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Why Women with Herpes are Different from Men with Herpes?

Women with Herpes Fact

According to the statistic, Women are 4 times more likely to get genital herpes than men. As well, 7 out of 10 women (compared with 4 out of 10 men) have flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and muscle pain during an initial outbreak.

Why Women have Greater Risk for Getting Genital Herpes ?
One reason is the way we're made. Our genital area has a greater number of mucosal cells, that is, cells containing body fluids.

Another reason is our menstrual cycle. It is felt that during this cycle the hormone changes affect our immune system. A lower immune system makes it easier for the herpes simplex virus to cause an infection.

Symptoms of Herpes In Women 
Women with herpes suffer some of the same symptoms as as men. An herpes outbreak starts with an itching or tingling feeling in the genital area. This is followed by redness of the skin and then the forming of blisters. These blisters are sore when touched and last longer in women than in men.

The First Genital Herpes Outbreak in Women 
The first outbreak of genital herpes is the same for both men and women. However, in women this initial outbreak is more painful and lasts longer that later occurring outbreaks.

Women often suffer more severe complications and have these complications at higher rate during this first outbreak.

These first herpes lesions (blisters) can happen anywhere in the genital area including the vulva, inside the vagina, on the cervix, and on the urethra. They can also occur in other areas such as the buttocks and thighs.

These first lesions are infectious for an average of 3 weeks (longer than in men). During this time these blisters are highly contagious.

Women experience rash in the genital area. They also can get swollen lymph nodes in the groin area.

Women may experience a burning sensation when urinating. This may happen to 10 to 15 per cent of women

During this first outbreak, 1 out of 4 women may suffer from meningitis, an inflammation of the fluid surrounding the brain.

How Do Women Get Genital or Vaginal Herpes? 
Basically, women get herpes the same way men to. The fluid released by both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can contain the viruses that can cause herpes.

Pregnancy and Herpes 
Having herpes does not mean that you wont be able to get pregnant. Women with genital herpes can experience a safe pregnancy and normal vaginal childbirth.

Many women with genital herpes have normal pregnancies. In fact, between 20% and 25% of pregnant women have genital herpes.

Complications for Women with Herpes 
Cervical cancer: This is considered to be a complication (there are some who dispute this). 
Vulvar cancer: It is estimated that 3,460 women will be diagnosed with this form of cancer. 
Vaginal and other female genital cancers: 2,210 women will be diagnosed with these types of cancer. 
Anal cancer: 3,050 women and 2,020 men diagnosed with anal cancer. 
(Note: Not all who suffer from these cancers can be attributed to herpes infections.)

How Can Women Protect Themselves From Herpes 
There is no HPV Vaccine avail to protect against herpes.

The surest way to avoid transmission of genital herpes is to abstain from sexual contact. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected can reduce the risk.

The use of latex condoms helps to reduce the risk

Treatments for Women With Herpes 
-There is no treatment available to cure this virus. 
-A strong immune system can help fight off the infection. 
-There are ways to treat any genital warts that are visible. These can be removed by medications or by other means. 
-There is clinical study, Herpevac Trial for Women, being conducted to investigate a vaccine to protect women against genital herpes. This trial is being conducted in the United States and Canada.

Treatment for Herpes or Vaginal Herpes 
There is no treatment that can cure herpes. Antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication.  Daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.

Women with herpes not only suffer more than men they suffer emotional and psychological distress, particularly if they are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.


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