A genital herpes outbreak is a serious occurrence. It shows that the herpes simplex virus is active within the body and is affecting your immune system. Outbreaks occur at various stages. Most people will have at least one outbreak and that is generally an initial outbreak that occurs within a few days to weeks after exposure to the herpes virus. This initial outbreak is often times the most severe. After that outbreak, the virus is no cure from your body but rather it digs deeper into your body and stays there dormant for some time. In many people, further genital herpes outbreaks will occur. There is not a way to know how often or severe the attacks will be.

Initial Outbreaks

During an initial outbreak, the individual may begin to see warning signs and the first symptoms of the genital herpes virus within just a few days and up to a month after coming in contact with the virus. This initial outbreak is often the most severe of the outbreaks because the body has no immunity and has not developed any type of antibodies to fight off the virus invasion. When you contract the virus, your body's immune system fights off by creating antibodies designed to kill the virus. Since there are no antibodies initially present, an initial outbreak is often very severe and may include a variety of painful sores.

Recurrent Genital Herpes Outbreaks

After your immune system fights off the initial outbreak of the herpes simplex virus, the virus retreats into your body's nervous system. It stays there for the rest of your life. It is not know what can make the outbreaks occur at this point, though doctors do know that there are triggers, such as stress, which can reactivate the herpes virus within the body causing a recurrent outbreak to occur again. Most people do have recurrent outbreaks from time to time. According to some doctors, outbreaks may occur on average between four and five times per year. For some people, they are more frequent while for others they are nearly nonexistent.

If you have more than six outbreaks per year, doctors will recommend that you have suppressive genital herpes treatments. For others or those who do not want to take antiviral medications on a daily medicine, taking topica, and episodic treatments may be a highly effective way at stopping the outbreaks from worsening.

In most people, recurrent outbreaks are less severe since your body already has antibodies available to fight off the virus. However, this does not mean that the outbreaks you have will stop happening. Depending on the severity of the type of outbreaks you have, you may want to consider obtaining medication to suppress them.

The initial and recurrent genital herpes outbreaks can be a sure sign that you have this condition. If you are unsure, a doctor may diagnose you formally. Keep in mind that you are highly contagious during an outbreak but that you can spread herpes simplex virus even when there is no symptoms of the condition.