Genital Herpes Specialist

Capital Women's Care

OBGYNs located in Rockville, MD & Silver Spring, MD

It’s estimated that one in five women have genital herpes, whether they know it or not. The doctors at Capital Women’s Care have extensive experience helping women manage genital herpes to prevent future outbreaks and to ensure they safely deliver their baby without transmitting the infection. If you have any questions about genital herpes or other sexually transmitted infections, call one of their offices in Rockville or Silver Spring, Maryland, or book an appointment online.

Genital Herpes Q & A

What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. You can get genital herpes through any type of sexual contact -- vaginal, oral, or anal -- when your partner is infected with the herpes simplex virus.

You can become infected, or give the virus to a partner, even when you can’t find visible herpes lesions. You’re twice as likely to give or receive the virus when lesions are present, however. Once you have the virus, it can’t be cured – it stays inside your body where it’s often dormant, then occasionally reactivates to produce herpes lesions.

What are the symptoms of genital herpes?

You can carry the virus and never have symptoms, or you may have such mild symptoms that you never notice them. In some cases, mild lesions may seem like a common skin disorder and not cause for concern. When symptoms develop, you may experience:

Genital lesions:

  • Pain or itching
  • Red bumps or white blisters
  • Ulcers that form from blisters that ooze or bleed
  • Scabs that form over ulcers

Body-wide symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever

After your initial outbreak, future outbreaks are usually less severe and shorter in duration. You may also have symptoms in the hours or days before recurring outbreaks, such as genital pain or tingling, or shooting pains in your legs or buttocks.

What pregnancy complications do genital herpes cause?

If you have genital herpes, you can transmit the virus to your baby during pregnancy or childbirth. For this reason, women are routinely tested for sexually transmitted infections early in their pregnancy. Your doctor may recommend cesarean delivery if you have active genital lesions at the time you go into labor.

How is genital herpes treated?

Antiviral medications don’t cure genital herpes, but they can:

  • Help sores heal sooner
  • Lessen the duration and severity of outbreaks
  • Reduce the frequency of future outbreaks
  • Minimize the chance of giving the virus to a partner

When you take antiviral medication within 24-72 hours of the onset of symptoms, you can shorten the duration of your outbreak. Your doctor may also recommend taking medication daily to help prevent frequent outbreaks.

If you have a genital herpes outbreak or suspect you’ve been infected, call Capital Women’s Care or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.