Recurrent genital herpes outbreaks will occur after a period of herpes dormancy. The amount of time that herpes lies dormant varies by person (each person’s health, immune system and overall biology is different). Genital herpes stays at the base of the spine (in the sacral ganglia), invisible until something triggers the herpes symptoms. It wakes up and makes its way to the surface of the skin to generally end up at the original site of herpes infection.

None of these herpes triggers are absolute since it’s impossible to prove correlation between these factors and actual herpes outbreaks. Also, even if you find that one trigger does actually cause herpes symptoms for you, it isn’t guaranteed to do so every time. Each person has a different experience of what triggers their outbreaks. The bottom line is the more you stay healthy and happy, the less chance of triggering a herpes outbreak.

Potential herpes triggers include:

  • Sex factors
    Friction (due to lack of lubrication), irritation (from nonoxynol-9, for example)
  • Weak immune system: Colds/Fevers/Surgery
    Any time your body’s immune system is compromised, the herpes virus can overpower the body’s weakened defenses and produce an outbreak.
  • Hormonal changes
    Hormonal changes that happen during menstrual cycles could trigger herpes outbreaks.
  • Stress
    Either physical stress (different workout schedule, not getting enough sleep) or mental stress can trigger an outbreak. Destress and re-happify yourself!

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