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.