Sun and Stress Causes Herpes Symptoms

Dear Dr. Rob:

I was recently (3 weeks ago) diagnosed with HSV 2. I had a lesion 3 days after infection with a flu-like illness that lasted until I went on Valtrex. I felt better immediately. My concern is that only 3 weeks later, and without the medicine, I have developed tingling and itching in my vaginal and anal areas (almost feels like itchy “pin pricks”). I am going through a horrible divorce and am the single mom of 2 beautiful little girls. Also, recently, my business partner up and left me. So, the stress level in my life has been immense. These new symptoms started after an afternoon in the sun, and even despite the re-use of the Valtrex I had on hand, the symptoms continued, so I stopped Valtrex. I am thinking it could be yeast but have never had the “pin prick” itchiness I am experiencing. Do you think the combination of the sun and stress could be causing my symptoms and such an early recurrence? It has been a week.

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Stressed Mom:

Clearly stress is one of the things that can decrease the activity of your immune system, which is the guardian of herpes. As a result, herpes can rear its ugly head. It is very possible that the itching and tingling that you are feeling is related to herpes. I would not have stopped the Valtrex, and if it persists, I would see your gynecologist to be sure that this is not another lesion.


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