Things You Can Do to Manage Genital Herpes Pain
Preventing Recurrent Genital Herpes
Some people with recurrent infections take medication daily to prevent outbreaks. Known as suppressive therapy, this can lower the number of outbreaks and, for many people, prevent them altogether. Suppressive therapy also reduces (but does not eliminate) subclinical shedding.
Recent genital herpes research shows that Valtrex also helps to reduce sexual transmission of herpes. However, prevention is not complete; even if you are taking suppressive therapy, you must inform your partner that you have herpes and continue to take precautions to protect your uninfected sex partner(s) and prevent genital herpes transmission.
During an outbreak, there are different ways to relieve pain. These are especially helpful in initial genital herpes outbreaks. Some of these pain relief methods include the following:
- Take warm baths. After bathing, carefully dry affected areas gently with a soft, clean towel or use a hair dryer set on low.
- Wear loose cotton clothes to prevent chafing.
- Keep the area dry by sprinkling cornstarch in underwear.
- Hold cool compresses to the sores for a few minutes several times a day.
- Hold ice packs to the sores for a few minutes several times a day.
- Take aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to relieve pain and fever.
During outbreaks, other steps can speed up healing and prevent spreading the infection to other sites of the body or to other people. These methods include:
- Keep the infected area clean and dry
- Try not to touch the sores
- Wash hands after contact
- Avoid sexual contact from the time the herpes symptoms are first noticed until the sores have healed.