Thinking I was having a severe yeast infection I was shocked to find out I had genital herpes. Subsequent tests revealed that I had herpes simplex 1 (usually oral herpes) in my genital area. I contracted the herpes from my husband during oral sex - he has herpes simplex 1 orally. Since then he has not contracted genital herpes even though we have not always been careful - our assumption is his body already has antibodies to it. I too experienced infrequent breakouts until my mid 40s when I went off the birth control pill - I then had multiple breakouts in a 6 month period. Now that I am menopausal, I have had two severe breakouts in a 6 week period. Both of these breakouts have started with intense nerve pain running from my buttocks down my leg. As soon as I realized what was happening I began taking Valtrex which seemed to keep the sores in my genital area from getting too bad. I am glad to hear that others have had similar issues and I too hope that someday we can be cured. Hang in there ladies - thank you for letting me read your stories!

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Ginger, Community Member
3/24/10 10:26pm

Just adding my voice to the others: Yes, absolutely, I'm convinced there is a OB/hormone connection. I'm 47, perimenopausal for about a year, and have been having near monthly OBs for about a year. I contracted the herpes virus in my early 20s, had regular OBs then, but they subsided by my 30s. In 12 years, I had maybe 2 OBs, and they were very mild. Now, suddenly I am having them every month, sometimes back to back, and they are severely painful. I am not under a massive amount of stress and other than irregular periods and ocassional night sweats, I am not having any other symptoms. I had thought that once menopause fully set in, that these horrible OBs would end, but now I'm not so sure. Also, a side note: I have also noticed an increase in allergies, which I believe is also connected to hormones. I am not on any prescription meds or hormone treatments. I've been using products from the healthfood store (vitamin c, zinc, and lysine combination), which seems to help. I read somewhere on the internet that vitamin B actually makes the problem worse, but don't know that for sure. Also read that cabbage, broccoli, keifer, and garlic are helpful foods to eat. I just started using tea tree oil externally, which seems to help. I read that yoga helps, but like I said before, I'm not under much stress. For me, I really don't think that there is a stress/OB connection. I've been under tremendous stress in past years, and never experienced the break outs I'm having now.

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Evangeline, Community Member
6/15/10 3:16pm

I am so happy to have found this discussion.  I'm 49, and have had herpes for nearly 30 years.  I've been married for 12 years, and I infected my husband.  My outbreaks are mild, but relentless, especially over the past several years.  I didn't have any outbreaks five years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter - except three weeks before delivery.  Aside from that, I seem to always have a small sore somewhere, and itching.  Daily Valtrex does not work for me to suppress OB.  Sometimes I will take 1 gram a day for 3-4 days, just for the smallest amount of relief. I hardly feel sexy these days.  I'm in good health, sleep reasonably well, and have little to stress over.  This discussion has certainly validated my thoughts on the connection to OB and hormone fluctuation.  Thank you everyone, for sharing your story. 

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Julie, Community Member
11/29/11 6:31pm

It's clear to me that it is peri menopausal fluctuations in hormones that is causing this syndrome, though what is unclear is how much of what hormone and how to balance them. I won't go back on the progesterone pills because that is what seemed to trigger the worst episodes. I have now had to go back on Lysine even though I am concerned that it can cause high cholesterol. I do have high cholesterol and did take Lysine off and on for many years.  But Lysine is very effective.

 

I was also trying tea tree oil, which is a new treatment for me, thanks to this forum, but needed a heavier dose of something at times. I have also just got lemon balm tea, which someone recommended. Or is it lemon balm aromatherapy or is it apply to the skin that works best??

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sue, Community Member
4/18/10 10:56am

Hi,

It was very comforting to find you all online. I was relieved to know that I am not the only one dealing with this. I am 55 and having all the effects of menopause: mood swings, night sweats. Had a partial hysterctomy years ago, so no periods to keep track of.

 

I did go to the doctors and the only answer was to take the Valtrex every day. I am not willing to do that. Knowing that our bodies will begin tolerating any drug we put into them, that sounds like profit for the drug companies and just a temporary answer for me.

 

Since I am finding out there is a huge correlation between menopause and frequent outbreaks, (especially the hot flashes), thanks to you all, I figure I will do this:  I will take a large dose of L-lysine daily(which was used by MDs before Valtrex was available. It works differently than Valtrex.) I will also go back to black cohosh daily, as it really helped when I began having hot flashes. I plan to do this for 30 days and see my results. Also, sleep as much as possible and eat healthy foods.

 

Sending you all much good luck.

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sue, Community Member
4/19/10 1:22pm

I wrote to the university research center that someone mentioned om an above post. (thank you!) They wrote me back within 24 hours and gave me this info. I had inquired as to if there were any other options other than upping the intake of Valtrex. They were supportive of the medication Valtrex, saying it is safe and mild. I understand that. I am just concerned that when my body begins to tolerate it, it will take more and more to get the desired effect. I plan to try the suggestions below. Again, good luck all.

1) Reduce intake of high Arginine-content foods such as nuts, coffee, chocolate. This is especially helpful longer term but may also be useful in outbreak conditions.
2) Supplement wiht 1-6g of Lysine per day during outbreaks. Lysine counterbalances Arginine and is thought to help reduce the duration of outbreaks.
3) Supplement with Vitamin C and bioflavoinoids, 500mg 1g 1-3 times per day (or to bowel tolerance).
4) Topical glycyrrhiza (licorice plant). Topical Lemonbalm (mellisa officinalis) is also soothing and antiviral/immune stimulating.
5) 25mg zinc per day to boost the immune system and wound healing.

 

 

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bjw, Community Member
4/28/10 12:41am

Thanks for the info.  Did the folks at the research center suggest the above in addition to increasing/using Valtrex or instead of taking Valtrex?

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sue, Community Member
4/28/10 11:40am

vrc@uw.edu

This is the email of the research facility. You can write them with your questions.

Here is the reply. I think it is an alternative, but my physicians suggests there is nothing wrong w/ doing the L-Lysine on a regular basis to increase immunity. Actually, all of the tips are good to do at the same time. I plan to!


"We frequently hear from women like yourself that only start having
outbreaks during menopause, most likely due to all the changes and
stress this puts on your body.

Valtrex is a very mild drug and is very successful in treating
outbreaks, but since you are interested in a non-medication approach,
these are a few suggestions:

1) Reduce intake of high Arginine-content foods such as nuts, coffee,
chocolate. This is especially helpful longer term but may also be useful
in outbreak conditions.
2) Supplement wiht 1-6g of Lysine per day during outbreaks. Lysine
counterbalances Arginine and is thought to help reduce the duration of
outbreaks.
3) Supplement with Vitamin C and bioflavoinoids, 500mg 1g 1-3 times per
day (or to bowel tolerance).
4) Topical glycyrrhiza (licorice plant). Topical Lemonbalm (mellisa
officinalis) is also soothing and antiviral/immune stimulating.
5) 25mg zinc per day to boost the immune system and wound healing.

 

 

 

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AMB, Community Member
8/11/10 9:49am

Thank you all for your comments. I am closing in on 52 and have noticed a marked increase in outbreaks over the past year or so. I have no other peri-menopausal symptoms except the occasional night sweat and this is very rare.

 

Like many of you I prefer the natural approach and use products from www.Herpaflor.com.  They have a daily supplement, outbreak response tablets and a topical formula.  I was using Acyclovir but found that it stopped being effective, I would get an outbreak on top of the first outbreak, while on the medication! I have been using the new formulas but find that I still have outbreaks, often back to back.

 

Thanks to the woman who re-posted the response she received from the University of Washington Viral Research Center.

 

These frequent outbreaks really make me feel sad as I am married and my husband is affected in terms of our inability to have intercourse during the outbreaks. He does not have herpes. 

 

I wonder what the future holds in terms of our outbreaks...as we age will they dwindle or continue on the current course.  If there are any out there who have been post-menopausal for a period of time, would you please share your experiences with us?  

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sue, Community Member
8/11/10 2:54pm

Hi there,

That is a scary question. I can't help but hope that menopause is a temporary situation. Our bodies are unstable and out of control. minds too! ha!  and once we get into the swing of older age, we will settle down. I don't know that the U of W has any other answers for us, since our generation is the first that has had to deal with this affliction. I hate that our husbands have to deal with this too. But you know, I just compare it to having cancer. We don't have cancer. So, I'll continue to dabble with the Valtrex , which is stronger than Acyclovir, (that stuff didn't work at all and I was mad at the doc who prescribed it, knowing there was something better out there)  and keep trying to get enough sleep etc.

Much good luck to you...

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AMB, Community Member
9/ 8/10 8:34am

Hi, Are you finding that Valtrex is limiting or eliminating the outbreaks?  Thanks in advance for your response.

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cpseattle, Community Member
10/29/12 12:26pm

Sorry to say that menopause is not a temporary sitation when it comes to certain symptoms.  I am 62 and have been dealing with increased outbreaks with increased stress and when I use estradiol (vaginal) for dryness.  I cannot use any other type of hormone treatment due to clotting factors and stroke history.  My vaginal dryness is severe as is the dryness to the point of bleeding of my genital skin.  My husband and I do not sex very often which is a huge problem in itself.  In preparation for an attempt last week, I used the estradiol and bingo, an outbreak.  

Thanks for the info on Valtrex.  I have been using Acyclovir for years with little or no success and will now have a discussion with my doc about alternatives.  I also read that Lemon Balm compresses (tea bag) on the sores can help so will try that. We really have too much other stuff going on in our lives to have to deal with this all the time.

