Contracting the herpes virus can be devastating. It can bring about feelings of frustrations and uncertainty. How can you live a normal, happy life with this disease? Rest assure that it is possible to live with both herpes type 1 or type 2. Living with herpes can be done easily once you know more about the disease and ways you can manage the symptoms and emotion stress you would be feeling. Read on to learn more.
Know More About Herpes to Help You Live With Herpes Better
You are not alone
You might find comfort in knowing that herpes is not an uncommon disease. Nearly a fifth of Americans have the infection, which means over 50 million people living in the United States has genital herpes. What may be more surprising is that out of these people, nearly 42 million are completely unaware that they have the disease. Worldwide, there is close to 546 million people who have herpes.
So know that while you may not want anyone to know about it, you are absolutely not the only person to have it. Many people have and are living with the disease and are living normal average lives, and this is possible for you as well. A number of people with herpes continue to have a healthy relationship, get married and even have children. No matter what age, it is possible to live a normal life with this common STD.
You can still have a sex life
Just because you have herpes does not mean you have to give up sex for the rest of your life. To reduce the risk of infecting you partner with this STD, you should always use a condom, even though there are not 100 percent effective. You also want to avoid having sex when an outbreak occurs.
Living with herpes will require you to get familiar with knowing the signs when an outbreak is about to occur. If you feel a tingling or itching under the skin or notice any other symptoms, you want to refrain from having sex as these are common indications that sores will soon appear.
Understand that oral herpes can often be more contagious than genital herpes and herpes can be transmitted through oral sex just easily. If you notice cold sores in or around the mouth area, this type of herpes can be transmitted to the genitals and vice versa.
The effects of herpes when pregnant
Most women do not need to be concern about having herpes while pregnant if they have had the disease for a long time as it is not common to pass herpes during the childbirth process. It is, however, recommended that you inform your doctor that you have herpes if you are pregnant.
Contracting herpes while you are pregnant can be more complicated. If contracted later in the pregnancy, it can lead to miscarriages or early labor. It is also possible to pass herpes to the baby during childbirth, which can lead to brain damage and eye issues. It is often suggested that women who have sores when they go into labor to have a C-section performed to reduce the risk of passing herpes to the baby.
When you are pregnant and do not have herpes but your partner does, you want to refrain from having unprotected sex of any kind with them. Most doctors will recommend partners living with herpes of pregnant women to take a herpes medication throughout the pregnancy to reduce the risk of passing on the virus.
Herpes of the mouth is less of a concern when you are pregnant as it is not likely that you will be able to pass this along to your child. If you do have mouths sores, never kiss your child as this will pass the virus along.
Dealing with negative feelings
Do you feel less attractive because you have genital herpes? Instead of letting the disease affect how you look at yourself, challenge your feelings. Having genital herpes does not make you look less attractive. While you may have sores occasionally, this does not affect your personality or overall sex appeal.
Do you feel anger towards the person who infected you? It is common to question whether the person who you got herpes intentionally gave it to and for most people the answer is No. Many people are unaware they have herpes and therefore, are unaware when they pass it to another person. Let go of the anger you feel towards yourself and the person you got it from because having sex will always pose the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, whether you use protection or not.
Telling your partner
It is important to inform your partner that you have herpes prior to having a sexual relationship with them. While this can be intimidating, you want to protect them from getting herpes. If you do not feel comfortable sharing with them that you have herpes, then you should not be having a sexual relationship with them yet.
Do not feel obligated to tell every person you date that you are living with herpes if you do not intend to sleep with them. If you have strong feelings for someone and want to take your relationship further, then have the talk with them but don’t wait until after or just before you have sex with them to tell them.
Give them the proper information about herpes. Most people have misconceptions about the disease and there is a high probability that they may have or have slept with someone who has the disease. You don’t want to feel ashamed about having herpes; just tell them the facts and then let them make their decision.
Outbreaks will become less frequent
While there is no cure for herpes, there are treatments that can be helpful. Treatments for herpes can also help reduce the length of time that sores are present. Keep in mind that after a few years, outbreaks will occur less often and will become weaker.
When you have an outbreak, refrain from touching the sores and wash your hands frequently. Avoid having sex during an outbreak and use protection to reduce the risk of spreading herpes even when there are no symptoms. Eating a healthy diet, learning to manage your stress, and getting adequate sleep are ways to help manage herpes symptoms.