Genital herpes can be a painful and annoying problem for both men and women. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus, also known as HSV. It is usually spread through sexual contact, including oral or genital contact. Genital herpes can cause pain, itching and sores in the genital area. Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral medications can help the symptoms, and so can various home remedies for genital herpes.
Topical Treatments for Genital Herpes
Genital herpes can be a very painful issue for many people. The following suggestions might make a difference if you are dealing with a painful outbreak of genital herpes.
1. Drying Powders
Genital herpes can cause open sores, and those can be very painful. Using drying powders directly on the sores can ease the pain and help them heal faster. Baking soda and cornstarch are two very inexpensive drying powders that can be purchased from any grocery store or department store, and they can be applied directly to the sores to help promote healing and drying.
2. Ice Pack
Ice has been known to solve many painful problems, including this one. Simply use an ice pack or put ice in a plastic baggie, then wrapping it in a thin material – cotton is usually best. Apply it to the area for 10 or 15 minutes several times a day. Remember to discard the plastic bags or ice packs after one use and wash the material covering it.
3. Tea Bag
Tea bags can be a great soothing relief to the pain of genital herpes sores. Simply apply a used tea bag, one that is cold and still wet, to the area. Black tea is best. You can also simply heat up a tea bag in warm water, then cool it down and apply it. Leave it on until you feel the relief, then dry the area thoroughly and throw the tea bag away.
4. Aloe Vera.
Known for healing and soothing properties, aloe vera has been a treasured cure for thousands of years. You can use aloe vera gel that is found over the counter, or squeeze some aloe vera from the leaves of the namesake plant. The cooling effect can provide instant relief and the soothing properties can also promote healing. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly after you have received the relief you need.
5. Propolis Ointment
Propolis is collected from the buds of poplar trees and sometimes from beehives. An ointment containing three percent of propolis can help heal the lesions associated with herpes. Try using it four times a day for ten days, then gauge the results.
Daily Care for Genital Herpes
In addition to these home remedies for genital herpes, there are other things you can try that might make the pain and itching less severe. These might also help prevent and outbreak in the first place.
1. Dietary Supplement
Lysine, also known as L-lysine, is an essential amino acid that can be found in any health food store and some supermarkets. Though it is thought to help prevent a breakout rather than ease one, it is worth taking to help combat the effects of genital herpes. But before you take this, consult your physician, especially if you are taking other medications.
2. Warm Bath
Though it sounds rather simplistic, you might be surprised at how much a simple warm bath can do to alleviate genital herpes symptoms. Adding Epsom salt might help ease the pain and itching even more. Just take care to clean the tub thoroughly when you are done, to avoid the possibility of spreading herpes to those who live with you but have not been infected.
As with any illness, plenty of rest is one of the key ingredients to getting better. Make sure to get plenty of sleep to help prevent an outbreak. Sleep can also help you during the time you are getting through and over an outbreak. Go further by cutting out physical stress as well, such as curbing your exercise during outbreaks.
4. Stress Management
Many outbreaks of genital herpes are associated with stress. That’s because stress naturally depresses your immune system, leaving you more prone to illness of all kinds, including herpes. The better you can manage your stress, the more likely you will be to avoid outbreaks. If you do have a problem with herpes during this time, reducing stress might make it less painful or itchy.
5. Safe Sex
When you are having sex, always use a condom. This should be done for anal, vaginal and oral sex – with no exceptions. This helps protect your partner, and it also helps protect your skin. Even the slightest damage to your skin can lead to a painful problem. If you are having an active outbreak, do not have sex during this time, as the shedding of skin cells can easily lead to transmission from one partner to another. Have sex only between herpes outbreaks, and no matter when you do have sex, always use a condom.
6. Better Clothing
Keeping sores clean and dry during an outbreak is how you can promote healing, and that can be done with breathable clothing that allows your skin to dry out during the day, even while you are wearing it. Loose-fitting clothing is always best. Look for clothing that wicks away moisture, and avoid things that hold it in, like synthetic fabrics or silk. Finally, avoid tight-fitting clothing, no matter what. When you are at home alone, try not to wear the lightest, loosest fitting clothing possible.