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MSea, Community Member
3/ 3/12 9:53pm

Thanks for your very detailed post. I've tried all of this but nothing work has affected the number of outbreaks that are worse with age.   I even tried some of the goofy remedies on the internet...peroxide, etc. Lots of wasted time, money and effort.  There is a strong connection between hormones and outbreaks but for some reason the researchers are not picking up on this.

 

If any of you have luck with a natural cure, please let me know. 

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1234ls, Community Member
11/ 9/10 7:31pm

I just turned 45, and over the summer, I noticed that the outbreaks are not increasing in the spot they originated at, but I am having new tingling in strange places, but haven't officially broken out in all of them (under my armpits, where my legs rub together, my nipples, etc..   My husband has never had an "outbreak", but I wonder if he is somehow "shedding" or is a carrier.  It also seems like there is a pattern of outbreaks about a week or so before my period starts.  This month, I have a whole bunch of new places where I feel the tingling.  Now I have it around my mouth and in the back of my throat (after oral ___ a couple of days ago).  I am wondering if I am just more susceptible at this time of the month because of peri-menopause, as I have never had this happen afterwards before...

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Jen, Community Member
11/27/10 8:41pm

You know, I am 38 and contracted herpes when I was 22.  When I am not taking medication I have a herpes outbreaks each month at the onset of PMS -and I always have.  I am convinced it has something to do with estrogen-dominance at that point in my cycle.  The reason I have concluded this is because soy is the number one trigger food for herpes outbreaks and it is estrogen-like properties.  I am sure it is way more complex than that since hormones work in ratios, etc.  I am thinking about asking my Naturopath if I can use Progesterone cream just during my PMS phase, to offset the estrogen-dominance, and see what happens.

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Mel, Community Member
12/12/13 5:49am

I have had herpes since I was 18 and I am 51 now. Even though I've had herpes most of my adult life, I have never had this frequency of symptoms. I have been on Valtrex daily dose (500 mg) for the past few years, and I can tell that if I skip a dose I start having the prodrome symptoms of tingling and itching. This is very nerve racking. If I have an outbreak, I do 500 mg twice a day and it greatly lessens the outbreak. It's almost within a day the symptoms subside. Like many of you, I'm trying to break the pattern of the outbreaks. I am on bioidentical hormones and they have been helping me immensely with the menapausal symptoms but not sure if it's affecting herpes outbreaks. Seems that increased OB has occurred along with trying bio identicals, but also I'm in full swing on menapause, so I've noticed other changes too, increased dryness in my skin, vaginal dryness. The bi-est has helped lots with this. I don't want to stop taking it but I would if I knew it would help with the herpes outbreaks.

I have often wondered what more I could do to learn about this.  I often wonder if my partner is infected with the virus but is asymptomatic and if that causing more outbreaks in new sites. There 's a real lack of information out there. I have had the most success with eliminating foods that exacerbate herpes symptoms. The list of offenders for me is Chocolate, nuts, especially pine nuts (No pesto unless it's nut free) sesame seeds, sunflower seeds. 

 This is so helpful to read

other women's experiences with herpes in menapause.

 

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Yeermomth, Community Member
11/27/10 9:36pm

Very happy to find this discussion. I'm 38, have had HSV-1 since I was 24. It's always been managable to the point I forgot I even had it.

 

About 4 years ago, I started having fevers of unknown origin and flulike symptoms (malise, persistent sore throat) and chronic insomnia, possibly triggered by starting a new stressful job. My doctor was the one who connected these symptoms to herpes. After she said it, I realized I did have very mild "classic" herpes OBs, but they'd been overshadowed by the flulike stuff. At that point, she prescribed 1g of Valtrex for suppressive therapy. For two months, the skies lifted and I had no symptoms. I felt perfect, and had zero side effects from the medication. But then.. of course the symptoms came back.

 

Important to note that during this time, my periods became very irregular -- they'd last one day, if I got them at all, which led me to believe I'm entering perimenopause.

 

I tried birth control pills to even things out, but they made me so sick I coudn't stick with it. (Maybe I should power through.)

 

For me, Lysine doesn't do a thing, ditto for vitamin B and zinc, though of course they might be an good immuno-boost in general. I switched to a low-stress job, which oddly banished my symptoms for a few months, but again they returned. I'm still on 1g daily of Valtrex, but obviously that's not really working since I still have my symptoms as frequently as I ever have.

 

The one thing that does seem to help is A LOT Of sleep, like 11 or 12 hours as many nights as possible, which for most people is not fesasible (and for me, an insomniac, rare).

 

Frustrating to think there's really no research going on about this. One reason is because perimenopausal women with herpes are not the strongest 'voting bloc' when it comes to driving research funds (judgmental/biased system). Also GlaxoSmithKlineis making hand-over-fist in $$ from Valtrex, whereas a cure would pay no one.

 

I'm going to explore my options with an endocrinologist and hopefully be able to post more optimistic news. Be well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
11/29/10 12:52am

(Original post-er of question) - I'm now 56, still using bioidentical hormone cream with an increase in progesterone ration, I think, since my last post, and my OB's are rare.  Maybe once or twice a year.  I'll probably taper off the hormones eventually, but I think my own fluctuations have leveled out, and suspect that has helped.  I don't think it keeps getting worse - I think the erratic nature of hormones around menopause is what causes this uptick in OB's.  As well as the temporary insanity.  I'm all better now in that regard.  No, really. . .

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Jane Fruth, Community Member
6/15/11 10:56am

Hi I'm 52 and have had herpes for 30 years with a dramatic increase in OBs during menopause. What are bioidentical hormones? Where did u get them? And how do u know which ones to use? Thanks in advance. -Sad

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Heather, Community Member
12/ 6/10 6:23pm

I'm joining my voice to the group as I too have been experiencing increased number of OB's and would say that I am peri menopausal coming up to 49yrs.  The last couple of months I have had back to back OB's (mine are external around base of spine/buttocks location)... I have started to experience little temp. fluctuations about a week before my period starts (probably very mild hot flash) and also the weather here has been hot and dry.  I have found in the past that dehydration seems to be a trigger (often due to it being a hot day, doing physical work or strenuous exercise and not drinking enough fluid).  I have one coffee a day (latte prior to breakfast) and do eat my ritual 4-5 squares (not bars or blocks) of chocolate per day and the odd nut in my morning cereal.  Not taking any medications or HRT however I do use a topical treatment with 5% Aclclovir for the herpes which of late does not seem to be doing much.  (I have taken pill for treatments in the past but didn't really find that they did much to help.)

I prefer to opt for natural treatments whenever possible so I will test some of the options given here and continue to remind myself to keep up the water supply (possibly electrolytes may play a factor in this too), get more sleep and see what works or at least decreases frequency of OB's. 

 

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Heather, Community Member
12/ 6/10 7:25pm

To add to the above post... I have also noticed OB's can be triggered if I skip meals (this I very rarely do now) or delay eating at a regular time (particularly the case with lunch).  If I'm traveling or going out for the day I carry a snack bar or two as back up so I have something I can eat to tide my system over until I can have a meal.

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Azmerelda, Community Member
12/13/10 10:35pm

REALLY glad I found this website! I'm 51, perimenopausal, have had herpes for at least 25 years and up until this past year have had it pretty much under control. Now however I am having out breaks almost constantly. The last one started right after Halloween and was the worst I've ever experienced and seems to have spread. I used to only get lesion on two places of my anatomy now, it's in several AND the Halloween original BO was like a blood blister that lasted for weeks and I have had prodromes almost every day since. I recently started taking PhytoB to help with hormonal fluctuations. I experience hyperactivity of facial muscles and heart palpitations, etc. 

Though I wish we all had a cure for this dreaded virus, it's somewhat comforting to know that other women out there in my peer group are having a similar experience. Now at least I know that it may be "normal" for our age group and condition. And when my husband grumbles about lack of sex, I can share with him that this is REAL and not so so fun on my end either.

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dawny13, Community Member
12/19/10 12:23pm

omg, so glad to know others are believing the hormone correlation. i'm 52 post menopausal and outbreaks are becoming more regular again. FYI TO ALL Vitamin B1, Thiamine CAN AGGRAVATE OUTBREAKS... so B supplements need to have lower levels of B1.  Found this info years ago...was taking high level B complex felt fantastic but OB's  were out of control. i read this info in the now old boook Women's encyclopedia of Health and natural healing by Emrika Padus.

i seem to notice having too many sweets, nuts, running on empty (not getting enough sleep) etc aggravate.  However, i use herbs from accupuncturist to help with the meno symptoms (liver heat) and am going back to see what to do. i also regularly use a small amount of natural bio-identical hormone to relieve the sensation of getting a bladder infection, think it is from vag dryness as i do not have bladder infections. i am in a new relationship and frustrated beyond belief and baffled as to why this is happening.... i'm excercising more also hoping it will help. i will continue to check in here and contact university of WA. thank you all for sharing.

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Azmerelda, Community Member
12/19/10 3:39pm

Yes! Nuts, seeds, chocolate, caffeine and anything that contain Argenine, will aggravate the virus, is what my ND told me. She gave me a food list outline of things to eat and what to avoid so I could better get a handle. I do know that for me, at least, she highly recommended eating protein at every meal, but with no nuts, and a lot of the grains on restriction as well, that just leaves meat. Not a personal problem for me, but may be for anyone vegan or vegetarian.

