What women with herpes need to know if they have frequent outbreaks before or during menstruation or at menopause
Women often report to me that they are more prone to herpes flare-ups in the week prior to and during menstruation. I have also noticed that most of my former outbreaks occurred between four to five days before or during the first three days of menstruation. Preliminary research indicates there may be a link between herpes and naturally occurring female hormones. That link it seems is not always very clear except in the case of prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are substances found all over the human body. Some small studies have shown that a certain type of prostaglandin known as E2 can exacerbate herpes while another, E1, can suppress the virus. During menopause and ahead of menstruation the levels of prostaglandin E1 decrease and other kinds of prostaglandins increase. That is why women with high prostaglandin E2 levels suffer from more severe symptoms of herpes in general and in particular during PMS.
Women can regulate their levels of prostaglandins E1 and E2 through supplementation. Some dietary supplements can be taken to inhibit the production of E2 during PMS. For example, fish oil has been demonstrated to modulate the production of interferons and the proliferation of lymphocytes in a way that decreases prostaglandin E2 production. Flaxseed oil supplementation has a similar effect.
Herbs like curcuma and St John’s Wort can also influence the level of prostaglandins in the female body. The traditional remedy, St John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum, is known as an antiviral and antidepressant. Naturopaths often recommend taking St John’s Wort in oil form to treat an outbreak of herpes, but it can also be taken internally. It has the effect of calming the nerves and of lowering the PGE2 levels, so it is doubly beneficial.
Aspirin has also been medically proven to inhibit production of prostaglandin. A 2002 study in the US made a connection between aspirin and the prevention of cytomegalovirus or CMV. Some evidence shows that this could be the same for the herpes virus.
Some foods on the contrary can exacerbate the problem, promoting prostaglandin E2 production. The most obvious one is chocolate. Chocolate is known to stimulate the production of herpes activity promoting prostaglandin. Women who are victims of PMS or who are going through menopause should avoid chocolate as much as possible. To make things worse chocolate contains high arginine content, making it best avoided by both men and women with herpes especially during outbreaks.
Women with herpes who have PMS are also advised to stay away from tea and coffee during the days prior to menstruation as these beverages increase symptoms such as breast tenderness and irritability. However, white and green teas both contain catechins which have been found to inhibit the production of prostaglandin E2 and also inactivate the herpes virus in test tubes. That’s why I used to recommend it and still do but in more moderate amounts and outside of PMS or menstruation. Women are just much better off taking an herbal tea like St John’s Wort that soothes the nerves, reduces prostaglandins E2 and fights herpes at the same time.
Other hormones may also be responsible for an increase in susceptibility to herpes in women, especially to the genital herpes virus, HSV-2. Scientific research is contradictory, but progesterone has been singled out as a potential contributing factor. Many women have themselves indicated that taking progesterone supplements has caused herpes infections to return.
Links have also been made between other hormones like estrogen and the HSV or herpes simplex virus, suggesting that it may be reactivated after a period of latency by taking oral contraception which contains high levels of synthetic estrogen. Scientific research has not yet proven such links, however.
Overall, I strongly suggest that women modify their diet and use supplementation to positively impact on levels of prostaglandin E2 and E1 in order to have outbreak free PMS, menstruation and menopause. I also suggest that women with sudden or unexplained regular outbreaks try going off synthetic or natural progesterone and estrogenic drugs for at least three months to follow how they may be impacting their symptoms.
If you suffer from constant outbreaks, I strongly suggest you try my Herpes Antidote program. Here is what a young lady who has been having outbreaks twice a month for months recently said to me.
Just want to give you an update how things are going. I have not had an outbreak since March 9th and I am in the middle of my time of the month. I would have had one now.
I am using …
I notice that my symptoms are less and less. This never happened before. … I know that your program is working I can tell.
I would like to know what your daily routine is and how you incorporate all your remedies and foods into your day? Just for more ideas.
Like I always say, it may take some time to get rid of herpes symptoms entirely but you should experience gradual improvement over time even if you’ve had outbreaks for years.