Risks and Complications of Genital Herpes

The possible risks and complications of genital herpes are:

  • Acquiring other sexually transmitted infections including HIV;
  • Infection in the bladder such as swelling or inflammation;
  • Develop meningitis – a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord;
  • In occasional cases, the blisters or bumps caused by the genital herpes causes skin infection that spreads to other parts of the body; and
  • Rectal inflammation also called proctitis which is a common case for men having sex with men.

genital herpes risksPregnant women who are positive for genital herpes are at high risk of complications if not treated right away. One of the risks that need to be avoided is miscarriage. Miscarriage usually happens when the mother acquired the herpes simplex virus during the first to second trimester of pregnancy. Another risk is an early delivery of the baby.

If the genital herpes was acquired before pregnancy, there is a very low risk for the baby acquiring the disease since the mother will pass her protective antibodies to the baby at birth until a few months afterwards. However, if the genital herpes developed during the time of delivery, there is a higher risk for the baby acquiring neonatal herpes although this may be prevented via a caesarean section delivery. The process of caesarean section delivery is done by making a cut in the abdomen and womb which makes the baby safer compared to giving birth through the vagina.

Neonatal herpes is a serious condition caused by the transmission of the herpes simplex virus from an infected mother to her baby. This condition manifests in three forms:

  • Skin, eyes, and mouth herpes (SEM);
  • Disseminated herpes (DIS) which affects the internal organs especially the liver; and
  • Central nervous system herpes (CNS) which affects the brain causing seizures and tremors to the infant.

Aside from these risks and complications, there are symptoms that can be non-existent to quite painful. Be sure to check our knowledgebase for symptoms in men and symptoms in women.