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Cheryl, Community Member
12/25/10 4:47am

I don't usually see threads continuing on month after month.  Interesting how this one seems to have hit a nerve.  I'm like everyone else here, 52, starting to have changes in my period.  Only got Herpes 2.5 years ago and have had very few breakouts.  Now a week before my period is due, I'm having one nearly as bad (or maybe just as bad) as the first.  It would be a great relief to hear some success stories or that things ease up after menopause.  If you're posting here, please don't forget to come back and let us know any changes you find and whether any of these suggestions helps.  Hope is anti-stressful :)

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Joan, Community Member
1/ 4/11 12:00pm

It's really helpful reading about others who, like me, are frequent OB sufferers.  I've had herpes for 36 years and am quite a bit older than all of you, 64,   I've been post-menopausal for 13 years.  However, only after having to discontinue HRT therapy due to abnormal breast tissue activity, did my body start to implode.  I was not only getting frequent OBs about every 3 months (up from once a year typically) but was also getting frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).  My doctor said that when there is no estrogen, a woman's vaginal area gets very dry and little tears can occur in the vagina which let in bacteria, stress the body and lead to UTIs and OBs.  She put me on an estrogen cream which is totally localized in the vagina and is not absorbed systemically.  My boyfriend has noticed a change in the tissue being softer and "plumper."  My urologist also suggested rubbing a little of the cream at the urethral opening, which also helps with dryness in that area where bacteria can invade.  This has all helped with both the OBs and UTIs until last month when I had OBs back-to-back.  I'm not sure what is going on and am attributing it to diet over the holidays.  It's frustrating because I eat very healthy, do yoga, work out with a trainer and do weights 2-3 times a week.

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abby, Community Member
2/ 5/11 10:13am

wow. the power of the internet.... i am 44 have had GH for 20+ years.  No OB for years.  Recently full on OB. They seem to reoccur within days of healing.  My OB tend to be concentrated on labia - makes it super uncomfortable to wear underwear even. ouch.  i do want a natural approach so have purchased lemon balm (STINGs when applied to OB) and am taking zinc (makes me really nauseous if i don't take on a full stomach).  i am experiencing night sweats and haven't had a period in 3 months - that's why i did this search - figured i must be perimenupausal...

After reading this post that began almost 3 years ago and has no concrete solution to our problems, i feel like i just have to continue to do what i am doing and deal with the pain and shame.  My husband is clean and i don't want to share - so sex seems impossible these days.  what a shame for us...

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
2/ 5/11 12:58pm

I can say my OB's went back to being pretty rare.  I'm using bioidentical hormone cream (estrogen and progesterone), and take acyclovir when I get prodromal.  I also eat/drink a lot of probiotics, which I'm convinced help with immune health in general - kefir and kimchi, which I make myself.  I'll tell you how if your'e interested.  Don't despair - it's time-limited, at least.

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Sage, Community Member
3/ 4/11 7:08pm

Has anyone used any of the "herbal" or alternative treatments?  Medavir, Dynamiclear, H-Away, etc......

 

Any successes?

Sage

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Healthychoice, Community Member
3/ 5/11 11:14am

Just wanted to chime in...I too, am thankful to have found this chorus of voices for women who are dealing with this issue.  I am almost 51, acquired GH at age 24, and have always had light and infrequent outbreaks (maybe 2 or 3 times per year, brought on by my periods.) - Would almost forget I even had the condition.  However, over the past year or so, my periods have become lighter and more sporadic (occurring every 4 - 6 weeks.)   Lately, I have noticed that the OB's have become more frequent - having one right now, and just had one two weeks ago!  However, they are very light - just one little tingling bump.  It seems as though any little rubbing or irritation will bring it on.  I have also recently had this relentless flu virus that is going around, and had a light case of shingles a few months ago, so maybe these are factors?  I also thought I had a UTI a month or so ago (I've had maybe only two of these in my entire life) but the test was negative for it - just had that slight burning sensation.  Maybe this is being caused by a bit of vaginal dryness?  I am going to ask my GYN for the cream.   I am so relieved by this post, as I was starting to think that I had serious auto-immune issues, and maybe needed to be tested for HIV.  I sure wish that they would do more research/talk more about this issue, as it would possibly relieve some of our fears - by the way, I am in WAY less of a stressful time of my life than I have ever been before - very happy and laid back, so I don't think that is a factor at all - HAS to be a link between the hormone fluctations.  I too,would like to hear from more women on the other side of menopause-who have been through the process and could offer more insight.  Thanks to all those who have written in to add weight to my own thoughts!

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
3/ 5/11 12:04pm

Glad you found this helpful - I have, too.  (I'm the original post-er).  I'm now using estrogen/progesterone cream, about which there's some controversy, but I'm willing to risk a MAYBE couple-percent risk of cancer of the something or other in exchange for improved quality of life, personally.  Don't know if it's the hormones or the passage of time, but I'm back to my earlier state of, like you, forgetting I have it most of the time.  I'm also eating a lot of fermented foods (kefir, kimchi), as I've read that having a gut full of normal flora is a big factor in immunity - I think the whole ecosystem in there produces substances we don't understand, but which we need, and which most of us have killed off with antibiotics and over-sanitized living.  Good luck with it all!  If you write back, it shows on my email and I'll answer.  Bestest - DM

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Healthychoice, Community Member
3/ 5/11 12:34pm

Wow...thanks for writing back, and for the words of encouragement.  Interesting, as I have recently read several new studies about changing the bacterial "content" of one's intestinal tract, by eating the kinds of things you are suggesting, and how enough of these things need to be eaten in order to counteract the negative types of bacteria that are put into our systems.  I have also been trying to do this, (eat more for important body fuel, rather than for pleasure.)  By the way, I forgot to say, I have never really had to take medications over my almost 27 years of having GH - to me, it was never really much of a problem (until now.)   My husband gave me GH @ age 24, and we are still married (much more happily in our older age,) so the consequences haven't been much to deal with (for me.)  I did have to take the mega-doses of Valtrex back in September when I was diagnosed with shingles.  I must say that I don't really like taking ANY type of drugs that are not absolutely necessary, but I am now considering using the cream (and thanks for your current information on that, by the way!)  It is SO important for women to talk with each other about these issues, because as the posts show, it seems that many health care "professionals" have a less-than enthusiastic attitude about these topics, when questioned.  Thanks, ORIGINAL POSTER, and best to ya!

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
3/ 5/11 2:34pm

And to you, m'dear!  Keep me posted - I'm puttin' my money on beneficial bacteria, for the moment.  The concept reminds me of composting and soil microbiology, which I just read a book about ("Teaming with Microbes" - a little dense, but I found it a page-turner.  But then I'm a compulsive gardener. . .).  The book talked about all the mysterious ways that plant roots attract the microbes they need to break down nutrients for that particular plant.  I think Ma Nature knew what she was doing, and we should try to cooperate. . . 

Also, re fermented foods - I've heard from a few different places that the longest-lived and healthiest cultures eat a lot of them.  It makes sense - we evolved before refrigeration and antibiotics, and fermentation was the main way to preserve food.

ALSO, re hormone replacement - I started after I met a doctor in his late 80's who contends that we don't stop making hormones because we get old, but that we we age because we now outlive our capacity to produce hormones.  I THINK it makes sense, although I'm reluctant to suggest it to anyone else.  I'm a nurse, now with hospice, and I do notice that women in their 80's and 90's who are taking hormones seem more vital and active.  For what it's worth. . .

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copeful, Community Member
3/22/11 12:34pm

I'll be 54 in a couple of weeks. I've had GH for probably 34 years. I was on Acyclovir, Zovirax for years. I am now on Famciclovir as I had commented to my PCP maybe a year and a half ago that the OB seemed to be related to Hormones but that was strictly anecdotal on my part. That's when he changed me to Famciclovir, saying I'd been on the other so long that it wasn't working. I had gotten to the point that I was only taking the Zovirax for the duration of outbreaks.  The Famciclovir is to be taken twice a day, but it didn't seem to be working. I had quit taking it because I've had ongoing back to back problems for most of a year, what I thought were OBs. I did start taking it again a week and a half ago? But now have a true herpes OB, so maybe it doesn't work for me.

 

I tell you I only got online today because I'm again at my wits end. I came home from work last evening and just wept, freaked the cats out. What's the old saying, `Some days it's not work chewing thru the restraints?' Or is that new? At least I still  have my sense of humor.

 

I made up my mind to not use HRT. I've done some investigating over the years about natural birth control since I was taken off of birth control in my 30's. I heard Merryl Winstein interviewed and bought her book Your Fertility Signals, which is probably out of print now. I later heard Sherrill Sellman interviewed and picked up her book Hormone Heresy, what women MUST know about their hormones. Then I heard Roger Mason of New Vitality talk about Natural Progesterone Cream. I'd noticed if I had a particularly chocolately Mud Pie at a favorite restaurant, I'd get night sweats. I discovered `What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About PreMenopause' by John R. Lee, MD. And some of these 4 mention the work of the others. I use progesterone cream; no sweats, the hot flashes dialed back to zero. No symptoms (other than emotional) to speak of. Oh, had to give up Diet Pepsi, sensitive to preservatives; thought preservatives might be causing what I've been living with.

 

What gives me hope today is the mention of the vaginal dryness leading to tears in the epitheleal tissue. I knew this wasn't OBs. I thought it might be diet. I can't eat nuts; don't drink coffee; have reduced to almost nil the chocolate intake. Is my sugar level still too high? Diabetes runs in the family; I'm trying to stave off with diet, but need more work on that as I'm overweight. Was it a yeast infection; almost feels like that. But the idea of bacteria getting into tears...that seems to have some merit in what I am going thru. I do get nauseaus with Zinc. I thought Selenium, too, as I've heard it has some antiviral properties. I wrote down the U of W's 5 points and will follow. I'm bookmarking this site. I won't say I was at a precipice, but today I may be able to take action, to cope...

