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My relatively new journey with HSV2


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This is my first post here. I have read many, many, many threads here since being diagnosed with my first and primary outbreak of GH occurring March 23rd, 2015. I just wanted to share my story in hopes maybe it would help and perhaps inspire others who are newly diagnosed. I met my boyfriend and when we decided to be sexually intimate I had no idea my life would change forever. We were both had ourselves tested prior. but neither of us realized that herpes is not generally screened for in STD screenings. Anyhow, after the first time we had sex unprotected, a day or two later I felt a lot of swelling and discomfort down there. It progressed into a tingling and burning sensation in my vaginal area and on the fifth day I experienced muscle aches, fatigue and a mild fever. I have rheumatoid arthritis and my immune system is never up to par the way most people's are so I just assumed due to the generalized achiness and mild fever, I was experiencing an RA flare.

The sixth day after the encounter, I had so much vaginal discharge and it was very yellow and in large amounts. I noticed a couple small sores and freaked out. I read everything I could about different STDs, infections and of course herpes. I decided to see a doctor who looked at me and did a pap smear. He said I just had a bacterial infection and prescribed Flagyl and said the infection was so bad that the sores were merely irritation from the copious amounts of discharge. I began the Flagyl on day seven after being infected which did clear up the bacterial part, but later confirmed after more vaginal sores appeared and they also began popping up on my outer lips and butt cheeks, that I was also infected with genital herpes.

The pain from the sores was so awful that I literally just wanted to die. I soaked in warm water with Epsom salt which did relieve the pain and discomfort for a short time. Ibuprofen was my godsend. It relieved the burn and swelling. I decided at that time to not pursue a prescription treatment, which I do regret. The outbreak had been going on for several days and would not have done a lot of good at that point in time as it was past the early stages. I spent a lot of time trying to sleep and read everything I could get my hands on about genital herpes. I was so depressed that my life would be over and no one would ever want me again. I retreated into myself a lot and completely withdrew from my life. I wouldn't even speak to my boyfriend for days because I was so angry at him and at myself. He did not know he even had it as he is one of the lucky ones who are asymptomatic but he did see a doctor to get it confirmed. That first outbreak healed a lot more quickly than what I have read people say about theirs. From the day of the first sore appearing to the last one healing was about 14 days. The first five days or so of the lesions was literal hell. I found peeing in warm water was very helpful and applying ice packs to the genitals, as well as the above mentioned ibuprofen and salt water baths. I do remember prior to the actual outbreak part, I had shooting pain in my right hip area and buttocks that shot way down into my leg. I assumed at that time, it was just my arthritis, but it more intense, which is why I assumed I was having an RA flare. What I now realize was that it was the virus and before my second outbreak, I experienced the same sensation, but not nearly as severe.

After it healed, I did go into a whole denial phase that it was just the bacterial vaginosis causing all those lesions and symptoms and nothing was wrong with me. I did continue to learn more about the herpes virus and look into alternative treatments, as well as prescription options. I decided to order some Propolis ointment in case, which I am so glad that I did.

After healing and finally feeling like I was moving on, I started a new job, as well as my boyfriend, my usually healthy, balanced diet was disrupted by eating take out on the run, lack of a regular nights sleep for about a week in a row, as well as other life stressors occurring, the pain in my right hip and buttocks that shot way down into my leg began about 45 days after the first outbreak. The following day, I noticed a small rash looking thing on the right side of my outer vaginal lip and thigh. It really just looked like razor rash and I had shaved that entire region earlier that day. Well, the following day, that small spot on my upper, inner right thigh started to blister and I knew exactly what it was and my heart just sank. I began by putting the Propolis ointment on it several times a day. I read that zinc, L-Lysine and soaking the sores in Zinc Gluconate for an hour a day would help me immensely. I began that very day taking 3,000 mg of L-Lysine, 50 mg of zinc and doing the zinc soaks. I took 2 of the 500 mg of L-Lysine in the morning, middle of the day and at night. I noticed if I took the L-Lysine too close together, I got mild nausea, so stretching the doses to 6-8 hours apart seemed to help. I made sure to take the Zinc on a full stomach because it can cause some stomach discomfort.

