The esophagus is responsible for transporting food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach by way of the throat. There are many common infections of the throat but one of the more common infections is caused by the herpes simplex virus and is called Herpes Esophagitis. This herpes infection of the throat can be caused by either herpes simplex I or II although it is more commonly caused by simplex I, commonly called ‘oral herpes’.
A herpes esophagitis infection is particularly alarming because most healthy immune systems prevent the virus from showing symptoms in the throat. A herpes throat infection could be an indicator that the infected individual is suffering from a weakened immune system due to another more serious cause such as cancer, HIV, AIDS, diabetes, or an autoimmune disease.
Effects from Herpes Esophagitis include:
irritation and inflammation of the throat
tearing of the esophagus and throat tissue
irritation while swallowing
general throat and chest pain
Causes Of Herpes Esophagitis
Herpes Esophagitis can be caused by either the herpes simplex I (oral herpes) or the herpes simplex II (genital herpes) viruses. It is more commonly caused by the oral herpes variant but it does also show up as simplex II less often.
Oral herpes or HSV-1 is most often passed through infected saliva swapping from individual to individual. It is important to get tested for both strains of HSV and alert any potential sexual partners if you test positive. Oral herpes can be passed from the mouth to the genitals if oral sex is performed during an active outbreak.
Genital herpes (HSV-2) can cause herpes esophagitis in cases where an individual performs oral sex on another individual with an active HSV-2 outbreak. Protection like a condom or dental dam can help prevent transmission of HSV-2 so if you suspect you have a HSV-2 infection and are going to engage in sexual intercourse be sure to use proper protection.
Reasons why an immune system might be compromised include:
how Do I Know If I Have Herpes Esophagitis?
The infection is characterized by having a number of open sores in the mouth, lip, cheek and throat areas. Other symptoms of herpes esophagitis accompanying sores in the throat are:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your healthcare professional for a full STD blood panel. In order to get an accurate diagnosis, your healthcare provider should perform one of the following tests:
There are a variety of infections that share the symptoms of herpes esophagitis such as strep throat so a test will be needed to determine the exact infection type.
What If I Test Positive For Herpes Esophagitis?
If you test positive you’ll be prescribed medication dependent on your personal medical history and existing medications. Common prescriptions for herpes include acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex).
With a healthy immune system and a prescription for one of the antiviral medications above your body should begin to clear the outbreak and heal within a few days of starting your dosage.