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Carol, Community Member
4/ 1/11 9:18pm

Thanks to all of you who are responding to this issue.  I, too, have noticed the connection between changes in hormones and herpes.  I am 61 and did not know I had GH until I was given the estrogen pellet.  This was done after one year on using both estrogel and progesterone cream.  Since my estrogen levels were extremely low and still not increasing significantly with the gel, I agreed to start the pellets.  After the 2nd or 3rd pellet (about 6-9 months) and a sharp rise in my estrogen and testosterone levels, I became aware of what seemed to be a urinary tract infection which did not go away.  Then I experineced what I think was my actual 1st OB and  tested positive for GH (Have not been sexually active for 9 years).  Since then the prodromal symptoms are almost always present.  I have been trying to use natural products (Lysine, echinacea,etc), but find that the only thing that is suppressing an outbreak is the use of Valtrex.

I'm wondering if the GH is most triggered by the hormonal fluctuations. A Suzanne Sommers book claims that taking progesterone daily along with estrogen daily is actually mimicking pregnancy.  So I've decided I need to stay with the most natural flow which is to use the progesterone cream for only 2 weeks and allow myself to have a period.  I've noticed a slight decline in my symptoms doing this and will keep you posted.  I have also decided to see an alternative health care practitioner in my area to test for other imbalances that may be creating these symptoms.  My current doctor believes there is a connection related possibly to the vaginal lining and changes it goes through with hormonal changes.  I also found on an "Allexperts" website that a John Thai MD totally believes that progesterone increases one's susceptibility of OB 100x.

Thanks for anyone who can continue to add insight to this problem!

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waterfall, Community Member
12/30/11 1:07am

I'm 54 and entered menopause with a "bang" about 7 years ago.  I've had GH since age 16 (not formally diagnosed, but once I knew enough to deduce what it was, I put two and two together), including Herpes Whitlow ("finger herpes") of my non-dominant hand, ring finger (go figure). As I recall, it seems I used to get OBs related to my periods the first 10 years or so, then had them infrequently, then not at all for at least the past 25 years.  I don't remember ANY OBs as being all that memorable.  The worst were actually the Herpes Whitlow OBs-those could be excruciatingly painful, and I didn't actually know until fairly recently that that's what they were!

 

 When I started perimenopausal symptoms about age 47, I had everything and more: hot flashes that left me in rivers of sweat (I'm a RN and was pulling ice packs out of the freezer at work and shoving them down my bra); same with night sweats, mood swings,etc. I couldn't exist like that. I didn't really have hot flashes, though-I just had hot, steamy days upon days, with some moments between being hotter and steamier than others.  It was like living in the tropics and then continually going into a sauna (you ladies know what I mean). I went to my doctor (mind you now, this was just after the big WHO study that came out saying that HRT was basically deadly, and women were coming off of it in droves) and demanded she put me on it.  I'd already tried everything OTC that I could find with no relief.  So she put me on Premphase and I've been on it ever since.  Pure heaven. I've said more than once that you'd have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands before I'd give it up. I've tried coming off of it several times, but the symptoms of menopause are so life-disruptive that I would sincerely rather take my chances with the HRT. 

 

So...enter lovely GH.  I'd had decades of zero OBs (I really never knew for sure I had herpes-I was just a dumb teenager when I contracted it, and hadn't worried about it for decades, and that included infecting anyone-I didn't give it a second thought. It was as though whatever it was, it was a thing of the past.  I'd been having unprotected monogamous sex with multiple partners all that time since and had never had a single issue). I suddenly found myself having back-to-back OBs that were excruciating, covered relatively large areas and lasted for 3-4 weeks at a time. That's when I actually realized I'd likely had GH all along, but why I was all of a sudden having OBs was a mystery.  I also had a severe Herpes Whitlow OB last year that caused me to wind up losing part of my fingernail! I was actually convinced that I had HIV (as I think someone else mentioned), since an increase in herpes OBs is a sign of HIV, and of course, being a nurse I'm exposed to patients who are HIV+.   Fortunately I tested negative for that (whew), saw my doctor who gave me a prescription for daily Valtrex, which seemed to suppress the OBs once she upped the dose to 1 Gm/day. 

 

I started looking online for a common link between herpes OBs and menopause and have been finding more and more evidence. I had the worst "symptom-full" month this past one regarding hormones in general-it was like being 16 all over again with PMS (breast soreness, very heavy period, acne), AND having hot flashes and night sweats and moodiness, too-oh, my!  It was lovely. Even on the hormones!!

 

My dilemma now is that I am single, trying to date, temporarily unemployed and unable to afford antiviral meds (valcyclovir at 1 gm a day as a suppressant is about $1,000 a month). I'm only 54, relatively attractive and want to have a sex life.  Condoms are a help, but not the complete answer.  Is anyone else in this position?  I see a lot of posts from women who are married, but what about us single girls? 

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judith, Community Member
3/22/11 11:43am

I am also so glad I found this thread.  I am 52, have been on HRT for hot flashes (and lack of sleep as a result) for about 2 years.  I've been weaning myself for the last 6 months and BOOM!  3 outbreaks in 2 months!  This is up from one or two a year.  After reading the answers, I definitely feel there is a connection between the decreased estrogen and OB.  I will talk to my OB/GYN today to decide whether to go on profilactic Valtrex or up the HRT again.

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troglodyte, Community Member
3/22/11 3:39pm

I wouldn't presume to advise anyone else re hormones, but I've been using "bioidentical" (whatever that means. . .) estrogen and progesterone cream for about 5 years, since before I made this first post.  The doctor who prescribes them is in his late 80's and pretty youthful and sharp - he says that, rather than stopping making hormones because we age, we age because we stop making hormones (because we live longer than is really natural, I guess, because of modern life and medicine, and the lack of sabre-toothed tigers in our lives.)

 

I've chosen to believe this theory - there's SO much opinion out there about HRT, and I haven't waded through much of it, but I know I feel better on hormones - sleep-wise, mood-wise, outbreak-wise.  Also fewer aches and pains.  And, working in hospice, I notice elderly women who take estrogen seem more youthful.  I'm not trying to cheat age, but I'd like to be vital and strong and spry as long as possible.  Maybe I AM trying to cheat age, but I'm already wrinkly, so it's not about that.

 

Don't intend to proseletize, just my experience.   I'd be interested in hearing specifics on the other side - drawbacks to using bioidentical estrogen/progesterone, and where the research comes from.  Thanks!

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tms, Community Member
4/30/11 8:13pm

I am like sooooo many of you this is unbelievable but must mean that we are on the right track here. I am 48 and very peri-menopausal but have been taking the low-dose continual BCP's for a couple of years now due to very painful periods so I feel like I am artificially keeping myself from stopping my periods but don't know that for sure. I guess I have had GH for a long time and NEVER realized what it was...due to the fact that they are more rectal and even as someone else politely referred to as "at the base of my spine" anyway I only got diagnosed at my annual pap/exam in February. I was shocked to say the least but have gotten over that but have not been without an OB since then! I have my second fever blister already and usually only get those once a year (from the stress of sunburn) and 3 rectal OB's so I thought something must be terribly wrong with my immune system. Hence, the google search and finding this body of people going through the same thing I am. I am just a little confused though after reading through all the posts. It seems like being on the BCP's it should be better and NOT worse?? If this IS better than I don't want to experience worse! Could anyone clear up for me if indeed being on the low dose birth control is a good thing or if I might should try to give them up and see A) if I really am menopausal, and B) if I might have fewer outbreaks? Thanks for any enlightenment to this newly diagnosed GH 48 year old married woman of 21 years!!

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copeful, Community Member
5/24/11 12:13am

I'd encourage you to pick up `What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About PreMenopause (even if you are in Menopause = cessation of periods). The more you learn about the balance of progesterone and estrogen, the more you can figure out what your hormonal symptoms are and take progesterone or estrial+progesterone (apparently, estrogen shouldn't be taken alone) to balance out or get rid of symptoms. Progestin is a synthetic hormone as is the pill. Go to a Health Food Store.

 

If hormones stress the body (and we've figured out they do), having them out of normal also stresses the body.

 

Even though I work in Medicine, I won't take HRT. Look what Medicine missed in me. It took me over a year to figure out what they should have looked at and diagnosed. I was just given steriods. I knew it was something systemic, that I can figure out how to deal with this in the long run if I can break the cycle.

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Cclaid, Community Member
8/26/11 7:39pm

I got GH-1 a few years ago at 47. UGH. Not supposed to have a lot of obs w/ h1.  The first year and a half had a stressful year and constant ob's. 2 years later and I have not had an ob for a year!  I have read it is related to hormonal swings and I have no swings now; now I have no estrogen (boo hoo) but I did not have any ob's until this past week after I BINGED like a maniac on sweets. I drink lots of coffee in the morning always, I eat dark chocolate. I have unrefined sugar choc cookies here and there normally and no ob.   BUT - An entire week of sugar and it was unrefined white processed sugar did the trick. I got my ob. 

I don't think you have to take estrogen to keep from getting ob's. I think it could be the fluctuation and/or the immune system (sugar lowers immune).

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charlies_gran_7179, Community Member
5/19/11 4:44pm

Wow.  I mean I am so glad I looked this up and found all you other ladies dealing with this issue! 

Just to cut to the chase due to time restraints, I am 56 and have been dealing with "the gift that keeps on giving" since I was in my mid thirties, although I think contraction was during my late teens. 

