Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
Are there remedies for herpes?
I’m looking for a remedy for herpes. I don’t want to go to my doctor…do you have any ideas?
Thanks for your question. A lot of people ask about herpes treatment...but first keep in mind that a herpes infection isn't the only possible cause of genital bumps or sores.
To be sure you do have herpes before beginning treatment, I encourage you to visit your doctor for a herpes swab test. Or if you no longer have symptoms (typically herpes sores heal within two weeks) you can get a Herpes Simplex Virus Type-Specific HSV-1/2 IgG blood test. This test will identify herpes antibodies in your blood to detect whether you have herpes or not. (And to learn more about when to test for herpes, you can consult our Testing Window Guide.)
After you’ve been tested and know whether or not you have a herpes infection, your doctor can help you with herpes treatment if needed. (Currently, however, there isn’t a cure.) Antiviral medications can help reduce the length of a herpes outbreak and also the intensity. And taking suppressive antiviral medication ⎼ in addition to using condoms ⎼ can also go a long way to reducing herpes transmission to any sexual partners you may have. Keep in mind that there aren’t any natural cures for herpes, so it’s best to speak with your doctor about what type of herpes treatment is right for you.
I hope this helped you learn a little more about herpes treatments, but for more on herpes symptoms and testing, I encourage you to read our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2.
Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.