Can Herpes Affect Your Immune System?
Published April 5, 2021
You may wonder if herpes affects the immune system in any way. Herpes is a series of viruses that may cause cols sores, genital herpes, and even cancer. Explaining whether or not herpes can weaken or boost the immune system is not as simple as you think it may be. Studies have shown that herpesviruses have proven to do both. This article will answer the question that leaves some people wondering: does herpes weaken your immune system?
What is Herpes
Before discussing what herpes can do to your immune system, let’s understand what herpes is first. Herpes is a globally known virus that results from infections with HSV or herpes simplex virus. This virus can lead to a sore throat, blisters in the mouth or genital organs, along with various other symptoms. Common symptoms of the herpes virus include a tingling sensation around the mouth or genitals followed by sores. This particular virus may also make urinating painful and change patterns of vaginal discharge.
People usually obtain herpesviruses through physical contact of infected skin with the mouth, genitals, and anus. It is also possible to acquire herpes through direct contact on the eyes but never through physical contact with an object or a surface. The possible ways you can contract the virus are through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, sharing of sex toys/items (vibrator, dildo, etc.), or any other oral/genital contact with an individual who has herpes.
What Does Our Immune System Do?
Our immune system is our body’s natural defense mechanism against harmful substances that can lead to the weakening of our bodies. This system of our body fights to eliminate any foreign body that can potentially threaten our health from entering our system. The way it works is when a virus enters our body, our cells get infected, and as a response, T-cells fight off those infected cells. Herpes infections, on the other hand, are more complicated than that.
Effect of Herpes on Our Immune System
When herpesviruses enter our system and infect cells, our cells do not recognize that they are being infected. In other words, herpesviruses prevent alarming our cells about the infection, allowing the virus to spread in our system and hide from our immune system. Although it is already in our bodies, herpesviruses do not necessarily harm most of the time. But once our bodies receive an external alarm such as stress and weakening, that is when the virus awakens, and the immune system starts to fight it off. During this time, our body will experience symptoms of herpes, such as sores and blisters in certain parts of our body.
Now let’s dive into the topic of whether or not herpes affects our immune system. Studies show that a specific type of herpes virus, the cytomegalovirus or CMV, may cause our immune system to be impaired. This common form of herpes may lead to our body’s defense mechanism against other infections to shut down as it is too busy fighting the CMV. On the other hand, other researches reveal that herpes may also have benefits to our immune system.
This study explains that when the virus situates itself in our body, after a while, our immune system enhances so that it may fight off other pathogens. This evidence suggests that herpes can boost our immune systems as it encourages our body to be more responsive in battling with other viruses. With that being said, again, it is not that easy to just say that herpes boosts or weakens our immune system. Different studies have led healthcare professionals to believe that herpesvirus’s effect on our immune system depends on what form of virus it is.
Going back, does herpes weaken your immune system? Overall, we can safely say that herpes can disrupt the way our immune system functions. It is just a matter of whether that influence is beneficial or not. While we have every reason to believe that herpes causes our immune systems to weaken, studies have shown otherwise. If you happen to be experiencing anything out of the ordinary in your body, you should go to a healthcare expert nearest to you and relay any concerns that you may have.
Consulting with a professional is better than simply assuming that something is severely wrong with you. Consulting a doctor can prevent anxiety and fear from not knowing what exactly is going on in your body. We know our bodies better than anybody else, so make sure to listen to your instincts and ask a professional what you don’t already know.
Suffering From Herpes Type 2 Outbreaks?
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About The Author
As a writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Reyes has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. It has been her passion to only deliver the truth and nothing but the truth.