I too have had occasional OB's and used the usual defense, since no cure is available.  Valtrex 2x's daily for 5 and the problem is gone...'till next time :O) 

During the last two years there has been more stress and less sex but just within the last several months it seems that OB's are continual and I have gone to daily preventive dose. 

But a scarier thing than that is, I have been getting this horrible sensation in the rectal area.  It feels like I have to go but then nothing happens and if I try to push a little it becomes excrutiating.  I know it sounds gross, and I am terrified to talk to the doc about it but I am going to have to.  This thing used to happen once in a blue moon and was definately helped with the Valtrex so I know is was realted to OB's but now it is coming on a DAILY BASIS and Valtrex is doing little to nothing!!

I do not take HRT either and never have...and have been told I can't use the cream because of hysterectomy. (No uterus but tubes and ovaries) 

Any additional advice would be appreciated although I have to say just from reading here I no longer feel ALONE!!!  Thanks to all of you!!

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copeful, Community Member
5/24/11 12:26am

Okay, sounds gross, but get a mirror and check yourself. If your skin is white, like a layer of dead skin, you may have a yeast infection. That may be the reason the Valtrex isn't working. You are 56 (two years older than me). It may be you have estrogen and progesterone levels that aren't normal causing thinning of the epithelial tissues. A blood test doesn't confirm because it would only be a snapshot in time.

 

I'd also encourage you to do some reading up on estrogen and progesterone levels. Pick up What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About PreMenopause to start with. (Honest, I'm not getting a kickback.) The simple truth is, I found a lot of answers to the questions I had. What is going on physiologically? Surely there is something I can do to be proactive, to not feel so helpless. Why did coffee/chocolate/caffeine seem to make the symptoms worse?

 

Here's hoping we're all healthier going forward.

 

 

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copeful, Community Member
5/24/11 12:01am

I've realized that part of my problem (this year and a half with OB's) is that I have had a yeast infection. I had one years and years ago which left me like raw meat. This time it is more like cuts and fissures. I've leaned on What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About PreMenopause by Dr. John Lee and Virginia Hopkins. I also realized that I also probably had Candidiasis. Apparently, some Medical Doctor's don't believe it's real. I think my high carb diet helped the yeast infection sweep thru my whole body. The low estrogen levels produce thinning in the tissues, which split into fissures. Changing my diet has helped some. (no beer, no wine, no cheese, no refined carbs.) The fatigue, irritable bowel, aches and pains and allergies can be related to yeast overgrowth. It can predispose one to food allergies, sever PMS w/depression, mood swings, fluid retention (even irregular periods, infertility and edometriosis).

 

I've only realized that I have a yeast infection this month (May 2011). I treated with 2 3-day courses of Monostat. I should have just done a 7 day course.

 

I'm back to taking Famcicyclovir 500mg. Hasn't seem to help yet. Initially changing my diet (cutting out the wine, beer, cheese, bread and cutting back on the refined carbs helped some. Using the Monostat has helped some. Nothing has healed me completely yet. I still have multiple fissures `at the end of my spine.' I'm going back to my GYN later this week. I don't know if she'll  have any answers this time.

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troglodyte, Community Member
5/24/11 12:21pm

I'd suggest avoiding carbs almost completely until this resolves, and eating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir (which has 8 or 10 bacteria, vs. 3 or 4 in yogurt), and kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage - I love it.  You can get it int the produce section of most stores, in a pint-size jar.) 

 

I think you're right, that high-carb diets many of us crave make us vulnerable to yeast infections, as well as diabetes, obesity, and any condition aggravated by inflammation. (Wide fluctuations in blood sugar, caused by massive influx of carbs followed - until we wear out our pancreas - by overproduction of insulin, causing a rebound low blood sugar, causes inflammation of the lining of blood vessels and insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes.  It's like we wear out our system for dealing with sugars/carbs by consuming such huge amounts of them.)

 

High carbs can be in the form of sweets - the donuts and sweet rolls at work - or "natural" foods - fruit juices (like mainlining sugar, and not a natural product.  Fruit, yes; juice, no.), potatoes, rice (especially white rice), pasta, bread.  The more habitually you eat these foods, the more you crave them because of the rebound effect of insulin output/dropping blood sugar.

 

Try to eat like a caveman - things you could kill or find to eat.  Proteins, veggies, some whole fruits, only occasional whole grains.  No juice or sweet drinks.  Calming the inflammatory cascade helps with lots of other related health problems.

 

I'll check out the book - thanks for your input, everyone.  Diane (original poster)

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
5/24/11 12:21pm

I'd suggest avoiding carbs almost completely until this resolves, and eating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir (which has 8 or 10 bacteria, vs. 3 or 4 in yogurt), and kimchi (Korean spicy fermented cabbage - I love it.  You can get it int the produce section of most stores, in a pint-size jar.) 

 

I think you're right, that high-carb diets many of us crave make us vulnerable to yeast infections, as well as diabetes, obesity, and any condition aggravated by inflammation. (Wide fluctuations in blood sugar, caused by massive influx of carbs followed - until we wear out our pancreas - by overproduction of insulin, causing a rebound low blood sugar, causes inflammation of the lining of blood vessels and insulin resistance, a precursor of diabetes.  It's like we wear out our system for dealing with sugars/carbs by consuming such huge amounts of them.)

 

High carbs can be in the form of sweets - the donuts and sweet rolls at work - or "natural" foods - fruit juices (like mainlining sugar, and not a natural product.  Fruit, yes; juice, no.), potatoes, rice (especially white rice), pasta, bread.  The more habitually you eat these foods, the more you crave them because of the rebound effect of insulin output/dropping blood sugar.

 

Try to eat like a caveman - things you could kill or find to eat.  Proteins, veggies, some whole fruits, only occasional whole grains.  No juice or sweet drinks.  Calming the inflammatory cascade helps with lots of other related health problems.

 

I'll check out the book - thanks for your input, everyone.  Diane (original poster)

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
5/24/11 12:26pm

Forgot to say that, along with our carb addiction, the use of antibiotics while eating pretty much sterile foods has compromised the normal mix of bacteria we SHOULD have in our intestinal tract.  Healthy colons have billions of bacteria in 1/2 teaspoon of stool; we not only kill those off with antibiotics, but we don't put back normal flora with fermented foods, a staple of healthy, primitive, and long-lived cultures. 

Interesting note:  C dificile, a nasty intestinal infection people get following extensive antibiotic use, is best treated with a "fecal transplant" from a healthy person.  Don't think about that too much, but the take away message is that normal flora and a healthy diet is the best defense against many of our ills.

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tms, Community Member
5/31/11 10:24am

I thought I would update the things I am trying and so far no further O.B.s...I started taking Lysine 1000mg per day as well as Vit C 1000mg per day and so far so good. ON the yeast infection part of this discussion I have been plagued by them all my adult life and I usually got them around my periods so I think there is yet another connection between hormones. I am almost finished with a bottle of Candida Cleanse made by Rainbow Light and am now wondering if that too isn't helping. From Feb through May 1 I had 4 outbreaks and now, May 31 I haven't had any more. I also have not had a period so that could also be a correlation. I think I am at least the 3rd RN posting here and my speciality is in Infection Prevention so the bit about C-diff I can vouch for. IF anyone is prescribed antibiotics for ANY reason they should ask and double ask if there is an alternative. Ask the provider if it is possible the illness is caused by a virus and if so DO NOT take antibiotics until proven that the illness/infection is caused by a bacteria that otherwise wouldn't resolve on its own because many of them will. FOr me, I am going to stay on the Lysine, Vit C and Candida Cleanse and see if I have found something that works. I will let you know!!

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Bimmergal, Community Member
5/31/11 2:54pm

Would taking a probiotic help lessen the OB's do you think?   It seems since the past year I get an outbreak 1 or 2 times a month.  I am 44 and have had GH since I was 19.   Never have I had so many outbreaks, its very frustrating.   Is there anything anyone of you have found to lessen them?  I have been eating lots of chocolate and "bad food" lately, I was on vacation.. lol... and I am just addicted to chocolate but it never increased outbreaks before, hmmm???   Any suggestions?

thanks!

~L

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Cclaid, Community Member
8/26/11 7:42pm

I got GH-1 a few years ago at 47. UGH. Not supposed to have a lot of obs w/ h1.  The first year and a half had a stressful year and constant ob's. 2 years later and I have not had an ob for a year!  I have read it is related to hormonal swings and I have no swings now; now I have no estrogen (boo hoo) but I did not have any ob's until this past week after I BINGED like a maniac on sweets. I drink lots of coffee in the morning always, I eat dark chocolate. I have (unrefined sugar) choc cookies here and there normally and no ob.   BUT - An entire week of sugar and it was unrefined white processed sugar candy / chocolate did the trick. I got my ob. 

I don't think you have to take estrogen to keep from getting ob's. I think it could be the fluctuation and/or the immune system (sugar lowers immune).

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tms, Community Member
8/27/11 11:59am

I suppose a chocolate overdose could cause your immune system to lower...have you tried any supplements to increase your immune system so that the occasional binge won't affect you that way?

 

I continue to take the Vit C 1000mg daily as well as Lysine 1000mg daily and the Candida Cleanse when I remember (it is 30 minutes before meals so it isn't as easy for me to remember). However, since I last posted I have stopped the birthcontrol pills I was on for a few years. I wanted to test myself for menopause and didn't trust that as long as I was taking them my periods would stop normally. Since early June I have only had 2 periods (2 weeks apart) and NO outbreaks!! So, for me, I am convinced that the vit c/lysine combo is helping me and I am going to stick with that for as long as it works!

