Herpes and post-herpetic neuralgia

Genital herpes is a common sexually-transmitted infection caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).  It often causes painful blisters that may occur in clusters on the vulva or around the anus.  There are two types of HSV.  In the past, HSV-1 was associated with cold sores of the mouth, lips, or eyes and HSV-2 was associated with genital lesions; however HSV-1 is becoming a more common cause of genital herpes, especially in young women.  The first outbreak may be associated with flu-like symptoms and may last between 2 to 4 weeks.  Recurrences of genital herpes are often signaled by burning, itching, or tingling before sores appear.  Recurrent outbreaks are typically less painful and heal more quickly. 

Post-herpetic neuralgia is painful condition that affects up to 10% of patients who have had herpes zoster (also known as Shingles), which can occur on the vulva.  Post-herpetic neuralgia describes continued pain after the rash goes away.  It is causes by damage to the nerves from the herpes virus.  Post-herpetic neuralgia may be an under-recognized cause of chronic vulvar pain, especially in older women.


Treatment

Herpes is managed with antiviral medications taken at first sign of an outbreak or to suppress or prevent future outbreaks.


Conditions we treat

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