How to manage your gential herpes infestion.

One of the most difficult aspects of genital herpes infection is trying to manage day to day activities while coping with painful genital ulcers. The first episode of infection is usually the most painful. Subsequent attacks are easier to manage. Understandably so many people are afraid of discussing their diagnosis and struggle with getting to work or school. For many people it is much easier to call in sick for work with a flu or a sprained ankle as
compared to genital herpes. Fortunately doctors will usually be happy to write a ‘sick note’ with no specific diagnosis to ease things for the patient.

There is no cure for herpes infection. Medications such as acyclovir can reduce the duration of the symptoms and viral shedding afterwards. People can shed virus even if there is no visible blister or ulcer.

It is really important to rest and stay well hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. Taking analgesics such as ibuprofen (if not allergic and if normal kidney function) can help a lot. It may be necessary to take the painkillers regularly. Specific measures to ease the local pain include the use of local anaesthetic gel or a paraffin based cream eg vaseline. Salt baths seem to offer good relief for many people. Rest, rest and rest.

Passing urine can be really painful especially when the urine comes in contact with the blisters. Simple non medical remedies work best after all these years. These old remedies recommend passing urine while sitting in a salt bath. The urine is thus diluted by the bath water and is less irritant to the ulcerated area. A slightly more modern take on this is to urinate in the shower with the shower spray directed at the genital area. Be very gentle
drying off.

Some people find it so painful to urinate that they deliberately drink less fluids. This is not a great idea. People feel generally worse when dehydrated. The urine that is passed is even more concentrated due to the fluid restriction. The more concentrated the urine the more painful it will be.

Sometimes and especially in the first episode of genital herpes patients can go into urinary retention. This means that they cannot pass urine and the bladder keeps on filling up. This becomes very painful. In rare cases it may be necessary to pass a tube though the abdominal wall into the bladder to relieve the retention of urine. Fortunately this is really rare! Remember to be kind to yourself. This episode will pass!

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