Herpes and medication
DISCLAIMER: I’m no doctor. (And I don’t even play one on TV.) Any recommendations in this blog post — and on this entire site, for that matter — should be gone over with your doctor prior to acting on it. It’s just the smart thing to do.
There is no herpes cure (like a lot of sheisty websites out there would have you believe), but there are ways to keep the virus at bay. And medication is only the tip of the iceberg. My initial advice about medicating herpes is this: Don’t take it if you don’t have to. It’s a drug. And I try to stay as natural and drug-free as I can. You’d be amazed at how staying physically and mentally healthy can naturally suppress the virus. That said, depending on your body, health and a whole range of factors, taking herpes medication to make you more comfortable or to keep your herpes-free partner safe may be a viable option. Some people are under the impression that if they have herpes, they need to be taking herpes medication. That’s not true. Here are the facts …
So before we even get into the actual medication options themselves, it’s important to determine for yourself whether medicating yourself is even necessary or beneficial. As far as I see it, there are only two solid reasons that you should take suppressive medication for herpes:
- To protect a partner who doesn’t have herpes. Taking suppressive therapy will lessen the chance of passing herpes to your herpes-free partner. Even if you aren’t having an active outbreak, herpes viral shedding happens 5-10% of the time, so taking medication every day across the board helps lessen the chance of passing the virus. “70% of new herpes infections are acquired from people who have no symptoms at the time of transmission … Suppressive therapy has been shown to reduce the likelihood of transmission by half or more.” (Source: About.com)
- If your outbreaks are severe and/or frequent. Especially when you initially get herpes, the first herpes outbreak and subsequent outbreaks within the first 6 months to a year can be more extreme before your body builds up immunity to the new virus. But the good news is, the vast majority of people who have herpes report that their outbreaks increasingly lessen in both frequency and severity as time goes on. A major determinant of that is how you take care of yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. So initially you may take daily suppressive therapy to lessen the outbreaks, but keep in mind that your body is working hard to build its own defenses. You may consider easing off of the medication after a few months to see how your herpes outbreaks have changed. Consider easing to episodic therapy from suppressive as a midway point.
Suppressive vs. Episodic Therapy
Suppressive therapy involves taking the medication on a daily basis to suppress the herpes virus. This form of medicating applies mainly to the two reasons discussed above. Taking suppressive therapy doesn’t mean you will avoid herpes outbreaks altogether, but suppressive therapy has been shown to lessen the frequency, severity and length of time of outbreaks. It also helps lessen viral shedding (if your partner doesn’t have herpes).
Episodic therapy refers to treating herpes outbreaks on an as-needed basis as they occur. If you are single or otherwise not having sex with a herpes-free partner, this may be the option for you to lessen the severity and length of herpes symptoms. As you get more knowledgeable about your prodrome symptoms that signal an outbreak is coming on (tingling, burning, itching in the area of your outbreak or pain in your butt/thighs), you can take a dose of medication to cut the outbreak off at the pass. The sooner you can medicate at the first sign of an outbreak, the better. My experience with medicating after the outbreak is in “full bloom” is that it doesn’t do much good. Others have said it shortens their healing time, though.
Herpes antiviral medications
There are three herpes antiviral medications available in tablet form: famciclovir, aciclovir and valaciclovir (also known as Valtrex).
Lysine, Arginine and Herpes
One of the main conversations about your diet is that of Lysine vs. Arginine. Eat a diet high in lysine and low in arginine to prevent and control herpes outbreaks. Lysine inhibits the herpes virus from reproducing, while arginine is a favorite food of herpes and encourages the virus to grow and replicate, according to John W. Hill, author of the book “Natural Treatments for Genital Herpes, Cold Sores and Shingles.” Lysine also inhibits the herpes virus from being able to use arginine, thereby slowing its reproduction rate.
So choose foods high in lysine (fish, chicken, beef, lamb, milk, cheese, beans, brewer’s yeast, mung bean sprouts, and fruits and vegetables) and avoid foods high in arginine (gelatin, chocolate, carob, coconut, oats, wheat flour and wheat germ, peanuts and soybeans).
And when all is said and done, do what feels healthy to you. I’m not a big fan of totally restricting your diet in order to avoid a simple herpes outbreak. It’s simply a lifestyle choice. If chocolate makes you happy, then eat chocolate. This lysine-arginine conversation is just something to be aware of.
If you do some google searches, you’ll find thousands (if not millions) of people who claim to have success with many different natural remedies. None have been okayed by the FDA, but you make your own decisions on what you think will work. It’s your body and your health!
From the herpes forum:
“I have an amazing herbal ointment made in NZ…I have even used it before sex…smooth it on and its like this lovely silky barrier. It’s made with Manuka, Melissa, tea tree and peppermint oils.” — Lelani on Tested positive for HSV 2
“Lysine plus astragalus (chinese anti-viral herb) and olive leaf extract (another anti-viral). i did valtrex during my second year… i also don’t trust the meds (liver damaging) although my doctor who is an HSV specialist says it’s safe to take daily (500mg tablets). Test it out.” — Carlos on Tested positive for HSV 2
“Since this virus has a lot to do with the immune system, and I’m sure you’re familiar with GNC get the probiotic50 and lysine1000 they’re both really good supplements and it will keep you from getting sick as well. Olive leaf works really well too! Typically I only use Valtrex when I get an outbreak like 2000g within 24 hours. Keep in mind foods high in lysine (milk, fish, eggs, poultry, beef) usually keep the virus at bay. But carbs on the other hand, (rice, wheats, grains etc) are high in arginine in which the virus thrives. Keep that in mind and keep doing what you’re doing. Oh and just keep that area dry, for some reason everyone’s nether regions tend to produce a different type of sweat than that of the rest of your body, so use some baby powder or balla powder (it’s good, I use it).” — College_Guy12345 on Herpes prodrome: What’s it like for you?
1 tube Abreva
1 tube Anbesol
1 tsp Aveeno
1 tsp Aloe Vera 100% gel
3 sprays Hydrogen Peroxide
Mix together well. Apply 2-3 times daily to irritated area. I use this during an OB and apply 2-3 times daily. My OB’s usually clear in less than two days. This can be used on your nether regions or on your lips.
Here’s to Your Health
Ultimately we should take care of our health regardless — our bodies are our temples, after all, right? And if you haven’t been taking care of yourself, herpes may be one of those wakeup calls that motivate you to hit the gym and eat right. The healthier we are, the better we treat our bodies and our minds, the more we have available to keep the herpes virus suppressed. And aside from that, you just feel better overall when you take better care of yourself. Stress to the body, whether it be polluting ourselves with greasy burgers or polluting our heads with nasty thoughts, is one of the main initiators of a herpes outbreak. So use herpes as a great excuse to just take care of yourself across the board.
Here’s a great perspective-shifter … To continue the health discussion a bit more, you can think of a herpes outbreak not as something disgusting and shameful, but instead as a sign to take better care of yourself. Herpes acts as a barometer in your body that signals that you aren’t taking as good care of yourself as you could be. That mental shift can take a lot of unnecessary suffering out of the equation. Feeling a herpes outbreak coming on could mean you stop what you’re doing and go get a massage, go outside in the hammock and read your favorite book. Use your herpes outbreaks as a physical sign to destress your life.
Incoming search terms for the article:
|Print article||This entry was posted by admin on July 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm, and is filed under herpes facts. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|