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Shedding, prodome and outbreaks??? help??

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I just got diagnosed with HSV1 on my genitals on thursday. I'm truly devestated 

I was watching this lady on youtube and she was talking about the difference between prodome and shedding. 


She mentioned something that kinda scared me (more than I already am )

She said that outbreaks don't always look like cold sores or bumps on your genitals. That it could also be a feeling like body aches, rashes, itching, tingling.


But I thought that's was what prodome was??? So how am I suppose to be more cautious and know if I'm having an outbreak if there's no actual real physical symptoms like sores


Ugh all off this keeps getting more confusing by the minute. She also mentioned to not have sex before or after your period because you're shedding or something like that...


I'm so overwhelmed I HATE THIS!!!!

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I am so sorry that you are under such stress. Facing a diagnosis can be very overwhelming and confusing and scary at first.  Please know that you will be okay! You are not alone. We are here to support you however we can. 

You may feel dirty, ugly, shameful, or bad. In reality, you are not any of those things. You are pure. You are beautiful. You deserve self-love and to hold your head high. You are good. 

First, not all videos or information on the internet are quality, scientifically-backed, reliable sources. Because there's so much incorrect information out there, it can be SUPER scary and overwhelming to read so many different things. This is why it is so important to use reliable resources when researching! The CDC, NIH, https://www.herpes.org.nz/, and https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/herpes/ are all reliable, fact-based resources! 🙂

Prodrome refers to the symptoms your body produces that act as a warning flag that the HSV virus is shedding and/or that you are about to have an outbreak. Prodrome symptoms can include tingling, itching, burning, redness, flu-like symptoms, headache, fatigue, and more. These symptoms vary for everyone. Some people get very intense prodrome symptoms, while others may have very little (and some people have none, which is called having the virus asymptomatically). Basically prodrome indicates viral shedding, which causes sores to appear. Overall, prodrome symptoms are a "warning bell" that your virus is active, which means transmission likelihood is high and to abstain from intimacy. Also, it's a "warning bell" to prepare for an outbreak (abstain from intimacy, take antivirals if you want, etc). 

So, although they are not pleasant, there is a benefit to prodrome symptoms! They are a little alert bell telling you that you are about to have an outbreak (sores) and are shedding the virus. The shedding the virus part is essential here -- when the virus sheds, that's when it's 'awake' and can infect a potential partner. So, if you have prodrome symptoms abstain from intimacy. 

Now, since you just had your first outbreak, it takes a little time to figure out what your prodrome symptoms are. What you can do is think back to what symptoms you had with the primary outbreak, as your prodrome symptoms could mimic those (although typically the prodrome symptoms will be MUCH less severe!) Then, take notice of any symptoms of burning, itching, etc, and if get an outbreak after these symptoms, there ya go, those are some/all of your prodrome symptoms! Now that you know these, you better know the sound of your shedding alarm bell. 🙂  

You have GHSV-1, which I have also. GHSV-1 typically has many less outbreaks than GHSV-2. Also, liklihood of transmission is also lower. I have had GHSV-1 for about 3 years, and I've only had one other outbreak besides my first one. It was very small, just two little sores. They healed very quickly-- I didn't even take my antiviral medication! 

Outbreaks can be triggered by hormones, and many people with GHSV-2 have outbreaks aligned with their menstrual cycles. You have GHSV-1, so the liklihood of that is less. Also, everyone has different trigger. Hormones may trigger it for some, while friction, stress, or something else triggers it for someone else! 

I hope this helps provide some insight and comfort. Stay well and be kind to yourself! ❤️ I'm sending happy healing thoughts your way! Reach out with any questions or if you need to talk! 



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HI Grace,

Sorry to hijack the thread, but you said "Outbreaks can be triggered by hormones".
Does that mean outbreaks are less likely or less frequent after menopause?
Also, I love what you say about the positive "warning" of prodome symptoms. So if I'm asymptomatic how can I tell if I'm likely to be shedding?

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@DeMar Hello!

No need to apologize! The forum is a place for collaborative questions and answers, so feel free to post anywhere 🙂!

Outbreaks can definitely be triggered by hormones. Not all people have hormones as a trigger, however if someone does have hormones as a trigger, I am not sure if outbreaks would be less common after menopause, but that is a really great question! Perhaps during the first few stages of menopause, the sudden changes and drop of hormone levels may trigger an outbreak since the body is experiencing stress, but I would imagine that once the the levels steady and stay low, outbreak likelihood would decrease. 

Also, being asymptomatic can be difficult to track the "warning signs" that an outbreak will occur, as you do not get the "warning signs". However, what can help is using a calendar to track when your outbreaks occur. That way, you can see if there are any trends (maybe you notice you get an outbreak about every 2 months, and then you can estimate when you will get another outbreak! So, it's kind of like tracking your own data and observing trends so you can predict when you may have an outbreak! You also can track what happened right before an outbreak appeared (maybe you exercised, were sick, had stress, etc) and you may be able to determine your triggers, as well! 🙂

I hope this helps!!



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