What Happens if You Let Herpes Go Untreated?

Herpes is a contagious condition caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms often go unnoticed, so most people with herpes don’t know they have this virus. Besides, some often let herpes go untreated because they saw that the sores could go away on their own. But, the HSV can be transmitted from person to person through skin-to-skin contact. So, it is important to treat herpes when it is detected. There is no cure and preventative treatment for herpes. But there are ways to relieve symptoms and control outbreaks. Here is what you need to know.

1. Types

There are two types of herpes, oral and genital herpes. Each type is caused when a strain of HSV enters the body through a break on the skin. HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type 1) can cause oral herpes that occurs on or around the mouth. Meanwhile, HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus type 2) can cause genital herpes. It often affects the genital and anal area.

Both types of herpes are highly contagious. They can be spread by sexual intercourse or through contact with a herpes sore. HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes. This happens when you receive oral sex from a person with oral herpes.

Some lifestyle factors that increase the risk of spreading herpes are:

  • Kissing with a herpes sore.
  • Having skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a herpes sore.
  • Sharing personal items, such as lipstick, towels, cups and toothbrushes with an infected person.
  • Having unprotected sex with someone who has the virus HSV.

Read more: Discover Many Different Types of Herpes Viruses

Types of herpes

Herpes simplex viruses

2. Symptoms

Herpes infection comes in outbreak cycles. Here is what you will experience during an outbreak of herpes.

Inflammation

Between 2 to 21 days after infection, herpes will show up symptoms on your skin. During this stage, you will notice the following symptoms.

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Tingling

The first outbreak is usually the worst. It causes the most painful symptoms. Also, you can have some flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, fever, headache and fatigue.

Blisters

During this stage, you will notice some redness on your skin, followed by small blisters. These blisters can be red, irritated and inflamed. They often appear individually or grow in groups. Usually, these blisters are filled with red, white or clear liquid or pus. And you will have pain and swelling in or around the affected area.

Ulcers

When the blisters break open and leak liquids, you will experience wet ulcers. This is the most contagious stage of herpes. You should avoid sexual contact and kissing.

Crusting and healing

During this stage, the ulcers will turn into scabs and begin to heal. You shouldn’t pick at the scabs because this can lead to scars. Once the scabs fall off, the new skin will grow. This can take 5 to 7 days and you may also experience dryness, cracking and bleeding skin.

People with herpes can have 4 to 5 outbreaks a year. As time goes on, the severity and length of herpes outbreaks will decrease. This depends on many factors, especially your immune system.

Read more: 6 Diseases That Can Be Mistaken for Herpes

Herpes sores

Herpes sores

3. What happens if you let herpes go untreated?

Herpes can heal on its own, but leaving untreated can lead to some dangerous consequences. For example:

Discomfort

Herpes can last 2 to 3 weeks before it is completely healed. During an outbreak, the virus can cause a lot of annoying and irritating symptoms, such as:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Painful sores

These symptoms can make you feel discomfort and embarrassed. Moreover, the sores- if untreated, can leave scars on your skin.

Recurrence

Herpes can come and go, but the virus still remains inside the body. That’s why most people with herpes develop multiple outbreaks per year. Untreated herpes can make the sores reappear more frequently. In some cases, they may occur every few weeks.

Some factors can trigger recurrent herpes infection. These are:

  • Environmental exposure: heat, sun or cold
  • Fatigue
  • Hormonal changes: menstruation or pregnancy
  • Emotional stress or anxiety
  • Physical stress: injury, illness or infection

Weakened immune system

Studies show that the immune system is important to suppress recurrent outbreaks of herpes. But some research find that there is a struggle between the immune system and the virus. To keep the virus from returning, the immune system has to fight it almost all the time. Most of the time, it wins, but sometimes it loses. Over time, the system will become weaker. This can make your body more susceptible to many other infections. For example: fever, headache and swollen glands.

Transmission

One of the biggest dangers of not treating herpes is the risk of spreading the virus to others. As mentioned above, herpes is highly contagious. You can transfer the condition to your partner through sexual intercourse. This can happen at any time, especially when the sores are present. Herpes is also contagious during childbirth. If you are pregnant and you let herpes go untreated, you can pass on the virus to your fetus. This condition can cause blindness, brain damage and even death to your newborn baby. In rare cases, it leads to premature delivery or miscarriage.  

Read more: 7 Things That Prove Herpes Isn’t as Bad as You Think

Sexual contact makes herpes spread to your partner

Having sex with herpes causes transmission to others

4. Treatment

Antiviral drugs can help relieve herpes symptoms and prevent recurrent outbreaks. These include:

  • Famciclovir and valacyclovir tablets
  • Acyclovir creams or ointments 5%
  • Prosurx antiviral nanomedicine

Prosurx is one of the best creams for herpes treatment. It is made with best, antiviral ingredients, such as tea tree, aloe vera, St John’s wort, and Melissa. These ingredients are known to effectively soothe irritation and discomfort. Also, they can help with better healing of the skin. Especially, Prosurx contains antiviral nanoparticles. These are known to kill the virus both on the surface and deeper layer of the skin. So, using Prosurx can help you get rid of herpes faster and prevent recurrence. To get best results, read the label carefully and follow the directions exactly.

Read more: How to Diet with Herpes?

Use antiviral cream for herpes

Use antiviral cream for herpes

To avoid herpes complications and prevent another outbreak, take the few tips below.

  • Begin treatment as soon as the first symptoms appear.
  • Abstain from sexual activity if you or your partner is having a herpes sore.
  • Always use condoms and dental dams during sex.
  • Avoid having sex with multiple partners.
  • Limit oral sex.
  • Don’t kiss anyone when you are having a herpes sore on your mouth.
  • Tell your sexual partners about your condition before you have sex.