As for the Zinc soaking part, I took 20 of the 50 mg tablets of Zinc Gluconate and crushed them into a fine powder and added whatever the recommended warm water amount was, (I think it was a cup) and took sterile gauze and soaked it in this liquid concoction and placed those gauzes onto the outer lip part and thigh where the rashes were for an hour at a time. I had a very small lesion on the inside of my vagina as well and also placed on there and placed a thin panty liner and kicked back on my couch for that hour. I didn't find it helped me very much. About ten minutes or so after removing the gauzes, the itching and burning continued to be quite a problem, but decided to continue anyway until the sores all scabbed over. During this time, I also continued to use the Propolis ointment. I would clean the lesions with warm water and place a thin layer over the lesions no less than four times a day. It felt very nice putting it on. It was tingly, but in a very comforting and soothing way, not a painful way. To me, it seemed to really dry those sores out very quickly, within a matter of maybe three or four days. I did the Zinc concoction at night and Propolis other times of the day. By the second day of lesions, I decided to go ahead and talk to my doctor about anything else, including prescription treatments as I was extremely fearful of another painful outbreak like the first that had me wanting to die. She told me that I should consider suppressive therapy as my recurrent outbreak did occur pretty quickly. At that time, she did prescribe me 1 gram of valcyclovir twice a day for the first five days and 500 mg once a day after that. If I feel another outbreak coming, I just need to go back to 1 gram twice a day (1,000 mg total). I am to take daily valcyclovir for the next year and we will go from there. I am not sure, but I think its a combination of the L-Lysine, Zinc supplements, Propolis ointment and Valtrex, but this outbreak was super easy compared to my first one. My vaginal lesion healed very quickly and it never hurt to urinate. The thigh lesion did take a good two weeks to heal from beginning to end, but by the third dose of valcyclovir, all the burning and itching completely stopped. I do continue to take the 500 mg of valcyclovir each day, as well as 1000 mg of L-Lysine and 50 mg of Zinc Gluconate. I try to eat a healthy diet with dark veggies and fruit each day, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water which seems to help during outbreaks with the itching and burning for some reason, lay off soda and alcohol (which I started to drink both right before the outbreak which I rarely do drink) and I hoping to remain outbreak free or at least keep them mild and short. Keeping a positive outlook has helped me. I cannot change what happened, all I can do is accept it and move forward the best way I know how. If I dwell on this, I would let it win and I refuse to let that happen. I want to continue being the vibrant, happy, active woman I have always been. I am 35 and this is my first diagnosis of anything that can be sexually transmitted. It is what it is and I cannot change it. All I can change is my attitude and outlook on it. I will not allow herpes to define me or create my value as a person. I will learn to live with it the best way that I can and move forward with my life. Yes, it sucks and yes, its embarrassing, but I can't make it go away. I have to deal with it best way I know how, which has been with jokes and laughter about it. I won't lie, I became severely depressed the first few weeks, but now, I have moved forward and accepted it the best way I can. It doesn't have to destroy me if I don't give it that power. I now view it as an inconvenience that I will have to deal with and I will continue to educate myself about this virus the best way I can.

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Was that the first time he ever tested? What were his IgG results? Did he ever have any suspicion of the infection?

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Yes and his were only very mild that it went unnoticed until doctor brought it to his attention that it was in fact a mild outbreak. Just a small bump on his thigh occasionally that he really thought nothing of it.

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That is why I was checking you knew the type, did they type your swab correctly or have you had a subsequent blood test. Experience with HSV-1 and HSV-2 is very different and most people have an oral HSV-1 infection.

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I was swabbed and we both show up for HSV2. Sorry for not being more specific. It's getting late and I am so very tired atm and not paying as close attention to questions as I should be. Is this helpful?