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Julie, Community Member
8/31/11 5:08pm

I went on progesterone (pills) and found it lead to a dramatic increase in outbreaks. My doctor finds that hard to believe though she thought it more likely that menopausal fluctuations in hormones was responsible for the outbreaks. For years I used Lysine to control outbreaks when they threatened to occur, until I read in Christiane Northrup's book that Lysine can cause high cholesterol. As I do now have high cholesterol, I'm reluctant to use Lysine. Anyone know more about his connection? Northrup recommends garlic instead, though I didn't find this helped. I'm now going to try progesterone again for two weeks on and off and see what happens.

 

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Bimmergal, Community Member
9/11/11 3:43am

Yes let me know what you find out about the progesterone,  and I didnt know that about Lysine,  and I have been taking it but NOPE I still get an OB!!  at 44 years old I am getting them monthly!  HELP!!!

thank you!!!

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tms, Community Member
9/11/11 11:20am

I certainly agree with N that you just have to do your own research and see what works best for you. I am happy with the lysine and vitamin C combo. I am off all hormones and am not sure if that actually made the difference or not since I was already seeing a decrease. With the last one I used tea tree oil directly on the area and it was so soothing that using it 3 times a day for a couple of days was all I need do. 

I have had mildly elevated cholesterol levels for several years now for which I take no medications and have not seen an increase whatsoever by adding lysine to my daily supplement use so I am not sure if that correlation is true for everyone...goes back to the try it for yourself and see if it works idea!

Good Luck Ladies!!!

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Julie, Community Member
10/17/11 8:00pm

tms: I'm kind of amazed to hear from you and others that applying tea tree oil directly is "soothing"! I can imagine it would really burn or sting because tea tree oil is strong, but maybe you are referring to applying it BEFORE an outbreak in order to prevent an outbreak rather than to heal one...

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tms, Community Member
10/17/11 8:26pm

I know!! I thought the same thing too and have a cousin my age in the same predicament and she is the one that suggested it and I said "are you sure???" She told me it was soothing and so I tried it with much trepidation as soon as I could feel the outbreaks coming on and yes...I definitely agreed with her assessment. I don't know if the tea tree oil or the vitamin regimen I am taking is helping to make the outbreaks short lived but they are and I am very satisfied with what I am doing currently. 

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Julie, Community Member
11/29/11 6:26pm

It says on the tea tree oil bottle "not to apply to mucous membranes." It actually can be a bit painful, so I guess the idea is that it's best applied to exterior intact skin, probably pre-breakout. I do find that it has a suppressing effect that way.

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N., Community Member
5/31/11 3:41am

Check out Lorne Vanderhaegue products to balance out your hormones pre and post menopause Estrosmart and Menosmart. I have had the pleasure of meeting her in person and being an RN find her and her products to be the real thing. They have helped me considerably.

 

Also check out this site for good information for homeopathic treatment:

 

http://www.herbs2000.com/disorders/herpes.htm

 

Everyone is different in the way their bodies work, so not all treatments will work for everyone. You just have to try what works best for you. Nat Mur and Rus Tox works for me. If I take Nat Mur at the onset of symptoms, sometime I get away with just a small amount of OB. I got symptoms every month until I started taking Lorna's products. It reduced my OB from once a month or more to less than 3 times a year.

 

I am following in the footsteps of my mom, so if she is an example there is hope. With her health problems and just finding out she has Celiac disease, an auto immune disease to the small bowel, at least I know that the whole body has to be healed to get rid of this pest. She now doesn't get outbreaks postmenopause. She is now 70.There is hope.

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Julie, Community Member
10/17/11 3:08pm

Thanks for that N. What dosages of which Vanderhaegue products do you find to be working? I'm taking her product for fibroid and menstrual health currently but just one a day as it's a bit expensive otherwise.

 

I haven't tried homeopathy yet but after reading the info at the link you provided I'm inclined to try Graphites. I hesitate to spend the money because homeopathy seems so much like taking a sugar pill or something and I've never had noticeable results when I've tried it for other ailments. The Nat Mur and Rus Tox seems to be prescribed for sores around the lips more, but you find they work for you, so I'll keep those in mind too.

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Julie, Community Member
10/17/11 9:51pm

I'm going to try upping my dosage of the Vanderhage's Estrosmart to 2 or more pills per day, going off the Progesterone pills and I now have the Graphites homeopathy so we'll see how that works and I'll report back.

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Beth, Community Member
10/12/11 3:55pm

I contacted the UofW Virology Research folks and here is their response:

 

Thank you for your email.  You raise an interesting question about an increase of HSV recurrences associated with menopause that many other women have raised.  Unfortunately, we aren't conducting any specific studies currently that might provide an answer.  But here's my take on it:

Irregardless of menopause, many people report that things like sickness, fatigue, emotional stress, site friction or trauma are predictable triggers for HSV recurrences.  These very factors are also symptoms women commonly report when experiencing menopause or peri-menopause (when hormonal changes wreck havoc on everything causing stress, fatigue, forgetfulness, decreased vaginal lubrication, resulting in more friction or minor trauma with intercourse).  So whether it's directly or indirectly related (i.e. menopause leading to more HSV outbreaks; vs menopause leading to stress/fatigue/vaginal dryness which leads to more HSV outbreaks), I think you have a case for the two being associated, at least indirectily if not causal.

Bottom line: In addition to Valcyclovir (either with each episode or in suppressive dosing), the most natural of approaches - if you're not already doing it - would be to consider using a good personal lubricant during intercourse (like Astroglide), & to work on limiting all the other triggers that are so much easier to say than to do (like reducing stress, eating healthy food, taking walks & plenty of sleep, etc).  Other treatment modes for the whole myriad of menopausal symptoms of menopausal symptoms including - increased frequency of HSV recurrences - is a discussion to have with your gynecologist or primary care provider. 

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Julie, Community Member
10/16/11 9:08pm

I'm not buying the idea that the stress and lack of sleep alone during menopause is what's responsible. I can only assume from my own experience in recent months and that of everyone else who has posted here, that the fluctuations in hormones must be doing it. I'm on progesterone pills for half the month now, since I was concerned that they triggered two severe outbreaks when I took them daily for two months. When I stopped taking progesterone entirely, I had one good month, but now that I'm on them half-time it hasn't totally solved the problem and I've had another outbreak. If it does not improve, I may stop taking progesterone entirely for a few months and see if things go back to normal or not. I wonder if too much progesterone can accumulate in your body over a period of weeks and trigger outbreaks??

 

I'm also taking a Lorna Vanderhage product for fibroids and as with many of these products it's hard to say if it's doing anything or not.

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troglodyte, Community Member
11/17/11 12:45pm

I'm with you.  I'm no more or less stressed (or neurotic. . . ) than before menopause - I actually feel a little more even-keeled, emotionally.  But my outbreaks, when I forget to use my estrogen/progesterone cream, and before I got it, were dramatically different from anything before, in both frequency and severity.  This is not to say we're doomed to stay on hormones; I never gave it a chance to run its course.  I started on the cream for various reasons, which may not work for others, and noticed the outbreaks were better.  I was still, however, in that awkward, fluctuating phase of peri-menopause, so I think it's possible the outbreaks would calm down with stabilization of hormones over time. 

 

Too bad the university response was so lame ("Irregardless"????!  Who wrote this thing?)  It'd be nice to see some research on activity over the course of menopause, but this would not be profitable research, alas, unless there's an expensive new drug being marketed.  Don't get me started on the healthcare system. . . 

 

Just read my initial post, and I see that the cream made it worse at that time.  So much for my memory.  Be reassured: I have fewer and milder outbreaks now, with my usual sporadic approach to applying the cream.  Seems like the passage of time helped.

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springgirl, Community Member
11/15/11 2:28pm

I am 46 and go through all the same things you all have described.  I have been very discouraged and a little concerned asking myself the question is this going to continue to get worse as I age?  For many years I had very few outbreaks but now as I am getting older they are worse then when I first got them.  A few years back by mistake I found something that stopped my break outs.  I was trying to do a yeast cleanse and I bought a product call Candida Force from a company called the McCombs. I was taking it will another product they offered with was a combination of ecchinachea and vit. C.  Vit C make me break out so I wasn't sure how this would work.  Strange but I didn't have any break outs.  Later I figured out the derivative of caster bean oil in the product was thing thing that was stopping me from breaking outs.  I had tried many other herbal remedies before and they worked initially but later didn't work at all in fact got worse.

 

However, this Candida force has always worked.  What is in it is 10-Undecenoic Acid (derived from Caster Bean Oil). Pharmiceuticals don't work very well for me anymore.  The zovirax topical cream does help a great deal during a break out.  It heals more quickly.  Right now I am taking the Candida Force and it stopped the virus from erupting.  I have to take quite a bit of the product.  I use 5 pills 3 times per day.  But it saved me from another repeated outbreak. 

 

The website is www.mccombsplan.com.  But they way the cleanse was very hard and I never made it through the whole program however.  I still buy both the Candida Force and Detox Essentials.  They are very good. 

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springgirl, Community Member
11/15/11 2:33pm

Cleaning up my typos

 

I am 46 and go through all the same things you all have described.  I have been very discouraged and a little concerned asking myself the question, "is this going to continue to get worse as I age"?  For many years I had very few outbreaks but now as I am getting older they are worse then when I first got them.  A few years back by mistake I found something that stopped my break outs.  I was trying to do a yeast cleanse and I bought a product call Candida Force from a company called the McCombs plan. I was taking it with another product they offered called Detox Essentials which was a combination of echinacea and vit. C.  Vit C makes me break out so I wasn't sure how this would work.  Strange but I didn't have any break outs.  Later I figured out the derivative of caster bean oil in the product was the thing that was stopping me from breaking outs.  I had tried many other herbal remedies before and they worked initially but later didn't work at all in fact got worse.

