Making some lifestyle changes can help you avoid catching genital herpes and prevent spreading genital herpes to your partners. The lifestyle changes below will not prevent herpes outbreaks but will help you live your life to the fullest even if you have genital herpes.
General Guidelines for Managing Genital Herpes
Communicate With Your Partner
Inform anyone with whom you plan to become intimate that you have genital herpes. Share any information you learn about genital herpes and how to avoid spreading the virus.
Be aware that genital herpes can negatively affect your self-image (how you think and feel about yourself). Seek support from friends, family members, or counselors to help reduce your anxiety and stress. Realize that you may feel anxious or worried about the virus and it may decrease your sexual pleasure. Join a support group to talk with others who are experiencing what you are experiencing.
Speak to your doctor about genital herpes. Go online to reputable websites to find information about the disease and how to prevent catching or spreading the virus. Learn the signs and symptoms of the disease. Educate yourself about the most effective ways to avoid catching genital herpes. Learn how to prevent spreading the virus.
Modify Your Sexual Activities
Always use a condom, but understand that you can still contract genital herpes even if you use a condom because the virus can exist on skin not covered by the condom. Know that genital herpes can affect your sexual spontaneity—take that into account and plan ahead.
Get eight or more hours of sleep each night. Eat a sensible, well-balanced diet. Try to minimize stress at work and at home.
Practice Good Hygiene
Don’t use feminine products, such as sprays or perfumes or deodorants in the infected areas during an outbreak. Don’t put on any creams or medications not prescribed by your doctor on the infected area without first consulting your doctor.
Wear loose clothes. Dry infected areas gently after a bath or a shower. Keep infected areas dry by sprinkling corn starch in underwear. Wear cotton underwear to keep moisture low. Bathe and relax in a warm bath. Relieve discomfort by placing a cool cloth on any infected area. Aspirin
(Advil, Motrin) can be used to relieve pain and fever.
ibuprofen If you have many episodes of recurrent genital herpes, your physician may prescribe medicine to lessen the number of recurrences.
Genital herpes: lifestyle tips. National Women's Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) website. Available at:
. Accessed July 25, 2005.
Health matters fact sheet: genital herpes. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at:
Accessed July 18, 2005.
Herpes and relationships: how to tell. International Herpes Alliance website. Available at:
. Accessed July 21, 2005.
Mindel A, Marks C. Psychological symptoms associated with genital herpes virus infections: epidemiology and approaches to management.
Roberts C. Genital herpes in young adults: changing sexual behaviours, epidemiology and management.
Last reviewed September 2010 by
Lawrence Frisch, MD, MPH
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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