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itsnotover

OB or Paranoia?

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itsnotover

I recently tested positive for HSV-2. I've never had symptoms, or anything I would have attributed to herpes anyways. I figure that I had my primary outbreak 4 years ago, was diagnosed with a UTI, and haven't thought anything of it since. But now, since I have done the research, I feel like everything is a symptom! I am dating someone that is HSV neg (at least I hope, results aren't back yet) and I am terrified of giving it to him. Does anyone else over-analyze every little bump and itch and sensation fearing it's a mild outbreak, without actual lesions or blisters (sure indications). If I understand correctly, transmission rates are high even during prodrome (I am almost positive I have that word wrong, but you know what I mean). How do you know for sure if it's an outbreak or just an itch? Any useful tips?

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lovebug

Oh... I so know what you're going through. If I start focusing on every nerve pain a bit too much, it seems as though the nerve pain continues and never resolves. This is such a mental bug!!!

When I was first diagnosed, I remember going through this vicious cycle where I would get an OB, then a yeast infection, then an OB, then a yeast infection, then... argghhh! I went to see my doctor, practically in tears. Her advice: quit thinking about it! Guess what: it worked! It took a lot of willpower to just talk myself down, and repeat to myself, like a mantra, that it's the stigma, not the virus itself that is wreaking havoc on me. I know. Saying this is no great comfort, since unfortunately the stigma persists, but it does help getting some perspective on this whole condition. Do we feel like this about colds? Yet how many of us cuddle up with our loved ones when they've come down with a cold, knowing full well we'll be out for the next 2 weeks with a cold. Anyway, it helped me get some perspective. Soon, you'll be one of the lucky ones who's transcended the stigma because you'll realize how benign the virus itself really is.

I also remember letting an early OB (not the 1st, but maybe the 3rd, can't really remember) run its course without taking meds. I started feeling weird shooting nerve sensations in my buttocks. After a few days, it felt as though my underwear was chaffing my skin. Then: yep... an OB. Letting it run its course helped me understand how my body reacted to this bug.

Now, 10 years later, I hardly ever use meds when an OB comes on, since the whole process lasts about 2, 3 days at most, and is subclinical. And I'm single. I can tell the day before by the weird shooting sensation in my butt. By that evening, it feels like my undies chaffed the skin. The next day, the skin looks a little red. Then by that evening or next day tops, it's all gone and I feel normal again.

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lovebug

hmmm... I reread your post and a few other things came to mind.

If you think you've had it a few years, could well be that your body has developed antibodies and will rarely go into full-on OB mode. That said, there are still chances that you could pass it on when it's shedding (and yes, as you say and as I understand as well, when you are feeling the prodromal/subclinical symptoms, though if you're not sure what to expect, hard to tell if you're actually having an OB). Since you've never really had a recognizable OB, you're not sure how your body reacts, and you're presently in a relationship... you may want to do suppressive for a while, just to give yourself peace of mind. That's absolutely KEY with this bug. You can't let it rule your life.

Having said that, I'm not a big fan of suppressive. When I did meds early on, it was acyclovir, and only episodic. Last year, was starting a more intimate phase of a relationship with this guy so I talked my doctor into giving me a valtrex suppressive script (they do such a good job with advertising, valtrex this, valtrex that, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker). But all it did was make me focus on this virus for a while. Then a couple of days went by where I forgot about taking the stupid pill, so then I started stressing again and bam! I felt an OB come on: the tell-tale nerve tingles... Maybe I'm not a valtrex kind of gal? Maybe it was going off of it? Who knows?

Now, I'm off it, and have been with this guy - we're not really in a relationship - but we've found LOTS of really fun and creative ways to be intimate without actually having sex :cool:

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itsnotover

Lovebug,

Thanks so much for your post. You're totally right - if I quit focusing on the virus, I bet the "symptoms" will disappear. The tough part is that I know it's a mental battle - but it's hard to stop! And you're so right about colds ... although it's not exactly the same, it's a wonderful analogy. It's like how the stigma attached with genital HSV is so much different than cold sores. It drives me nuts, now that I have been diagnosed. I wonder why speaking of "the genitals" is so taboo in our society, yet sex is such a huge part of our culture. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Anywhoo, went off course a little bit there ... I too have decided that I am not going to use a medication for suppressive therapy. It's just not for me. I have been researching some herbal supplements that look promising, it's just a matter of picking a few and starting a regimin. I figure that boosting the immune system won't hurt anything and it will make me feel a little more at ease if I do something to reduce the risk of transmission.

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lovebug
I wonder why speaking of "the genitals" is so taboo in our society, yet sex is such a huge part of our culture. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Anywhoo, went off course a little bit there ...

No... not off course at all. I'd say precisely on the mark. Glad to hear you're wrapping your head around this. The real destructive viral aspect of hsv is the stigma. I've even said in the past, during the course of "the talk," that it's the stigma I'm afraid to pass on, not the virus itself. I then explain, of course, how it is a nuisance at first, until one's body builds up its own antibodies.

Also, with the etymology of herpes so close to snakes, I often wonder about the representation of snakes in art, culture, religion - witness: Adam, Eve, and the snake. And I like to think of myself as sharing a viral lineage with some really, really fascinating people in history, art, music, literature, and of course, all of us here on this forum!

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