Does herpes simplex cause sterility?

The Affects of Herpes Simplex

The herpes simplex virus is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that has been listed to two types of infections:

  • Herpes simplex virus type I (also known as cold sores) are normally formed on the face and lips.
  • Herpes simplex virus type II is the formation of the herpes infection on the genital areas.

However, due to the ease of contagion associated with the spread of the disease, one localized infection can spread to the other areas, and vice versa. While there have been many published facts about the symptoms caused by the herpes simplex virus, there are a few myths and misconceptions associated to the harm that can be done to the body.

The Symptoms Associated with the Herpes Simplex Virus

The symptoms of the herpes simplex virus can vary, with infected individuals displaying few, if any, really noticeable symptoms. For those people who do have symptoms, however, the symptoms can start two to twenty days after the person was exposed to someone with the herpes simplex virus infection. Symptoms may last for several weeks, and if untreated, the symptoms will go away within two to ten days. Factors that can trigger an outbreak of the herpes simplex virus are as follows:

  • Stress
  • Illness (such as a cold or flu)
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Sunburn
  • Menstruation
  • Sexual intercourse

Most people who have genital herpes can have five to eight outbreaks per year, but that amount diminishes over time. Oral herpes can happen monthly or only one or two times a year.

Some Myths about the Herpes Simplex Virus and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases

There is a common belief that contracting genital herpes can make a person sterile. This, however, is not true. Genital herpes does not cause any damage to the uterus (womb), or cause any infertility issues. It also does not cause cancer of the cervix, or mean that an infected individual will now get all kinds of other infections. Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia, can lead to sterility, especially if the condition is left untreated.

Testing and Prevention

As with any sexually transmitted disease, it is a good idea to be tested on a regular basis to catch any potential warning signs, and to take early preventative steps to treat any initial symptoms before the disease causes more long lasting and permanent issues. Other preventative issues to avoid the herpes simplex virus are to use safer sex barriers, such as condoms and dental dams during sexual intercourse.

Check with a Doctor

While contracting the herpes simplex virus does not cause sterility, that does not mean that a person should not exercise great care if infected with the disease and wants to have children. It may mean altering a person's sex schedule to avoid having intercourse at times when the symptoms begin to flare up. As with any sexually transmitted disease, check with a doctor to see what the best options for the safest pregnancy and delivery options are.


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