When Donna felt the itching and burning come back for a third time in 2 months, she started to realize that she needed to see her doctor–and fast. Though it felt like the symptoms of a yeast infection at first, by the third time it came back, the itching and burning came along with high fever and painful sores in her genital area. She also had pain in her legs and buttocks and noticeable discharge. What was also worse this time was that it seemed her urinary tract was also affected, because she had considerable pain while urinating. Though she was terribly uncomfortable and very tired, she made that visit to see the doctor right away, and he confirmed what she already knew deep inside to be true—she had a case of genital herpes.
Understanding Genital Herpes
Though it is seldom discussed and carries a longstanding social stigma, at least 45 million Americans contract the genital herpes virus every year, with approximately one million new infections occurring yearly. As many as 80%-90% of those infected fail to recognize the symptoms or show no symptoms at all and carriers can transmit the disease without having any symptoms of an active infection. The reality is that genital herpes is a common and highly infectious disease that is caused by a virus. It is transmitted during sexual activity and causes blisters or groups of small ulcers (open sores) on and around the genitals in men and women. Though genital herpes is not curable, there are natural medications that can be used to treat outbreaks and minimize the symptoms.
Causes of Genital Herpes
Two types of herpes simplex virus infections can cause genital herpes. The first is HSV type 1 (HSV-1) which usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth, but can be spread to the genital area during oral sex. The second type, HSV type 2 (HSV-1), is the one that commonly causes genital herpes and spreads through sexual and skin-to-skin contact. This type is very common and is very contagious whether one has a visible open sore or not. The virus dies quickly outside of the body, so it’s almost impossible to get the infection through toilets, towels or other objects used by an infected person.
Here are the basics of the program that I recommend for patients like Donna:
I ask my patients to increase certain foods and decrease others.
Increase foods high in the amino acid Lysine (which works to suppress the Herpes virus):
• Some fruits such as apricots, papaya, mango, pears and avocados (yes, they are a fruit) and vegetables such as green leafy ones and sprouts
• brewer’s yeast
Decrease foods high in the amino acid Arginine:
• Peanuts, walnuts and brazil nuts
• animal products (pork, beef, chicken, turkey)
• cereals (oats and wheat)
• legumes, such as soybeans and chickpeas
Other foods to avoid when battling genital herpes include:
• excessive alcohol and/or caffeine
• Excessive sugar
These is a program I usually recommend to my patients suffering from herpes:
Immunitone Plus- or a similar formula containing anti-viral herbs
Monolaurin- 600 milligrams- twice a day. Strong anti-viral. Usually for 3-12 months.
Omega 3 Fish oils- at least a 1000 milligrams a day of the combination of EPA and DHA
Olive Leaf Extract- 2 to 4 capsules a day, a strong anti-viral.
Lysine- up to 4000-6000 milligrams in 3 divided doses during the outbreaks and for 3 weeks afterwqrds.. Then decrease to 1000 milligrams a day.
Vitamin C, Resveratrol and other anti-oxidants can also be helpful, especially during an outbreak but also as a prevention meassure.
Novitra- This is an Zinc ointment that can be used for topical comfort, reducing the pain and decreasing the severity of the outbreaks. There is actually good research on Zinc formulations.
Depends on the severity of the outbreak, I may also use:
Vitamin D3- large doses of up to 10,000 units for 5-10 days
Zinc- 30-50 milligrams a day untill the outbreaks clear
Lactoferrin or Beta 1,3 Glucan are additional Immune System boosters that may be beneficial without the risk of side effects.
Dr. Ruth Bar-Shalom graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, one of four accredited postgraduate Naturopathic Medical schools, in 1987. Dr. Bar-Shalom has been an Associate Professor of Rheumatology and Geriatrics for The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. She has presented workshops at Bastyr University and her alma mater.
She served as president of the Alaska Association of Naturopathic Physicians from 1992-1994. Dr. Bar-Shalom has over 23 years of practical and clinical experience in naturopathic medicine. She founded the Holistic Medical Center in Santa Cruz in 2003. For more information, call (831)475-6666 or visit www.naturalmedicalsolutions.com