Genital Herpes in Women Overview (cont.)

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Are home remedies or natural treatments effective for genital herpes?

There are no natural remedies available for genital herpes, and as mentioned above, the infection cannot be cured. Home cares such as warm baths, keeping the blisters dry after washing, and wearing loose-fitting, cotton underwear may help with symptom relief.

How is genital herpes managed in pregnancy?

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Oral antiviral medications as described above may be used during pregnancy. One serious concern with genital herpes in pregnancy is transmission of the infection to the baby during delivery. In an infant, genital herpes infection can spread through the bloodstream and have serious consequences. Cesarean delivery is performed for women who go into labor while there is an active outbreak of genital herpes in order to prevent infection of the baby during birth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women with recurrent genital herpes be offered oral antiviral medication at or beyond 36 weeks until delivery in order to increase the chances of being able to deliver vaginally.

What is the prognosis for genital herpes?

As discussed, there is no cure for genital herpes infection, and the infection persists for life. People vary in the number and severity of outbreaks they experience. For those with frequent outbreaks, taking antiviral medications as suppressive therapy can decrease the frequency of outbreaks.

Can genital herpes be prevented?

Herpes infection can be spread both during an outbreak and by infected people even when there is no outbreak of the condition, so prevention can be difficult. While condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes during sexual activity, the infection can also be spread from skin contact in areas not covered by a condom, or during oral to genital contact. If you are having an outbreak, thorough hand washing and not sharing clothing that has touched the skin ulcers can also help prevent transmitting the virus to others.

Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology


"Genital Herpes." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 11 Feb. 2013.

Villa, Adrianna and Brian Berman. "Genital Herpes Infection: Beyond a Clinical Diagnosis." Medscape. 2013.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/3/2015

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Genital Herpes - Treatment Question: What kind of treatment are you using for genital herpes?
Genital Herpes - Symptoms Question: What symptoms of genital herpes did you have with your first outbreak?
Genital Herpes - Pregnancy Question: How did you manage your genital herpes during pregnancy?