Pills: This time around, the doctor prescribed me the little valacyclovir pills, not the big ones (so, 500 mg, not 1g). The instructions on the bottle are to take them twice a day for 5 days (I stopped at three), and I have one refill that’s good for a year. During my primary outbreak I took the 1g pills twice a day for 10 days. After that the gyno continued to prescribe the large size, but I took them twice a day for three days as needed. Often once things started to heal I would stop taking them. The little pills seem to be working just fine, and they give me more of them, so my stash lasts longer. I’m ok with this.
Corn Starch: A few voices on the interwebs have suggested dabbing corn starch on sores to help them dry out faster. I’d never done this, because I never had corn starch on hand and it never occurred to me to go out and buy it for this purpose. Boyfriend and I made slow cooker chili for his fantasy football league’s draft party, and the recipe called for corn starch. So, having a whole bunch of it left over, I tried it out. After herpes blisters break, they become open sores that weep. Patting corn starch onto them turned the weepy fluid into more of a paste, which consequently stuck to my pubic hair, which then stuck to my underwear, and pulled painfully at unfortunate times. I can’t say that I loved it, but it wasn’t awful, and for all I know it helped. If you want to give it a try, I’d say go ahead and see if it works for you. Let me know what happens.
More Pills: Despite the bajillion sources recommending L-lysine as a herpes treatment and prevention method, and despite having encouraged countless other people to use it, I’d never actually taken it myself. Mostly I never felt like spending money on it. When I went to pick up my script, I broke down and paid, like, $7 for a bottle of 100 of them. I figured that I was also spending about $10 on supplies for my Halloween costume, and my health should be at least as valuable to me, right? The instructions said to take 2 per day “for healthier skin,” so I kept the bottle next to my valacycovir bottle, and took them together twice a day. Will I continue to take them daily, let alone twice a day, after my outbreak completely clears? I doubt it. I’ve tried multiple times over the years to get into the habit of taking a simple vitamin on a daily basis and failed miserably. This is exactly the reason I rely on the NuvaRing for my birth control, not a daily pill. But, I have no problem throwing an L-lysine tab down my throat every time I pop an anti-viral, so that will probably become my standard outbreak treatment in future.
Friend Suzie (who knows of my HSV+ status) sent me this link last week, which touts the benefits of green tea for a number of ailments. You know I’m all about the home remedies and such.
The article doesn’t actually say anything about green tea + herpes, but my Glitter Sponsor has recommended it for its soothing properties on more than one occasion. For relief of discomfort during a herpes outbreak:
- Brew green tea
- Squeeze tea bag
- Apply tea bag to angry bits
- Feel better
I mean this makes sense. From the article:
The useful parts of green tea are the leaf bud, leaf, and stem. Green tea is not fermented and is produced by steaming fresh leaves at high temperatures. During this process, it is able to maintain important molecules called polyphenols, which seem to be responsible for many of the benefits of green tea.
Polyphenols might be able to prevent inflammation and swelling, protect cartilage between the bones, and lessen joint degeneration. They also seem to be able to fight human papilloma virus (HPV) infections and reduce the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia). Research cannot yet explain how this works.
Emphasis mine. Herpes outbreaks can cause inflammation and swelling, which is why the doctor will suggest ibuprofin. Green tea fights those symptoms naturally.
Did you catch that cool bit about HPV, though?
Likely effective for… Genital warts. A specific green tea extract ointment (Veregen, Bradley Pharmaceuticals) is FDA-approved for treating genital warts.
A little more specific:
Some women use green tea to fight human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause genital warts, the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia), and cervical cancer.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For human papillomavirus (HPV) infections of the cervix: green tea ointment alone or in combination with oral green tea extract, twice weekly for 8-12 weeks.
- For genital warts: a specific green tea extract ointment (Veregen, Bradley Pharmaceuticals) providing 15% kunecatechins applied three times daily to external warts for up to 16 weeks has been used.
If you have HPV, look into treatments rooted in green tea!
