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Subject: "Chronic Itching"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Philip Carey
Member since Jan-7-12
8 posts
Jan-29-12, 12:17 PM (CST)
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"Chronic Itching"
   I know I brought this up before in my initial post, but I need some advice.


The girl I was dating for the last three years or so had herpes, which she claimed was type two. About two years ago, I had an outbreak of white, puss-filled blisters, which looked very much like the herpes pics I have seen (but also a bit like some other things. There were no other symptoms, and the blisters were not particularly painful or anything. These finally cleared up after about three weeks. I did not have them examined, because I was in denial and did not want to know the results. After this I had the occasional twinge down there, weird sensations, but nothing else.

A year or so later, after having sex with my GF, two red bumps appeared. They did not quite look like the previous blisters. I was hiking at the time, but was able to find a doctor who visually examined them and confirmed that is was herpes. He was unable to perform a test, so I was not satisfied. When I returned to civilization, I was able to have an IgG test done. The test came back positive for HSV-1 and negative for HSV-2. I have had three subsequent test since, and all showed the same results.

Current Situation.

In the last six months or so, about six months after the last break out (if it was), I have been having extended bouts of genital and anal itching, often accompanied by itching/numbness on a very large patch on my back, and occasional itches on the top of my head, my chest, and other places. There is also the occasional slight pain along the side of my penis. These bouts last anywhere from three weeks to two months, and then vanish. Also, my urine sometimes smells strange during this bouts. Hard to describe.

I am currently having one now. It began maybe two weeks ago. I have been on suppression therapy, 400 mg (sometimes more) of acycolvir twice daily since before it began. There are no other symptoms. The acycolvir does not seem to be doing anything.

For the last year or so I have been under a lot of stress and developed severe anxiety. Also, during this last year my GF has been getting chronic yeast infections and BV, along with other things. She said that none of it felt or looked like her herpes OBs (she has had it for many years). I recently ended the relationship.

So, my question is: Does it sound like herpes is the cause of the episodes of itching? I took a round of antibiotics for something else, and it totally got rid of the symptoms for a couple of days, then they came back. I am also taking a mild dose of an anti-depressant, which seems to help quite a bit, though not completely. Can anxiety cause this? Can yeast and BV affect men in such a manner? Or could it maybe a staph infection? I recently had some test performed by the VA, including my third IgG, and my bloodwork came back negative for anything other than HSV-1. Could staph or something similar not show up? I have read that staph can cause all over itching if it is in the blood and that unless it is specifically tested for will not show up.

Also, if it is herpes, does this mean I am constantly having an OB without any visible symptoms?

Again, sorry to reiterate, but just want all the facts there.

Thanks in advance for any information and advice you may have.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
Chronic Itching [View All] Philip Carey Jan-29-12 TOP
  RE: Chronic Itching TheOriginalScooter Jan-31-12 1
     RE: Chronic Itching Philip Carey Feb-01-12 2
         RE: Chronic Itching TheOriginalScooter Feb-01-12 3
         RE: Chronic Itching wexler47 Feb-16-12 4
             RE: Chronic Itching twofer Feb-19-12 5
                 RE: Chronic Itching Lenoreadmin Feb-20-12 6
                     RE: Chronic Itching TheOriginalScooter Feb-21-12 7

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Member since Aug-29-10
29 posts
Jan-31-12, 08:53 PM (CST)
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1. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #0
   LAST EDITED ON Jan-31-12 AT 11:33 PM (CDST)
Hi ~
It's hard to say what is causing the chronic itch. From your testing it sounds like you do have GHSV1. Sometimes the antivirals can have strange side effects such as itching. I would get tested for all STDs, yeast, and jock itch. It's possible to have post herpetic neuralgia without an actual outbreak as there are many faces to herpes. It's also hard to say what your body may be experiencing under severe stress. For me, I have found that valtrex works much better than acyclovir. It packs a more powerful punch so to speak. You may want to give it a try. Famvir is also an alternative although for me, the valtrex works more effectively (that is not the case for everyone).

