Mouth blisters or genital blisters are a common clinical problem faced by Dermatologists such as myself. Let’s take a look at possible diagnoses that can underlie blisters in these areas, and options for both testing and treatment, my perspective being that of a Board-certified Memphis Dermatologist for over 30 years, with Rheumatology and Dermatology, 8143 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova TN 38018 (1-901-753-0168).
First, mouth blisters and genital blisters and sores can come from the viral infection of Herpes, or Herpes Simplex, but also from skin yeast infections, called Candida infections, and even from Contact Dermatitis. Sometimes Dermatologists take a scraping for a testing called a Tzanck test, which can show features suggestive of Herpes Simplex, the results of which usually take fifteen minutes or so to become available, after the scraping is done. Sometimes Dermatologists take a swab for a viral culture, which can take several days to a week for results to come back from the laboratory. In severe cases, we sometimes do what’s called a Skin Biopsy, a test that involves a local lidocaine shot and sometimes several stitches, to try to pin down the correct diagnosis.
If the appearance of mouth blisters or genital blisters is characteristic of Herpes Simplex, then this condition is usually acquired from contact with another person who has had outbreaks of Herpes Simplex, usually from direct skin to skin contact, such as from kissing. Herpes Simplex could accordingly be considered a type of STD or Sexually Transmitted Disease, because it commonly passes back and forth between intimate partners. Sometimes the person spreading the Herpes Simplex virus does not have a full-blown sore or blister, but that person may have had a previous blister, making that personal into a “carrier” of the Herpes Simplex virus, sometimes also called a “latent carrier,” since they have no clinical signs of Herpes Simplex when they come into the relationship.
There are two types of Herpes Infection – Herpes Simplex (which is often seen on the lips or in the genital area), which is due to the Herpes Simplex Virus, and Herpes Zoster, which causes Shingles (which is seen on one side of the body or the other, making it often into a “unilateral infection”). Sometimes careful testing is required to distinguish these two infections, and treatment dosing of medications differs between the two infections, so it is often important to see a Board-certified Dermatologist to clarify what virus is the culprit.
In the 1970s and 1980s, improvements in Dermatology research led to several oral prescription tablets that can be used to treat Herpes Simplex, including Acylovir tablets and capsules (Zovirax), Famcyclovir tablets (Famvir), and Valacyclovir tablets (Valtex). Dermatologists also commonly use Acyclovir Cream and Acyclovir Ointment, and Denavir Cream (Pencyclovir Cream).
Depending upon the severity of the Herpes Infection and the number of episodes that the patient is suffering from per year, we sometimes consider keeping the patient on what’s called a maintenance dose, after the acute infection has cleared, for up to six months, or even twelve months. Sometimes if a patient is going into an intimate relationship with another person who is known to be a carrier, we consider checking a blood test on our patient, and if that blood test is negative for herpes, we consider putting one or both people onto a low daily dose of acyclovir, to make it less likely for the Herpes virus to spread between the two people.
After 25 years of practicing dermatology, in 2016 I decided to establish a skincare products company - Big River Silk Skincare™ Inc. – of which I am the President - to manufacture and distribute organic skincare products – gentle moisturizers (HypoShea Moisturizer Cream), antiwrinkle cream (GlycoShea Cream), and deep acne cleanser (AmberSoy Soap Gel).
HypoShea Moisturizer Cream is a blend of Refined Shea Butter with some of the purest natural water in the country particular, particularly useful for people prone to chapped lips, for people with lip blisters and lips sores. HypoShea notable for being dye free moisturizer, a fragrance free moisturizer that’s also propylene glycol free, sulfate free, parabens free, and formaldehyde free, having been used by my patients in Tennessee and Arkansas for years, now also available nationally: https://www.Bigriversilkskincare.com (1-901-753-0168).
So, if you or a family member or a family member or partner are seeking possible Herpes Evaluation or Herpes Treatment, or Herpes Simplex Treatment, consider getting a checkup from a Board-certified Dermatologist. My own Memphis Dermatology practice since 1993 has been with Rheumatology and Dermatology Associates, as a Cordova Dermatologist, in Tennessee (www.Rheumderm.com or www.Bigriversilkskincare.com) (1-901-753-0168). Or you can find a Dermatologist in your own neighborhood by going to the American Academy of Dermatology web site, AAD.org, then plugging your zip code into the “Find a Dermatologist” tab.
George Woodbury Jr. M.D. (03/31/2023)
Memphis Dermatologist George Woodbury M.D. on Herpes Treatment, Herpes Simplex Treatment, from skin testing to medication therapy, including Acylcovir Tablets and Capsules, Famcyclovir Tablets, and Valacyclovir Tablets. www.Rheumderm.com 1-901-753-0168 (03/31/2023)