 

However, this Candida force has always worked.  What is in it is 10-Undecenoic Acid (derived from Caster Bean Oil). Pharmiceuticals don't work very well for me anymore.  The zovirax topical cream does help a great deal during a break out.  It heals more quickly.  Right now I am taking the Candida Force and it stopped the virus from erupting.  I have to take quite a bit of the product.  I use Candida Force:  5 pills 3 times per day.  But it recently saved me from another repeated outbreak. 

 

The website is www.mccombsplan.com.  By the way the cleanse was very hard and I never made it through the whole program.   However, I still buy both the Candida Force and Detox Essentials.  They are very good. 

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Julie, Community Member
11/17/11 3:51pm

I didn't know about Candida Force and the connection between yeast imbalance and herpes. Also, I'm curious to know about the progesterone/estrogen creme. I thought the idea was to use progesterone cream only to counterbalance the estrogen dominance in perimenopause. Estrogen dominance can lead to everything from fibroids, to heavy bleeding to breast cancer. What does taking the estrogen cream do for you at this stage? Thanks, this hormone stuff is highly confusing.

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Julie, Community Member
11/29/11 6:35pm

It's clear to me that it is peri menopausal fluctuations in hormones that is causing this syndrome, though what is unclear is how much of what hormone and how to balance them. I won't go back on the progesterone pills because that is what seemed to trigger the worst episodes. I have now had to go back on Lysine even though I am concerned that it can cause high cholesterol. I do have high cholesterol and did take Lysine off and on for many years.  But Lysine is very effective.

 

I was also trying tea tree oil, which is a new treatment for me, thanks to this forum, but needed a heavier dose of something at times. I have also just got lemon balm tea, which someone recommended. Or is it lemon balm aromatherapy or is it apply to the skin that works best??

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tms, Community Member
11/30/11 9:52am

I have been going through a recent OB and wanted to confirm for you that the tea tree oil is indeed the most soothing treatment I have ever used and that it does not burn...

What I did notice is that I had been back-sliding a bit on my Vit C/Lysine/Candida Cleanse regimine a bit and bam I got hit so I am back on that and during the outbreak bumped up the Vit C to twice a day. 

I am soooooo ready to be over having periods as I seem to have OBs associated with them and the yeast infections are too. I know that others on this forum still have OBs after they cease menstruating but still...wouldn't that be just one less annoyance??Undecided I don't know much about lemon balm except for how good it is in tea so at least you can drink it and know it is both good for you and good tasting!

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Julie, Community Member
11/30/11 12:08pm

Thanks tms:  Although tea tree oil is a miracle cure for all sorts of things, bear in mind that on the bottle it states do NOT use on mucous membranes, so external use only. I actually found that it can be quite painful if applied to an open wound, so I presume it's better as a preventative measure.

 

Lemon balm tea is supposed to be a good for the nervous system including Herpes. So I'll be giving that a try too. At this time of life obviously one needs not just one thing be an entire tool kit to survive.

 

Are you avoiding or limiting coffee, chocolate and nuts? Those things in combination with lack of sleep can be a killer.

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Peaceful, Community Member
1/21/12 12:34am

I think I've got it figured out for me.  It's been a month and no virus or early symptoms.  I was experiencing all of what you have written, as well as vaginal dryness.  What I learned is that v. dryness will compromise the immune system so viruses, infections, etc. will occur (herpes virus, bladder infections, vaginal infections, etc).  I also realized that perimenopause was taxing my adrenal glands.  While life hasn't been real stressful my physiology was being challenged by the stress of perimenopause.  I began taking one capsule of AdreCor- an adrenal supplement.  (I'm sure another type of adrenal supplement would work. I did try another initially and it didn't touch it. Still, I doubt AdreCor is the only adrenal supplement to work) Within a couple days my v. dryness and virus was gone.  I know its only been a month, but I know the pain of all you ladies so I wanted to give a hopeful option.  My new doc also advised that L-Lysine (500mg 2x/day) would keep it suppressed, but that it would do nothing if you're having symptoms.  I hope my health continues.  I'll let you know.  Good luck to all of us!

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Julie, Community Member
1/31/12 11:45pm

That's great. I have also improved my own health vastly in recent months with yoga, cardio exercise and better sleep. All of this has improved my immune system to the point that I am less vulnerable to attacks I believe. How did I solve the sleep problem? I was waking previously in the night to urinate then not getting enough sleep. Simply by holding my bladder during the day, I managed to strengthen it. Losing weight probably also took the pressure off the bladder. I can now sleep through the night and sleep as we know is a number one factor in reducing breakouts. Voila!

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metoo, Community Member
2/22/12 11:51pm

I'm a bit younger than most of the ladies on this thread but I came across it while searching for HSV and hormones.

 

I was getting breakouts like clockwork. Symptoms would start a day or two before my period and I'd have full-on blisters by the time my period stopped for the next week or so.

 

So far, I've been taking L-Lysine whenever I feel symptoms coming on and that helped prevent any breakouts last month (for the first menstural cycle since I was infected.) I took 500mg at morning, noon, and night.

 

Especially for those people who can't take hormones I feel like Lysine is worth a try. It's cheap, natural, and over-the-counter.

 

I hope someone finds a cure soon. :(

 

 

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hopeful, Community Member
4/25/12 2:26am

I am 47 going on 48.  I had my first outbreak about 5 years ago but now, recognising the  symptoms, I realize I have had this virus for at least 10 years.  I take Valtrex 500mg usually once a day which usually keeps outbreaks at bay. If I feel one coming on I take it twice a day for a couple of days.  That is successful in stopping it.  I do notice symptoms though sometimes on one a day.  I went on the Valtrex about 3 years ago when I was under a tremendous amount of emotional stress for a long period and my outbreaks went from every 3 months to every 2 weeks.  I have 2 questions for you all. First, has anyone noticed a change in the sexual side of things when taking Valtrex.  Nearly 3 years ago I noticed a very marked decline in the sensitivity to sex.  Not my libido, but the sensitivity in my clitoris and my orgasms which are harder to achieve and feel.  The doctor said it wouldn't have but I don't know what else.  Also, a couple of months ago I started bioidential progesterone.  I don't know why they (the menopause Centre here in Australia) put me on it.  I was put in contact with them by my Naturopath to check my hormone levels.  I have very limited pre-menopausal symptoms and they put me on it even though my estrogen and progesterone levels were normal.  My testosterone levels were a bit low.  So, I have been on the progesterone for a couple of months and only just started oxytocin.  Within a couple of days I could feel an outbreak coming on.  I doubled my Valtrex and because I was away didn't take the progesterone or oxytocin for 2 days.  My symptoms cleared.  I took the hormones again and straight away I felt the symptoms agaiin.  I stopped the oxytocin now even though the docs at the menopause centre  said it wouldn't be that.  So, after reading all your notes I am wondering if it is the progesterone.  That is my 2nd question.  So, has anyone noticed anything about their sexual feelings from the valtrex?  I don't buy the fact that iit is hormonal as all my friends I speak with haven't had that especially to the extent that my sensitivity has decreased.  I still get horny and want to have sex.

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follyadeux, Community Member
6/11/12 3:55pm

I am a 45 year old single woman and have had herpes for 23 years, although it's only been officially diagnosed within the last year. I was married for 15 and my ex-husband is not infected, despite the fact that I did not know for certain I had herpes and we never used preventive measures. Now that I'm on the other side of forty and single and dating again, of course I'm also suddenly in the same boat as everyone else on this site. Quite frankly, it sucks.

 

I am plagued by yeast as well, and have researched candida quite a bit. I am an organic vegetarian who believes wholeheartedly that most disease is curable through diet. I am also not one to take medication on a whim. All that being said, the candida diet is very restrictive and somewhat at odds with the herpes diet.  Round after round of prescription candida meds did absolutely no good for me, but I finally found two products that work to control the yeast: CandidaStat (a probiotic supplement) and YeastArrest, both by Vitanica.  It's hard to tell the difference sometimes between a yeast infection and a herpes outbreak. The only thing that has worked for the herpes is a daily dose of Valtrex.

 

Would I rather not have to take a prescription med every day? Yes. But the truth is that if I cut nuts out of my diet I'd be eliminating one of my only sources of protein. I already don't eat chocolate because it aggravates the fibrous cysts in my breasts and makes them ache. The Lysine hurts my stomach so badly it cripples me for about 2 hours after I take it. Not much left for me on the UofW recommende list!

 

The worst part about all of it is meeting a really nice guy and starting to date him and having to confess a multitude of sins before intimacy is possible. It's a great way to scare off potential suitors.  I don't want my sex life to shrivel up and die, so I take the Valtrex and basically don't wear pants anymore. All that material up in my crotch is the most aggravating thing of all, so perhaps we should add wearing skirts and dresses to the ongoing list of recommended holistic approaches.  Thanks for listening - it's been a comfort to know I'm not the only one.

