What is Lidocaine Ointment and what is it used for?
Lidocaine is used for a wide range of anaesthetic treatments, including eczema, mild burns to the surface of the skin, insect bites as well as genital herpes. In the case of genital herpes specifically, the medicine is applied directly to the blistered area to provide numbing pain relief in as little as 2 minutes. The effect can then last for several hours helping you to get through the difficult, sore period during a flare up of genital herpes.
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a virus called the Herpes Simplex virus, which occurs in two different strains. This is the same virus that causes cold sores on the face, but with similar blistering in the sensitive genital area.
Once you have caught herpes, through vaginal, anal or oral sex, the virus will always remain in your body but you will only experience symptoms intermittently.
The main symptoms of genital herpes are:
- Small blisters or sores around the genitals, anus, thighs or buttocks
- Tingling, itching or burning around the genitals
- Pain when urinating
- Women may also experience abnormal vaginal discharge
Symptoms of genital herpes, in most people, will clear up without any treatment, however, Lidocaine ointment can offer short-term relief from painful symptoms during a flare-up.
How does Lidocaine work?
Lidocaine is a local anaesthetic that works by impairing the proper function of the nerves that transmit pain sensations to the brain. By stopping this message from being properly delivered, this soothing ointment helps to dull the soreness of genital herpes or, in some cases, provide complete pain relief for a temporary period.
Alternatives to Lidocaine
At The Independent Pharmacy, we stock a range of management and treatment options for people affected by genital herpes. Instillagel is a direct alternative to Lidocaine ointment and works in the same way to numb sore, irritated areas. We also have antiviral tablets, including Aciclovir and Valaciclovir available on prescription.
If you are suffering from a flare-up of genital herpes but are unsure as to what is the best treatment for you, you should speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Non-prescription alternatives to Lidocaine
Some non-prescription alternatives for treating a Genital Herpes outbreak include:
- Cleaning the area with water or salt water to promote healing
- Avoid wearing tight clothing
- Use pain relief such as paracetamol
- Try to avoid your known outbreak triggers such as excess alcohol.
- Use Vaseline on the blisters to promote healing and relieve pain.