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I was swabbed, he was a blood test. Do I need to follow up with a blood test with my physician? Will the valcyclovir effect this?

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    • WilsoInAus
      I really suggest that the best thing is for both you and your boyfriend to obtain the Westernblot HSV test. He has a 50%+ chance of being positive and you have a 50%+ chance of being negative. Only the Westernblot can sort this out for you.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hi @kpn the first thing to note is that it is all OK to have HSV-1 or indeed any HSV type. It is not negligence, it is just being human. Oral HSV-1 is not an STD in the sense that the primary transmission is non sexual and the majority of it occurs between parents to children. If any of your children contracted HSV, you would know it. It wouldn't be a silent infection for children. HSV-2 tends not to shed from the oral region for people who have it there in any event. At age 73, about 80% of the population has HSV-1. There is no reason to believe that your mother isn't one of those people. About half of all carriers of oral HSV-1 do not realise they have it and have no living memory of cold sores as they were infected when very young. The most logical explanation is that your mother has oral HSV-1 from her childhood and that your daughter doesn't have oral HSV. Not that it is relevant to anyone but yourself, but your wife might find she actually has genital HSV-1 having had an untyped swab when she was diagnosed.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hi @Dylan86 and welcome to the website. First note that you cannot pragmatically become infected with HSV-1 from sharing a drink. If you carry HSV-1, it did not come from that episode. As such it is extremely unlikely HSV-1 is the primary cause of your issues. Can the WB miss a HSV-1 infection? Rarely but its feasible in less than 1% of carriers who test with WB. Note that the WB does not have values, it has positive or negative as you say. It is way more accurate than IgG as it looks for all 30+ antibodies that are in your blood for HSV. Could you have HSV-1? Yes it is feasible, but it would be a very old childhood infection. Could HSV-1 be causing your oral issues? No herpes will not cause the burning mouth syndrome you describe. Could some of the lesions be herpes related? It is feasible if you are a carrier. But it is unlikely to be the primary cause of the issues, but its an opportunistic virus that can cause issues when something else is taxing your immune system. The best thing you can do is the PCR test on a oral lesion and that will be pretty definitive. Either way, in summary. I'd suggest there is <1% chance you are part of about 70% of the population that has HSV-1. Further there is less than a 1% chance that herpes is the primary cause of your issues.   
    • kpn
      My wife has had hsv 2 for around 8 years. We have two young children 3 years old and 18 months old. My wife only had one outbreak when she was first infected so we didn't worry too much about passing it on to our children. I understand the risk to be pretty low under those circumstances. I don't believe my wife took antivirals during either pregnancy. My younger child has diaper rashes pretty often and has had what I thought was hand foot and mouth disease. That was going around the daycare a while back. I haven't really given it much concern though.  About a week ago, my mother kissed my youngest on the lips. My kid was congested at the time but they pretty much always are. About 3 days later, my mother developed a cold sore on her mouth. She has never had cold sores in her life and she is 73 and happily married so she is not going around messing with anyone. She pointed to the fact she had kissed my youngest and presumed that is where she was infected. At first I said that's not possible since my child has never had any cold sores but since then I have really started to consider that maybe it is possible she contracted it from my daughter. This has me worried that my daughter does indeed have hsv2 and was shedding in her mouth. Does anyone have any experience with this? I am really losing sleep about this. Two people I care so much about got hsv from my negligence. I am fine if I were to contract it, I am not worried about what others think at this point in my life. I just don't want anyone else to have it. 
    • CHT
      Hello DavidGua.... based on the two pictures, I'm not seeing anything that resembles a typical herpes outbreak.  I am not sure what those spots are on your penis.  Please have a doctor take a look and I'm sure you'll get a proper diagnosis.  Have you ever received an HSV antibody test (IgG)?  Again, I doubt your symptoms are herpes-related but, if you'd like some peace of mind, you could request the IgG antibody test for HSV2.   Best of luck.... let us know if you have any other questions/concerns.
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