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Tired of Tired, Community Member
8/12/12 3:38pm
I have been having symptoms of menopause (which my doctors made me believe was all in my head until I FINALLY found other young women complaining of the same physical symptoms on a BC comparison site) for almost 5 years. I was newly wed And happy just prior to the decline. I'm now 34 & all of my troubles began with NuvaRing! No periods at all & steady decline of mental & physical health as my body quit producing hormones of any kind & blood tests proved this! I thought I would rather die than live a wasted, unhappy existence. Too tired to have a job, fat, always hungry, sweaty, chin hair like a man, head hair thinning, anemic, depressed, and NO SEX DRIVE AT ALL - it actually made my skin crawl to be touched! Finally, I figured out and diagnosed my own problem - hormonal imbalance (more like non-existent) due to that stupid ring! Turns out the body can bounce back most times, but it takes months or years. Several months or maybe a year prior to stopping NuvaRing my OBs started flaring up in a totally different way. Covering large areas inside both labia & I didn't recognize that it was Herpes since previously OBs were one blister At a time (horrifically painful but not so often) on either side of vaginal opening. So, now my own hormones have begun to reappear, but very sporadic & unpredictably. I used some natural progestin cream for a few months, but many different hormones make us women, including testosterone! Testosterone can't always figure out how to act if we are only replacing a few of the cocktail ingredients. It is popular to be on therapy for estrogen or progesterone, and or DHEA, etc, but my blood work showed all of my hormones to be missing in action or barely there so I quit the cream in favor of regaining things the slow & painflly slow way. Now I only take Royal Maca (health food store) which is supposed to assist in reduction of peri-menopausal symptoms & in essence stimulate normal hormonal production and regulate period. (wholeworldboanicals.com) Good news is after some freaky pubescent like bodily changes which haven't quite leveled off but getting much better after 5 months now, I am excited about actually getting to have a sex life again. Now the pre OB stage (prodrone?) is a constant, overlapping & unforgiving menace of burning, itching & the Lysine that used to cut the duration by 75% does nothing at all. You get the picture (I didn't need to go on & on, I guess I'm just so glad y'all are with me here). Apparently, ANY HORMONE EMBALANCE of any kind is a serious trigger to the worst OBs of our lives! It seems others' OBs have settled down post menopause or after hormone therapy levels off. Someone said her nightmare started after starting Depo Pro shots, another after the pill, one mentioned pregnancy. This is clearly a huge problem & obviously something we don't really enjoy discussing with our doctors. How can we get someone with some pull to take up our cause? Docs don't even believe our symptoms are real sometimes. Luckily, we are all smart enough to find each other! There are some mentions of somewhat expensive accompanying products on dynamiclear.com - anyone tried Dynamiclear or the others? Below each product on the details page is a description of why & how it works & what the effective ingredients are in appropriate strengths. I am willing to try anything at this point! If anyone has tried any of these or anything that relieves the misery in the least, I'm dying to know! Reply
orchid, Community Member
11/23/12 7:43pm

Hello, I see your question is very old, I hope somebody can help me too, I just turn 48 and menopause has arrived!, couple of months ago I notice I have more breaks than usual, I do not take any hormonal replacement at all, how ever my doctor increase my dossis of Valtrex 500mg to 1000 twice a day. Im still having a break like every 3 weeks and I notice is spreading ..... this is very, very, uncomfortable, does anybody there have any sugestions?

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princess, Community Member
3/ 9/13 7:23pm

I had a herpes outbreak on my lip a short while ago, that I believe was caused by my low thryoid.  I was trying to go off of thyroid which I had been taking for about 8 years.  About a month or 2 after I went off of it I got all the symptoms of low thyroid back and  all my sex hormones got low, so I tried to use a bioidentical hormone cream with estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in doses that were based on my blood and saliva tests.  All of these low hormones is what I believe contributed to the breakout.

 

About a month or 2 after I tried to go off my thyroid, all my other hormones decrease and I had other symptoms of low thyroid including low body temperature, nails soft, hair falling out, constipation, mood swings and feeling tired.  When I started to take my thyroid again, it took about a month for my thyroid to kick in, but I no longer feel the need to take the sex hormones.  I am taking 15 mg DHEA and 30 mg Pregnenolone which are the hormones that make the estrogen,progesterone and testosterone.  

 

Although my blood tests do not show much for low thryoid, there is more involved and I definitely need the natural thyroid glandular that I take, called

T-100.  It is a multiglandular that also has adrenal in it, because when you take a glandular for your thyroid, it stresses your adrenals which are usually already stressed just from living life.

 

The reason I mentioned my process is that there seems to be a balance and ratio of hormones that is involved.  Both progesterone and estrogen seperately can increase herpes.  It is the ratio and the stress in your body from low thyroid and adrenal function that also play into it.  Get a good natural doctor or chiropractor to address thyroid as many doctors dismiss it.  The thyroid also needs iodine, zinc and selenium to convert T4 to T3, and treat the adrenals too.

 

Bottom line, look into your thyroid and adrenals and taking precursor hormones like DHEA and pregnenolone instead of the sex hormones until your body can start to normalize(probably months) then look into taking the bioidentical hormones if you need them.  Also, your liver needs to be functioning well to process any excess hormones that you take and often the liver is what causes an imbalance to begin with, so take Silymarin or Dandilion or Milk Thistle regularly to help cleanse and support the liver.

Hope this helps. 

Reply
princess, Community Member
3/ 9/13 7:24pm

I had a herpes outbreak on my lip a short while ago, that I believe was caused by my low thryoid.  I was trying to go off of thyroid which I had been taking for about 8 years.  About a month or 2 after I went off of it I got all the symptoms of low thyroid back and  all my sex hormones got low, so I tried to use a bioidentical hormone cream with estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in doses that were based on my blood and saliva tests.  All of these low hormones is what I believe contributed to the breakout.

 

About a month or 2 after I tried to go off my thyroid, all my other hormones decrease and I had other symptoms of low thyroid including low body temperature, nails soft, hair falling out, constipation, mood swings and feeling tired.  When I started to take my thyroid again, it took about a month for my thyroid to kick in, but I no longer feel the need to take the sex hormones.  I am taking 15 mg DHEA and 30 mg Pregnenolone which are the hormones that make the estrogen,progesterone and testosterone.  

 

Although my blood tests do not show much for low thryoid, there is more involved and I definitely need the natural thyroid glandular that I take, called

T-100.  It is a multiglandular that also has adrenal in it, because when you take a glandular for your thyroid, it stresses your adrenals which are usually already stressed just from living life.

 

The reason I mentioned my process is that there seems to be a balance and ratio of hormones that is involved.  Both progesterone and estrogen seperately can increase herpes.  It is the ratio and the stress in your body from low thyroid and adrenal function that also play into it.  Get a good natural doctor or chiropractor to address thyroid as many doctors dismiss it.  The thyroid also needs iodine, zinc and selenium to convert T4 to T3, and treat the adrenals too.

 

Bottom line, look into your thyroid and adrenals and taking precursor hormones like DHEA and pregnenolone instead of the sex hormones until your body can start to normalize(probably months) then look into taking the bioidentical hormones if you need them.  Also, your liver needs to be functioning well to process any excess hormones that you take and often the liver is what causes an imbalance to begin with, so take Silymarin or Dandilion or Milk Thistle regularly to help cleanse and support the liver.

Hope this helps. 

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Mel, Community Member
12/12/13 5:57am

Thanks for the information. This is so helpful. I am going to look into the different paths you have taken. I also have thyroid issues. Please keep posting what is working for you.  

 

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troglodyte, Community Member
3/10/13 1:04pm

Hi, all - original post-er, here, 4 years later.  I get an email when someone replies, and remember this era.

I'm not sure why, but I rarely have outbreaks now.  I'm still using the bioidentical cream, because I think it keeps me spry.  I eat well and am pretty active.  Stress is the usual up and down (but being older gives me more perspective on it, thankfully). 

So, my best guess is that factors we don't fully understand cause an increase in outbreaks for a while after menopause, then they don't.  I appreciate all the info here - I took thyroid for a while and now I don't, because I didn't get around to refilling it and feel fine.  I do take a couple antidepressants, and wonder if that's a factor, as mood is in so many things.

Hang in there, y'all - from what I can tell, it gets easier.  Everything, pretty much. 

Bestest - troglodyte

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Julie, Community Member
7/ 5/13 12:37am
Hi - have had GH for 25 years, frequent and very intense outbreaks for the first few years and then almost nothing for the last 23 years. I'm 48, definitely peri menopausal and have started experiencing outbreaks, usually one, painful bump every month. I will try some of the remedies mentioned in the other posts, especially Lysine, but I'm especially glad that you say you rarely have problems anymore. Maybe once the body gets "back in whack" and is used to menopause or at least HRT of some sort, then the outbreaks go back to being a non-issue as they were for so long. Hope things stay stable for you! Reply
deborahx, Community Member
3/10/13 11:35pm

 

Like the rest of you, I am on-line searching for answers to why, at forty seven, after 31 years of having infrequent herpes outbreaks, they are suddenly coming on relentlessly. I am sleeplessly peri-menopausal but otherwise fit and healthy. Reading these posts feels good because I know I am not alone -- but not so good too, because it sounds like this situation is going to continue, and possibly get worse -- indefinitely. AND I'm reading that caffeine and chocolate should be eliminated from my diet. That IS my diet! 

 

Alas... Women, I had to laugh -- "the gift that keeps on giving!" Life is a comedy of errors...

 

Ouch! I am recently single and want to date again. The last partner I had was the first man by whom I felt very stigmatized after disclosing (at the beginning of our relationship) that I had herpes... Ouch again!

 

I am contemplating neuro-feedback to help me regulate moods and optimize brain function. I'll let you all know how well it fares to reduce stress and, hopefully, outbreaks....

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By troglodyte, Community Member— Last Modified: 04/09/14, First Published: 07/29/08