Living With Herpes

For a lot of women, living with herpes is not easy. Especially in our Asian society, there is a lot of social stigma surrounding genital herpes, mainly because it is a sexually transmitted disease (STDs). People tend to assume that women with herpes are promiscuous, which is sometimes not true.

They could have been infected with the disease from just one sexual encounter with a partner who is a carrier. This is due to the fact that not everyone with genital herpes has symptoms and unknowingly these carriers pass on the infection to their partner.

At present there is no vaccine that can cure genital herpes. Once you are infected, the herpes simplex virus stays in the body for life manifesting as occasional outbreaks in the form of painful sores and blisters.

No doubt there are anti-viral medications that are effective in controlling the severity and frequency of a genital herpes outbreak. But most importantly, women living with herpes should understand that it is just like any other health condition that you have to cope with.

Do not let living with herpes be a hindrance for you to enjoy life. You can choose to control it by learning to manage it with the following diet and lifestyle changes.

What triggers the outbreaks

Stress – both emotional and physical stress is the main cause of frequent recurring herpes outbreak. Stress affects the body’s hormones and immune system, making us more vulnerable to infections and illness.

Emotional stress such as anger or fear over personal, work and relationship problems and physical stress caused by illness, lack of sleep and exhaustion can lead to those nasty sores popping up.

Keep your stress level under control by learning to stay calm in resolving challenging issues, getting enough rest and having some “me time” will definitely help to reduce the outbreaks.

Clothing – Tight clothing and undergarment can trigger an outbreak, so be sure to wear comfortable, cotton undergarments.

Sunlight – Women with genital herpes should also avoid exposure to UV light by staying indoors more often. If you need to go out, apply a high SPF sunscreen and wear protective clothing and hats.

For women living with herpes, eating chocolate and nuts can trigger a herpes outbreak

Food – Different foods may act as triggers of genital herpes outbreaks for some women. Common food triggers are excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and nuts. Anyone with genital herpes should keep a diary of their outbreaks and record what they were eating and drinking at the time, in order to rule out the possible food triggers.


Most women feel terribly ashamed when they are diagnosed with herpes. They feared society will labeled them as “dirty” or promiscuous.

And another difficult situation they have to face after the diagnosis is confronting the partner who may have passed the virus to her. This is a very natural, human reaction. But accusations will not resolve the issue. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. He may not have known that he had herpes as not everyone has symptoms.

On the other hand, a woman might have to break the news to her partner that she has herpes. It is not going to be easy but if both of you value a trusting and monogamous relationship, your partner has a right to know how to protect himself.


Using latex condom can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

Other than vaginal sex, the condom must be used for all other forms of sexual contact – oral, anal and manual sex as it is skin contact that transmits the herpes virus, not semen.

If one of you has oral herpes, be wary about performing oral sex on your partner as that can transmit the virus. Using a dental dam or latex condom to cover the vaginal area, could reduce the risk of transmission.

Celebrities Living With Herpes

Rock legend Billy Idol was known to make fun of his herpes and he is not the only famous one who is known to have the virus.

Sizzling gods like Brad Pitt, Colin Farrell and David Beckham are also known carriers.

Sex symbol Pamela Anderson is also one of the female celebrities with herpes. Joining her are party girls Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, "fashionista" Victoria Beckham and singer Janet Jackson.

Other famous people who are known to have the nasty sores are Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett, Fred Durst, Sheryl Crow, Katie Holmes and more.

If these famous stars can live fabulous lives despite their herpes, then there is no reason why you can't too.

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