[Question #7541] Cold sores sexual hormonal trigger
3 months ago
Dear Doctor, So my boyfriend and I have been together monogamously for over a year. I get tested once a year and have been all good. We do not use condoms. We’re in a long distance relationship so only have sex a few times about every 6 weeks.
My boyfriend gets random mild cold sores and has the majority of his life. But a few times this year they pop up after we are sexually active. I never have had a cold sore in my life or any bumps on my mouth or vagina area.
The only change this year is my birth control. I have the Kyleena IUD. I have stopped having a period. Could my hormones from my IUD make his cold sores flare up?
it seems when we kiss/ he performs oral sex around the time I’m ovulating is when it is happening.
I know he’s not cheating on me and I am about to go get tested to make sure because I know cold sores are a strand of herpes. But his started long before we were together. He probably gets 4 small ones a year. Kinda panicking but didn’t know if it was a hormonal issue. Thanks
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
3 months ago
No, there is nothing about you that would cause him to get recurrences of his cold sores. Half the population has HSV 1 infection, the cause of cold sores. Are you aware that he can transmit HSV 1 from his mouth to your genital by giving you oral sex? This can happen both when he has a cold sore and when he doesn't. It's isn't a certainty that this would happen but it is a risk. If you were my patient, I would advise that you get an IgG test for HSV 1 (and 2) to see if you already have this virus. If you do, then receiving oral sex from him does not present any real risk. but if you don't, it maybe worthwhile for him to consider taking antiviral medicine daily to reduce the frequency of his own cold sores and the risk to you of getting HSV 1 genital infection. So yes, I concur with your idea to get tested. Just be sure to get IgG, never IgM testing.