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What are the causes for Herpes infection inspite of no sexual contact?

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Posted on Thu, 27 Mar 2014
Question: I am 54 years old and have been married for 30 years. I have recently been diagnosed with herpes (genital). Neither my husband nor I have been unfaithful. I do remember an outbreak of some genital rash after surgery when I was 23 but I did not pay any attention to it. In the past few years I have been getting rashes on my buttocks, every few months, and mostly mild but I decided to see my doctor when two outbreaks happened one right after the other. Is it possible I've had herpes for 30 years and not known it? My husband has been very understanding but I am very upset. Thanks for listening.
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Answered by Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (1 hour later)
Brief Answer: Please do not be upset Detailed Answer: Hi and welcome to healthcaremagic. I completely understand your issue. Herpes is not always necessarily transmitted by sexual contact. It can be transmitted by contact with any one having a blister not on the genital area. Herpes also occurs over lips, upper face and almost any part of the body. So please do not think about these issues. Herpes is caused by a virus called varicella zoster virus, the same on that causes chicken pox. Most of us get chicken pox as children. The virus then enters the nerve roots and remains there for years together. Then it travels down the nerves and causes the skin lesions of herpes intermittently. So it is most likely that you have had there for years and now it is flaring up. No one can predict when it will flare and how severe will be the flaring. It is more common in diabetics to have repeated flaring of infections, so please get your blood sugar checked. The symptoms of herpes is rash that is usually preceded by pain. The next time if you have similar symptoms, start antiviral drugs as soon as the rash appears as they help in controlling the severity of infection and also the duration of the outbreak. The genital rash at the age of 23 may have been herpes, we cannot be sure about it now. But please stop thinking that this is always a sexually transmitted infection. I hope that this has helped you in understanding the problem. I am always here to help you. Thanks for using HCM. Get well soon. Dr Madhuri Bagde Consultant Ob Gy
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (1 hour later)
Thank you so much. I appreciate this and I understand. Knowledge truly is power. Thanks for your response I will rest easier.
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Answered by Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (39 minutes later)
Brief Answer: You are welcome! Detailed Answer: It was a pleasure. After all the aim of this degree was to bring smiles on peoples faces. Thanks for the appreciation as it provides me more energy and inspiration to do better. Get well soon and thanks a lot once again. Dr Madhuri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (18 hours later)
It looks like I can't tolerate the anti viral drugs and now can only use a topical cream. It was Valtrex and it made me quite ill. Are there other options out there? Thanks!
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Answered by Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (4 hours later)
Brief Answer: Options are there but all cause nausea. Detailed Answer: Hi and welcome back, If the drugs are started within 24 hours of outbreak or even before the outbreak when symptoms of pain or tingling begin they tend to work. If started late it takes its own time to resolve, may be a marginal faster recovery. Few drugs are available for herpes and valtrex is one of the drugs that has lesser side effects and better gastrointestinal tolerance. You may try switching to famiciclovir instead of valtrex [valcyclovir] or foscarnet [ but it is associated with side effects more commonly than the cyclovir group of drugs]. You may also ask your doctor for a decrease in the dose as sometimes higher doses are difficult to tolerate. Most of the drugs for herpes cause nausea, vomiting, loose motions and headaches that may decrease after some time. Drink plenty of water while on these drugs and eat a good diet to help decrease the toxic symptoms. A prophylactic therapy of taking the drugs in smaller doses daily is also given in people with recurrent outbreaks to decrease the frequency of relapse but has to be taken under medical supervision as drug toxicity has to be monitored. Other measures like maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, taking vitamin and mineral supplements eating plenty of fruits and morning walks all help in improving the immune system and decrease relapses. Maintain a watch on the warning symptoms of herpes. If you have pain, tingling, burning sensations next time, begin drugs immediately as that is the time when they act the best. I understand your problem and also this is a condition that is painful affecting quality of life. Try measures to boost your immune system along with suppressive therapy and the relapses will decrease. Hope this was helpful. Get well soon!! Dr Madhuri Bagde
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (10 hours later)
Hi again Dr. XXXXXXX My doc won't prescribe any oral antivirals now as my reaction was pretty bad. She has prescribed a topical cream until I see her in May. At that time we can discuss other alternatives. I suppose if I have gone this long without drugs and tolerated the outbreaks it shouldn't get worse. What do you think of the topical antivirals? And if your practice is in Cleveland I want to be a part of it! Thank you again, XXXXX
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Answered by Dr. Madhuri N Bagde (42 minutes later)
Brief Answer: Topical ones may be used. Detailed Answer: Hello XXXX and welcome back, Thanks for wanting to be a part of my practice but unfortunately I am not in Cleveland. I have returned to India 2 years ago and practice here. If you cannot get oral antivirals, try using the topical ones as soon as you sense the outbreak. Also try the measures to boost your immune system to decrease relapses. With these measures you should be able to do well. Thanks and take care. Dr Madhuri
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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Dr. Madhuri N Bagde

OBGYN

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 1390 Questions

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What are the causes for Herpes infection inspite of no sexual contact?

Brief Answer: Please do not be upset Detailed Answer: Hi and welcome to healthcaremagic. I completely understand your issue. Herpes is not always necessarily transmitted by sexual contact. It can be transmitted by contact with any one having a blister not on the genital area. Herpes also occurs over lips, upper face and almost any part of the body. So please do not think about these issues. Herpes is caused by a virus called varicella zoster virus, the same on that causes chicken pox. Most of us get chicken pox as children. The virus then enters the nerve roots and remains there for years together. Then it travels down the nerves and causes the skin lesions of herpes intermittently. So it is most likely that you have had there for years and now it is flaring up. No one can predict when it will flare and how severe will be the flaring. It is more common in diabetics to have repeated flaring of infections, so please get your blood sugar checked. The symptoms of herpes is rash that is usually preceded by pain. The next time if you have similar symptoms, start antiviral drugs as soon as the rash appears as they help in controlling the severity of infection and also the duration of the outbreak. The genital rash at the age of 23 may have been herpes, we cannot be sure about it now. But please stop thinking that this is always a sexually transmitted infection. I hope that this has helped you in understanding the problem. I am always here to help you. Thanks for using HCM. Get well soon. Dr Madhuri Bagde Consultant Ob Gy