The following is a sample of the range of sensations people report. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, you may experience one or several. The aim is to be able to identify the signs associated with herpes outbreaks as far ahead of time as possible.
The symptoms are:
- an itch close to an outbreak area
- a tingling sensation
- a pinprick feeling
- s ensitivity or a feeling that something is about to happen
These usually signal an outbreak itself and occur close to the appearance of the rash. Others include:
- a pulsing or dull ache in the general area or down one leg or side of the groin
- a kind of muscular tension or ache such as you might get from exercise
- hotness or feverishness in the groin area
- tenderness ..
- actual pain, which you may not be able to locate speciﬁcally, hidden somewhere in legs, groin, or pelvic area
- burning or pain on urination or defecation.
The latter set of sensations are sometimes followed by active outbreaks, and sometimes continue for several days or longer before either an outbreak occurs, or the sensations diminish and disappear without an outbreak occurring. These are particularly useful in that they indicate that there is some stress in or on the body, whose source can usually be located and often removed.
Trigger factors are usually identifiable on an individual basis as physical, emotional, or social stresses. Since sunlight is a direct trigger factor for herpes I, a sunscreen is an extremely useful preventive measure. Other physical traumas that hurt or abrade the skin can trigger some genital outbreaks. Massage oil will protect external tissue from the effects of rough handling (don’t use it internally), and K-Y jelly will protect internal tissues from abrasion during intercourse. Simple care is the watchword here. Intercourse without adequate lubrication is deliberate intent to destroy tissue.
Dry skin tends to cause a sensitivity that can hasten an impending outbreak of external sores. This can be a problem, especially in winter in city apartments, where the dry heat helps to maintain a potential irritation. Be gentle with your skin if this is the case. Make sure there is sufficient lubrication during sex and don’t use abrasive soaps or overly hot water. A humidifier will help. Eliminating the potential of physical trauma alone is a great preventative for outbreaks for many people and is in keeping with the essence of sexuality—care and concern for what you are doing. And in terms of healing outbreaks, since irritation and aggravation of the area will retard healing time, a little care will eliminate the problem. In hot, humid summer months, wear loose cotton underwear and use unscented talcum powder to help stay dry and cool. Learn how to prevent getting herpes.
The potential of physical trauma alone is a great preventative for outbreaks for many people and is in keeping with the essence of sexuality – care and concern for what you are doing. And in terms of healing outbreaks, since irritation and aggravation of the area will retard healing time, a little care will eliminate the problem. In hot, humid summer months, wear loose cotton underwear and use unscented talcum powder to help stay dry and cool.
Menstruation can become established as a trigger factor for some women. While viral activation has been linked to hormonal levels or changes, the fact that outbreaks are not coincident with menstruation for most women and that women with a history of outbreaks during menstruation do not always do so, suggests that the link is not direct and can be broken. Again, the goal is to separate herpes from other factors in your life.
Lowered resistance can serve as an invitation for a recurrence. Herpes often breaks out during periods of reduced physical and emotional resources. Regarding this, there are two important things to remember. The first is to keep yourself in good shape. The second is more complicated. If herpes is presently your Achilles heel, it doesn’t have to remain so. Beware of the vicious cycle that turns into a destructive habit. While outbreaks are more likely to show up when your body resources are depleted by another infection such as a cold, it’s possible to keep the two separate. Herpes can become a serious problem in severely immune-suppressed patients, but that is a rather exceptional circumstance and doesn’t apply to the average person.
Your goal is to break the cycle. Herpes doesn’t inevitably have to break out when you are a little run down it is just more likely to.