The very first experience of genital herpes can be the most uncomfortable. Flare ups after this tend to be a lot milder and clear up more quickly. People experience different levels of discomfort but the most common complaints are stinging or itching around the genital or anal area. Sometimes fluid-filled blister appear which burst after a couple of days leaving a painful red sore. If urine touches the sores this can also be a cause of pain.
Some women experience very painful blisters in and around the labia, the clitoris, the vagina and cervix. A watery discharge may result, as may painful and difficult urination. It is estimated that around one in ten women get a vaginal yeast infection as a result of the primary herpes infection.
Up to forty percent of men experience a discharge from the penis. Some men also experience swelling and pain around the groin and pelvis area. This is due to swelling of lymph glands. Men tend not to experience painful urination.
Prescribed treatments can help to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort, but there are some simple home remedies that provide some relief and can actually help to speed the healing process a little. It’s worth experimenting to see which you find works best for you.
The most obvious relief comes in the form of cool showers or warm baths. If taking a bath, put a little salt in. The application of cool, wet cloths can offer immediate relief. Some people swear by cold wet tea bags. Five minutes on and five off with an ice bag provides relief, but always use an ice bag rather than putting ice directly on the skin. Some local anesthetic creams like lidocaine can provide a slightly longer period of relief. Zinc sulphate creams are another option. Otherwise, stay well hydrated and wear loose-fitting natural cloth clothing.
Yet another way of preventing pain is by making some attempt to prevent the frequency of outbreaks. Foods containing high levels of lysine may help. For example, vegetables, cheese and fish. Vitamin E and tea tree oil seem to help in the drying of sores. Also, the link between stress and viral outbreaks is thought to be important. So, anything that helps to reduce a stressful life might be considered. There are a number of self-help strategies for stress reduction, some of which include relaxation, exercise, yoga, or hypnosis.
Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.