Herpes is a class of viruses, which are causative agents of various diseases in humans. There are several types of herpes infections that are caused by the virus. Anal herpes is an infection, which is an outcome of herpes virus infection.
It causes painful sores or blisters to erupt near or inside the anus. The anus is the end part of an excretory system that makes sure that the waste material of the body is passed out. Anal herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus, which is called HSV in short, form.
An, even more, particular strain that causes herpes is HSV type 2. One important thing to know is that it’s not just herpes that causes these anal sores. In syphilis, chancroid, donovanosis and other similar diseases, these anal lesions are typical to be found.
One thing that is common among all these infections and herpes is that they transmit through a sexual contact only. The common signs and symptoms of anal herpes are as following.
- The appearance of bumps around the anus that are white or red.
- Pain in and around the anus.
- Itching in and around the anus.
- Blisters turning into ulcers after sometime
- Formation of scabs on ruptured ulcers
- Changed bowl habits
- Low immunity
How does anal herpes spread?
One thing that everyone will tell you that herpes is an infection that spreads through a sexual contact. It is accurately true. HSV-2 is one of the sexually transmitted diseases, which affects people only when they are in intimate contact with each other.
It is an opportunistic virus, which means it doesn’t mean that every sexual contact will pass on herpes. Exceptions are always there, but most of the time, it spreads like anything.
The Centre For Disease Control and Prevention says that nearly 2o million American people are a victim of herpes type two infection. With every year, this number is increasing, and 776,000 Americans are getting infected with herpes each year.
The number of infected people is so alarming. It is even said that one in five people in the USA has affected from genital or anal herpes. The same virus, which causes anal herpes, also causes genital herpes. But not all genital herpes infections are anal herpes. They differ by location.
How to know if you have anal herpes?
If you are going through some similar signs which indicate anal herpes, you need to go to a doctor to get yourself checked. Only a doctor can confirm after a physical exam that you are having anal herpes or what.
Physical examination is sometimes not sufficient to tell about the infection. The additional testing is done to verify the condition. As there are other diseases too which show similar signs, it is better to be sure on herpes by extra diagnostic practices.
Many sexually transmitted infections can show up symptoms that appear as anal sores. That is why accuracy in diagnosis is required before starting the treatment. On such particular viruses, only specific types of medicines work. Using the wring medicines will not show any improvement, and the disease will get worse.
The best is to test the blood. The doctor is most likely to send you to a diagnostic lab for a herpes test. They will draw a sample from your blood based on your condition. The testing of this blood will confirm whether or not you are having herpes simplex virus type two in your blood or not.
Is there a treatment for anal herpes?
Yes, it has a treatment available. The therapy includes taking control over the outbreaks near the anus, which are causing discomfort and pain. Before the treatment procedure, you will be asked to end a sexual contact with your partner till a complete healing.
The first line of treatment for anal herpes is antiviral therapy. It is not just a general viral therapy, but each type of virus has specific medicines which affect it. HSV type 2 is a virus that causes this anal herpes disease.
Antibiotics never work on the virus. Painkillers may help to reduce the pain and inflammation, but they are not the sole treatment for anal herpes. Once the outbreaks are under control, the patient is required to take medicine regularly. The frequency and severity of the disease depend upon the medications given to the patient.
The long-term antiviral therapy is also sometimes required. It is called a suppressive therapy, and usually, people opt for suppressive treatment to reduce the risk of passing herpes to their partners.
The outbreaks of herpes come and go during treatment. Once the frequency decrease and there are fewer lesions around the anus, the medicine is claimed to be working. When the outbreaks are entirely ended, there is no need to take medication. However, if the lesions reappear again, you need to retake the medicines.
In severe cases of anal herpes, the doctor will suggest you intravenous antiviral therapy. It is a process in which the antiviral medicines are injected directly to your bloodline likes an injection or a drip.
Is there a cure for HSV-2 infection?
Saying that HSV-2 has a cure is wrong. Unfortunately, there is no chance that it will be vanished entirely outside of your system. It is a lifelong infection which lasts until the end.
The reason why it never gets out of your body is that when the virus outbreaks, it makes its way to the nerve cells. There is no way to take the virus out of your nerve cells. In this manner, the virus lives inside the nerve cells for the rest of your life.
In case the virus is inside the body, it may not always be dormant and cause an infection. There are chances that it will remain inactive for a more extended period and only gets triggered when an external force such as stress, low immunity or any other thing hits the person.
How contagious is anal herpes?
Yes, anal herpes is contagious. It spreads from a person to another person in no time. The lesions present on the skin when making contact with the other person cause the virus to transmit. Also, sexual intercourse is one way to spread anal herpes.
In case you are infected, you are also able to transmit the infection to your partner. The transmission may never show any symptoms abruptly. The disease will only get prominent when there are specific factors, which favors the coverage of the virus.
You can’t know that you have anal herpes if the symptoms are not evident. You may pass it on to other people without realizing that you are infected and making others affected too. The only way to know if you have anal herpes or not is the medical diagnostics.
How to prevent the risk of anal herpes?
As anal herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, it required a sexual contact to spread. Any other contact with the infected person cannot carry the virus. In this case, you can reduce the risk of herpes infection by practicing safe sex.
Following are some general tips to try.
- Use a condom or any protection during a sexual intercourse either oral or anal.
- Limit your sexual partners.
- It is better to follow monogamy in relationships.
- Keep a record of your health.
- Get a time-to-time checkup to know your health status.
If you are confused about anything, you can freely ask your doctor about it.