Staph - seems unlikely that it would cause all over itching. I experienced itching while on antivirals the first couple of years I was diagnosed. I remember having one very miserable Christmas with itching all over. I do not have HSV1 only GHSV2.

Continual symtoms - there is an article Herpes Never Sleeps (google that) the premise is that the virus is always replicating on some level. Most importantly people can shed the virus w/o any visible outbreak. It is called asymptomatic shedding.

Hope you feel better.


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Philip Carey
Member since Jan-7-12
8 posts
Feb-01-12, 05:46 PM (CST)
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2. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #1
   Thanks for the info. I have the itching with or without antivirals. I will definitely Google your recommendation. I am headed to Costa Rica soon, and I think I will try to get to the bottom of this, if possible. I am not satisfied with the doctors I have been to thus far and the answers I have received. I do need to be tested for those things. Can you test for jock itch? I should have had it tested during the first OB, but I simply could not deal with it at that point, and wanted to pretend it did not happen.

I think once I get to Costa Rica and have a good doctor, I may try everything I can think of to trigger an OB, just so I can have it tested, unless I find that it is something else.

Would you say Valtex relieves the symptoms? Do you take it as needed or suppressively? So far, taking acyclovir, I might as well nit be taking anything at all. Can the symptoms change as time goes by. In the first year or so, I had very little symptoms. The itching did not set in until maybe a year and a half into it. Also, did you have itching above the waist as well?

Thanks again for the response.

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Member since Aug-29-10
29 posts
Feb-01-12, 09:33 PM (CST)
Click to EMail TheOriginalScooter Click to send private message to TheOriginalScooter Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
3. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #2
   It'a hard to get answers because the docs don't really know what causes the itching. Jock itch is a fungal infection and I would think a doctor could observe you and diagnosis it. Read up on it from my understanding that occurs mostly with athletes. If it were me I would err on the side of caution and tell future partners that you think you have GHSV1 so they at least have a heads up. It happens during oral sex people unknowingly transfer it from their mouth and then you get it genitally, ie, GHSV1.

Valtrex - it just depends, not always I just had 2-3 days of itching before my cycle started then it backed off. From my experience it seems like once you get the nerves aggravated they can stay aggravated for a while. And there in lies the question - are the nerves just continually firing because they are aggravated or is the nerve pain caused by viral replication. The itching comes and goes for me it's peaks and valleys. It's A LOT better than it was the first 3 years. Read my other posts sometime under Scooter, it was hell and very painful.

I only had the itching on my head and lips one Christmas when I was taking major doses of acyclovir to try and control the severe itching and burning. The first 3 years I had pretty much non stop outbreaks and I was taking massive doses of antivirals and it felt like they pretty much did nothing! I stay on one gram of valtrex everyday but I just had an outbreak after not having one for quite a while. So the med does not stop the viral replication all together and it's now been 4 yrs since I was diagnosed.

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Member since Jul-26-11
3 posts
Feb-16-12, 10:55 PM (CST)
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4. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #2
   I have been suffering from something very similar. My itching happens on the same place I experienced my first outbreak. When I scratch there it goes away for a while, but I seem to feel some sort of "penalty", for lack of a better word, in my general pelvic area, a kind of swollen feeling that I associate with general symptoms of the virus. My condition has also been intermittent; I went 2 months without any symptoms at all and then it gradually came back, though in a milder form than before (I've been positive for 15 months).

I'm on one gram of Valtrex a day, and whenever I alter my dosage, even reducing to 500 mg, I get some lesions. I guess one question I have had is whether the itching indicates that the virus is active or not--it certainly feels as though it is, but since the itching never translates to lesions it's not clear. Perhaps it is a form of the post-herpes neuralgia that I have been reading about on the web as I research this thing.

I'm similarly looking for a "cure" for this thing, but suspect that this is the consequence of the virus doing mysterious things in the nervous system. Perhaps we can hope that as the virus "simmers down", as it is rumored to do over time, this annoying itch will similarly diminish. For now though I am still hoping for a miracle cure . . .


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Member since Feb-9-12
1 posts
Feb-19-12, 07:57 PM (CST)
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5. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #4
   I'm wondering if some long term vets of these boards can speak to a few questions related to this chain. First I'll give a backdrop.

