9:28 pm - 07/02/2007

Hydrogen Peroxide therapy for Herpes?

I just found out that one of my best friends in Arizona got herpes (hsv-2) from her boyfriend. He fessed up and it seems he had it for a while and just never had the nerve to tell her about it. Now, she has it, too and is completely freaking out.

One of her other friends is into holistic medicine and was mentioning 35% food grade Hydrogen Peroxide and something called DHMO I think as a cure. Apparently, people are getting some results with reducing or completely eliminating out breaks by using this. I'm a bit skeptical and came straight here to ask questions for her since she doesn't have a computer. I have been doing net research for her but I just am not sure what's accurate and whats not.

She's wanting to try this because she's wanting to avoid any prescription meds, since she is insurance-less and is into the natural approach anyway. She's also completely ashamed and doesn't want to have to pick up prescriptions and have her pharmacist know she's got herpes.

What can she try that will help her reduce outbreaks or maybe even eliminate them completely? Are there any natural methods to help her? Or is she just stuck taking the Valtrex medication?
dayglow 3rd-Jul-2007 03:31 am (UTC)
DHMO? Dihydrogen monoxide? Lol. Unless DHMO is some sort of chemical I'm unaware of, dihydrogen monoxide=water.

I can imagine that a watered-down peroxide solution might relieve a bit of the pain, but honestly I wouldn't want ANY peroxide near my sensitive girlybits. I highly doubt, however, that it could cure a herpes outbreak. But I'm not a chemist or doctor, so I could be completely wrong. But I'm pretty skeptical of the whole thing.
ex_leopardp 3rd-Jul-2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Actually, I just spoke to her and it's DSMO, I believe.

I'm just trying to make sure she doesn't find some quack *cure* that will harm her. And she's tried 3% peroxide and it worked fine without any pain issues for her. So either she's lucky or it doesn't burn too much.
dayglow 3rd-Jul-2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh. In that case, I have no idea.

But the idea of DHMO still makes me giggle. (dhmo.org outlines the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide! The funny part is that it's 100% true.)
pezpyre 3rd-Jul-2007 03:34 am (UTC)
Tell her that her pharmacist isn't going to judge. Herpes is common, and it's not like it was her fault that she ended up with it. Some thigns just happen, adn it's nothign to be ashamed of.
jocelina 3rd-Jul-2007 04:03 am (UTC)
Hmm. I haven't heard of using hydrogen peroxide to treat HSV, but that certainly doesn't mean it hasn't been tried. The only natural, non-prescription herpes treatment I've heard much mention of is lysine (and/or a high lysine/low arginine diet), though there are some other remedies listed in that first linked article that your friend might also be interested in. From what I've heard, the jury is still out on the efficacy of these methods, but that doesn't mean they're not worth investigating.

You (and maybe your friend too!) might find our Vulvapedia entry on HSV helpful as well. :)

Around 22% of the adolescent/adult population of the U.S. has HSV-2, so she is most definitely not alone -- chances are that her pharmacist fills prescriptions for other members of her community who have HSV-2 and will think nothing of filling her prescription too. The stigma surrounding herpes can make it really hard for people who have it, but maybe it will help her a bit to know that she's not the only one. It sounds like her feelings of embarrassment aren't all that's holding her back from going with a prescription treatment (and even if it were the only reason, it's certainly a valid one), so even if she eventually comes to feel better about that aspect of it (and I hope she will), she may still not wish to use Valtrex or anything similar, and there's nothing wrong with that either. :)

I wish you and your friend the best! And I apologize if any of the above is incomprehensible -- it is a bit past my bedtime and I am not at my most coherent. ;)
ex_leopardp 3rd-Jul-2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
I feel so bad for her and I'm worried about her mental state right now. I've told her that there's nothing to be ashamed of. It's not like she brought this on herself and even if she had, it's not a death sentence or anything. Just a mere inconvenience, really and about as big of a deal as a cold sore on your lip is. I have HSV-1 and have since I was a kidlet. I've always gotten cold sores and so has everyone in my family. So no big deal, right?

However, her family is a bunch of hyper religious prudes that have made her feel bad enough about her body as it is. So now, Herpes2!=The END OF THE WORLD!! to her.

I'll relay the good thoughts to her from everyone.
marionravenwood 3rd-Jul-2007 07:50 am (UTC)
She may just want to wait and see if she even gets another outbreak (assuming this is the first one.) Some people only ever have one outbreak, and even if she has multiple outbreaks, they usually get milder over time.

For most people herpes is just a minor skin irritation, which is why many people have it without knowing.

