How Does Herpes Affect The Reproductive System?

How does herpes affect the reproductive system? Herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus, and it can affect the human reproductive system by causing painful sores in the genital area. Herpes outbreaks can cause discomfort and a higher risk of infection for sexual partners who are not infected with the virus. Pregnant women suffering from herpes outbreaks will have to have cesarean section delivery and must also take precautions with any treatments they may be using.

  1. The main effect of herpes on the reproductive system is the occurrence of painful, blister-like sores. These sores often break open and cause a painful burning sensation on the genitals.
  2. Open herpes sores can spread the herpes virus to others. Individuals with outbreaks should not have unprotected sexual intercourse. Intercourse will often be painful during an outbreak due to the open sores.
  3. Herpes does not usually cause serious health problems in healthy adults. However, repeated outbreaks can be uncomfortable. While herpes may not directly impact the reproductive system, pregnant women can pass the herpes virus to a baby, so it is important to discuss this health concern with a physician.
  4. A person who is infected with herpes has a higher risk of contracting the HIV virus through open sores. Herpes outbreaks can affect the immune system, which can also make an individual more susceptible to other infections.

Individuals with herpes should consult a qualified medical professional for treatment and information on preventative health measures. When treated appropriately the pain from outbreaks can be reduced. Safe sex practices are also highly recommended, as active outbreaks of herpes can be contagious to intimate partners. In addition, other STDs can cause damage to the reproductive system, so practicing safe sex is a good idea in any case. Expectant parents should always report herpes infections to doctors during prenatal visits.

Resources:

Medline Plus

ACOG

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