I had a positive blood test for HSV1 in October, and the doctor said something about the test making it clear it was a recent infection. My penis has been itching constantly since that time--4 months now, and it's leading to depression. I've also had pretty consistent tingling in the sacral area and down my left leg, a feeling of urethral inflammation, and periodic waves of fever/naseau. To date I haven't had classic full blown blistering, but there are irritated spots that seem to have very small red bumps and cuts.

Any or all of these I understand could be indications of GHSV1, and my general practitioner is inclined to think that's what it is. I used Zovirax for a few weeks, did Acyclovir for couple weeks and now switched to Valtrex a week ago because the symptoms have continued unabated.

This being said, I recently saw another doctor who is less convinced of this diagnosis. As I noted, I've never had full blown blistering, but I've had 2 separate negative swabs from the irritated spots.
He sees that as suspicious, and he doesn't think chronic itching is likely to be a symptom of GHSV1--now we're getting toward my questions.

Quickly before the questions: other negative tests include Hep-B, syphilis, and HIV. I'm really trying to figure out whether I should keep looking for other causes of the chronic itching, or whether I am safe in assuming this is GHSV1. So here's what I'm wondering...

1) How often is chronic itching a symptom of GHSV1?
2) For those where the chronic itching is from GHSV1, does it eventually stop?
3) How often does it turn out that someone's complaint of chronic itching wasn't actually related to GHSV1?

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Member since Oct-22-04
4279 posts
Feb-20-12, 01:33 PM (CST)
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6. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #5
   Your doctor can't tell you from a blood test how long you've had HSV1. Do you know what test was done? 60% of the population is going to test positive for HSV1 on a blood test and most of them will be asymptomatic.

Neither form of genital herpes (HSV1 or HSV2) is going to cause chronic itching. I would stop taking antivirals since they aren't helping. Also, you don't get constant symptoms with HSV. It's something that comes and goes.

Have you been tested or treated for a fungal infection? This would probably be the most common cause for constant itching. It's also going to cause irritated skin.

The nerve pain down your leg can be a symptom of HSV, but it can also be a symptom of a herniated disc. Any pressure or irritation on a nerve is going to affect the parts of the body where that nerve goes. It might be worthwhile to see a neurologist even just to rule this out.

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Member since Aug-29-10
29 posts
Feb-21-12, 10:11 PM (CST)
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7. "RE: Chronic Itching"
In response to message #6
   LAST EDITED ON Feb-22-12 AT 07:58 PM (CDST)
Hi Twofer ~
Any HSV infection can cause chronic itching and yes, your test results can show if you were "recently" infected with HSV. I saw an expert that specialized in this area and when I had my primary infection, my Igm (not igg as I had very little to no antibodies due to a "recent infection") showed a 4.7 which he said was VERY INDICATIVE of a "recent infection".

HSV attacks the sensory portion of the nerve and you need quite a bit of virus on the swab to get a positive reading of HSV. So I can see why a swab did not detect any virus. I had the same test about a year after infection. I keep getting a repeated blister in the same area and really wanted to know if it was herpes. The doctor told me at the time, there did not look like there was enough of the virus present to detect it on the swab, and there wasn't, but it was herpes. 4 years later NOW I really know.

The itching will calm down in time. I encourage you to read other postings on this board. Hang in there it does get better. FYI - doctors are still a in the dark about HSV and post herpetic neuralgia and probably will be for a while as this IS NOT a life threatening disease. It can be very painful though.

Try and wear loose clothing and keep the area dry, sweat seams to aggravate the nerves even more. On days of pure desperation, I would use a Tucks pad (ingredients are witch hazel) to wipe the area and it would help. Works likes scratching the area provides some relief. You can find the Tucks individual towelettes in the store. It sounds strange I know, but I was willing to try anything and everything because I was pain. People don't realize the type of itching caused by the HSV virus can be painful.

Keep you're chin up it does get better but it can take some time. GHSV1 is better to deal with than GHSV2 and typically you're body gets it under control easier.

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