The point of Valtrex is to reduce the severity and length of the outbreak and reduce the chance of transmission. If your friend is okay with just putting up with the symptoms and her boyfriend is already infected, there's no "need" for her to take Valtrex. It would just be for her own comfort.
valkynlu 3rd-Jul-2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
As someone who has it, I agree. My first outbreak had the sores/blistery looking things and all the subsequent outbreaks have just been an irritating rash. It lasts about 3-4 days if I take some epson salt baths or a week if I don't.

I've never tried the hydrogen peroxide thing, but as someone stated above, I'd be nervous putting that in the genital region.
ex_leopardp 3rd-Jul-2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
*sigh* She's on a mission and is convinced she can be "cured". I have gone over one website after another to help her and she just isn't GETTING IT.

Yeah, this is her first one. Her boyfriend is her only sexual partner and now...they've broken up over his dishonesty and her paranoia.
So now she's worried that no one will ever love her or want her and she's convinced it's the end of the road for her. She's only 22 and far, far too young to be thinking that her life is over because of herpes. In fact, I was shocked when I saw some of the statistics on it. 80% of people have one kind of herpes or the other...or both!
rowmyboat 3rd-Jul-2007 01:36 pm (UTC)
GAH!! NO!!! Tell her NOT to put hydrogen peroxide on herpes sores! I put some on the first cold sore I ever got, before I knew it was a cold sore, thinking to clean it, and it was one of the most painful things I have EVER experienced. And I'm pretty sure it only made it worse.
ex_leopardp 3rd-Jul-2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
I just called her to tell her what everyone's said and she's already put the peroxide on with no problems...so far.
jenmarie 3rd-Jul-2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
DMHO is water, unless there's some other DMHO out there I don't know about. heh.

I've never heard of hydrogen peroxide as a treatment for herpes lesions, but I could be wrong.

I'll agree with the previous poster that she may just want to wait and see if she gets another outbreak. Many people only have a primary (initial) outbreak and never have another, and as her boyfriend already has it, they don't need to worry about decreasing the viral shedding.

I've heard good things about http://www.natropractica.com/ as far as holistic herpes care goes. Like over 20% of sexually active women, I have HSV2 as well, but I don't get outbreaks, so I haven't tried it myself.

Having herpes is nothing to be ashamed about. A huge portion of the population has it, and there is really no discernable difference between HSV1 and HSV2 (which means that over 80% of the population has some form of it, and either strain of the virus can be oral or genital).

There is no "cure" for herpes, but treatment and care can minimize its impact on your friend and her boyfriend's lives. So if either of them have any concerns, they should not hesitate to speak with a doctor at some point down the line. And, the pharmacist is so not even going to care that she's picking up a Valtrex (or other similar) prescription, should she ever choose to do it. :)
ex_leopardp 3rd-Jul-2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
DSMO is what it was called. Sorry! And yes, I've told her she's got alot of company right now out there who have it too. But she's freaking out regardless. She's young and scared. This was her first boyfriend and her first lover, ever. And now she is petrified that she's "dirty" and no one will want her.
frolicnaked 4th-Jul-2007 04:13 am (UTC)
I know I've used DMSO as a liniment for my horses sometimes, when they bump or bruise or pull things. However, that's really as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory only... not as something that's going to cure anything. I realize that horses =/= humans, but this makes me inclined to think that using DMSO on herpes outbreaks would only relieve symptoms and not actually cure the infection. (And I can't really comment on whether it would be safe to use on broken skin.)
elbowproblem 4th-Jul-2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
i've bought several books on herpes, specifically about homeopathic remedies, and they all say dmso and hydrogen peroxide are a very dangerous combination.

please tell your friend this.

try to talk her into going to an std clinic-- sometimes they have nurses whose specific job is to talk to you about stds, and if you have one, calm you down. i got herpes about a year ago, and since then i've had regular (unofficial) sessions with my local std nurse. she's been brilliantly helpful, and i'm not so freaked out over it anymore at all.

herpes will not ruin your life. it's like a yeast infection, or an extra period. get her into a doctor who she feels comfortable asking questions to, because i'm sure she has a ton of them.
ex_leopardp 5th-Jul-2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
Do you know any in the Az area, then? I'm in Illinois and not really able to help her much from here.

She is still dead set on the hydrogen peroxide therapy. I called her about the DSMO because what I've read on that stuff is a bit on the scary side.
elbowproblem 5th-Jul-2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
there are usually std clinics in any decent size (like, 20,000+) city.

i'm in california, but i am positive she's within driving distance of a clinic. if she's in a college town, then there's probably one five minutes from her house. encourage her to look them up on the internet, or ask student services, or look in the phone book, or call information, whatever she needs to do. she can say it's because she has a urinary tract infection and no insurance if anyone asks, but she needs to see a professional very badly.

call her again and tell her to stop with the dsmo and hydrogen peroxide, it'll only make it worse. you're right, dsmo is a dangerous chemical and she shouldn't be messing with it on her lady parts if she wants to keep them intact.
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