The itch, I mean. All signs point to yeast. I’ve gone for the garlic again, since it worked so nicely last time, but this time I dug the teeth of a lightly-serrated knife into the surface of it, just a bit, just in case it would help at all. So far no burning, not garlic taste in my mouth, nothing. We’ll see how things feel in the morning.
Trying not to think too much about how I haven’t had an outbreak all month, and trying not to jinx it.
Actually had a pretty serious conversation with the boyfriend this weekend (at, like, 2am and slightly drunk) about transmission, and how he’s hard on himself, and how that upsets me for a whole bunch of nuanced reasons, and how it’s something he’s just going to keep doing for a whole bunch of nuanced reasons. I’ll write more about it when I have time to write it out, and maybe after I’ve had more time to think about it.
And then I remembered again, and I was really surprised!
It was really nice! Not so much the forgetting (not bad!) or the remembering (womp-woooomp!) as the ability to forget…because I feel healthy.
Right now, things are great! Nothing itches, nothing hurts, nothing is sore or blistery or dischargey. If you were to do a full inspection of my nethers right about now, you would find a perfectly healthy vagina with all the usual features and moving parts. (Wait, what?)
Anyway, I promised an update on the garlic experiment. Actually, I only did it the one night! The next evening I took a whole head of garlic and my sewing kit to my boyfriend’s apartment, where I spent the night. He never questioned the garlic, which he just put on the banana stand (WHERE THERE IS ALWAYS MONEY) on the counter. Come bedtime I couldn’t bring myself to peel, thread and insert the garlic clove and then have to explain myself, so I just skipped it and figured that if the itch came back, I’d make it an every other day thing.
But the itch didn’t come back!
Ladies, if your vagina is practicing its impression of a delicious, yeasty baked good, go ahead and try the garlic bread.
ADVENTURES IN HOME REMEDIES
As a college freshman I picked up a plantar wart (the kind you get on the bottom of your foot), and struggled to be completely rid of them for 7 years. Freezing, burning, acid, you name it, I tried it. The treatment that finally worked (but took 8 agonizing months to do so) was a blistering agent derived from blister beetles. I’d recommend it.
A home remedy I tried before resorting to another podiatrist? Apple Cider Vinegar. Seriously, that shit is a wonderfood. Vinegar of the white or apple cider variety will kill your funguses, kill your viruses (like HPV, which causes warts), clean your shower, de-smell your Tupperware and take you out to lunch. It’s pretty amazing.
When you strap it to your foot on a cotton ball, 24/7 for several weeks, it also makes your shoes smell like some kind of potato salad. It’s slightly distracting when you’re, say, sitting at your desk and cross your feet and catch a wiff. You’ll wonder if your coworkers notice that in addition to limping, you smell something like the prepared foods counter at the deli. It kinds worked, by the way, but it hurt like hell and I didn’t follow through with it long enough. The warts came back, had a party, and multiplied.
There have been a couple of suggestions about using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) on genital warts. When I first noticed the warts, and suspected HPV I had looked up things like this. BUT the thing with home remedies is there is no set dosage, instructions, nothing. I’ve seen tons of online postings about how you should do it. They were all different.
ACV may work for you depending on type and area of the warts. But it is also just as painful or even more painful as using prescribed medication. If you choose this method, run it by a doctor before hand. They can advise you much better than any random person on the internet.
I used ACV on plantar warts for about three weeks. The best information I could find online suggested using it for maybe 20 minutes a day, but I kept is on my foot 24 hours a day. It turned the warts black and killed them all right. It was also so painful that I couldn’t sleep at night — and those were deep warts, buried below heavy calluses. (Once the warts look clear, it’s recommended that you keep using the ACV for another week. The skin was so tender that I couldn’t make myself do it, and the warts came back full force.) Anybody who wants to use this on genital warts, pleeeeease, go the cautious route and do it a little at a time.
Interestingly, the podiatrist who eventually was able to cure me of my warts had never heard of using ACV as a home remedy, but he didn’t discourage it, and said he might suggest it to other patients with less severe infections. I’m not willing to guess how vinegar would affect the vagina’s Ph, or how it would feel on genitals/urethras.