Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

Lifestyle changes may lower the frequency of herpes outbreaks

Herpes is one of the most feared sexually transmitted diseases, one that is incurable and can flare up periodically after a person has contracted it. The disease causes cold sores and blisters that can appear on the mouth or genitals, which can cause pain and negative self-image. According to new research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, healthy lifestyle changes could make a major difference in the frequency of herpes symptoms and help those with the disease to live normal lives.

Scientists at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus performed experiments on mice to study how the herpes virus reactivates itself to cause noticeable symptoms. Ultimately, researchers believe that these flare ups happen when a person's immune system isn't up to par, so making healthy lifestyle changes could help keep them under control.

"Finding ways to control herpes flare ups is important, not only for the health of the person with the virus, but also for preventing its transmission," said John Wherry, Ph.D., deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

According to, the researchers believe that building immunity with a series of healthy lifestyle changes is a great step in the right direction. Getting plenty of sleep, abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, maintaining a normal weight, and improving fitness levels are all ways that a person could improve their immune system for the long-term.

While there is no cure for herpes on the horizon, understanding how and why the disease manifests itself is a key issue for researchers and may help them figure out ways to improve the quality of life of those who are infected with the virus.