What Might Your Herpes Outbreak Be Telling You?


What Might Your Herpes Outbreak Be Telling You?

CarnivalI have lived with herpes for over 15 years and believe me, I have learned a few things about the causes of my herpes outbreaks. Like many, I had to learn the hard way of what triggered my outbreaks. While many people are triggered by a high arginine content in their food, heat, friction, sunlight, or their menses, my number one cause of herpes outbreaks was emotional stress. Stress is by far the number one cause of herpes outbreaks! So, if you don’t have your stress levels under control, herpes will rear it’s ugly head.

Most people in America have absolutely no idea how stressed they really are until their health fails. I can remember sitting in the office of my chiropractor as I attempted to tell her that my life wasn’t very stressful. She looked at me and smiled as she carefully reflected the stressful events that had occurred in the past several years of my life. She reminded me of how I went to medical school and graduated at the top of my class, relocated to a town where I didn’t know anyone, started my own Wellness Center in a town filled to capacity with other healers and doctors, how I got married and had a very challenging pregnancy, wrote a book, started a non-profit, had 3 miscarriages and an emergency appendectomy in a short period of time. I could go on, but there is no need to.

My whole point is that sometimes we are totally unaware of how stressed out our bodies are. Especially if you are a positive, optimistic person like I am. I was shocked to hear her tell ME what my body, mind and soul had been through. So, what might your herpes outbreak be telling you? You are STRESSED! Maybe you don’t get enough sleep, you have a poor diet, your a workaholic, or your finances and relationships are stressing you out. Frequent herpes outbreaks are a great reminder that you might be more stressed than you realize.

The first step in managing stress is to acknowledge it. It is from this point that you can actually then do something about it. I want you to think about the past year of your life and what you have been through. Be inquisitive, but also very compassionate and loving towards yourself as you review this time in your life. This will give you a feel for what it is like for the herpes virus to be living in your body. When your stressed, herpes thrives! Think back over the past year and determine what major changes or life events have occurred. Here’s some areas to consider:

Health: changes in diet, sleep, exercise, illness, hospitalizations, changes in recreation Work: new job, longer hours, unemployment, transfer, promotion, demotion, troubles with coworkers or boss

Home and Family: new home, loss of loved one, pregnancy, miscarriage, new baby, marriage, divorce, problems with family member, illness in family

Personal or Social: change in personal habits, change in social activities, new relationship, an accident, change in religion, major personal acheivment

Financial: major purchase, loss of property, investment or credit difficulties, increased or decreased income While some of these changes are positive, it might come as a surprise that they can also be stressful.

Once you acknowledge what you have been through, you can begin to integrate the emotions associated with these changes in a positive manner. Spending time in meditation DAILY is extremely powerful. Even 5 minutes a day can alter your mood, relax your body and help your body to dissipate stress. There is not a single person that doesn’t have 5 minutes a day to meditate. You can’t afford NOT to! Journalling is also an excellent tool to help us to process and integrate our emotions. Whether you have frequent herpes outbreaks or not, take the time to be still each and every day. Your body will thank you in the long run.

If you would like to learn to manage your herpes outbreaks holistically and to reclaim you life, check out my new book: Live, Love and Thrive with Herpes: A Holistic Guide for Women  


  1. fortisrock says:

    I was diagnosed less than three weeks ago. I had what my doctor called a severe initial outbreak. And it was awful. Just when I thought it was finally subsiding i recognized the tingling itching and now have an outbreak on an outbreak. How can I stop this circle?I’m not itching,as much as I would like to. Should I take another round of anti virals? I’ve accepted that I’ve got this but now I need some kind of relief. Please help.

    • Dr. Kelly says:

      I am so sorry to hear that you had a severe initial outbreak. I know how painful this can be. If I were you, I would call my doctor and ask about taking another round of antivirals. Unfortunately, I cannot legally offer you any medical advice. It is possible that you have another outbreak and if so, it would be appropriate to take another round of antivirals. I would also take a look at your diet and see if there is anything that might be triggering it. Herpes thrives on a diet high in the amino acid arginine and low in lysine. Foods that are high in arginine include things like chocolate, coffee, nuts, nut butters etc. You can read more about this on my blog about arginine and lysine. In the meantime, you can sit in a tub of cold water. Fill the tub just enough to cover the genitals. This will cool the area and help to speed up the healing. You can also use baking soda externally to help with the itching once the herpes blisters are patted dry. You can learn more about natural remedies for herpes in my new book Live, Love and Thrive. Keep us posted as things progress.

      Live. Love. Thrive.
      Dr. Kelly

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hello, I am so happy to have found your website. I also ordered your books and am excited to begin reading. I do have a question now- I am 32 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I’ve had herpes for about 3 years, though it has never been severe. I noticed an outbreak this week and am trying not to worry about it thwarting my plan for a natural birth with my midwife, but I am concerned. I recently had a very stressful time (traveling for the holidays and husband being injured), so I think that’s the main cause; that and my diet has been higher in sugar over the holidays. My question is this, if I already have it and so does my husband, should we avoid sex for the rest of my pregnancy? And what, if any, suppressive treatments do you recommend during the final weeks? THANK YOU for the work you do.

  3. Kitty says:

    Hello Stephanie

    I am also interested to know about Dr Kelly’s advise on suppressive treatment for final few weeks of pregnancy. I have a healthy happy 5 year old and wish to try for another but have been anxious for many years now as despite having genital herpes for 15 years I was only diagnosed 2 years ago. This has hit me very hard, it has been a very tough depressed two years, I am coming out of the other side now and am controlling my emotions now that I understand more about the virus. Your website is my lifesaver, thank you for all your advise!

    Dr Schuh book is on order I can’t wait to start reading. But for now I desperately ask Dr Kelly Schuh for some pregnancy specific information – I don’t want to have another if it will put baby at risk. I have been advised to take anti viral medicine for the last of my pregnancy which I feel would give me the peace of mind I need, despite probably not being necessary. Do you have 1 or 2 children? I don’t want this virus to stop me adding to my family but I don’t want to rush ahead if there are risk! What did you do?

    Stephanie hope baby arrived safely and your enjoying being a mummy!

  4. JENNY says:

    Thanks a bunch i just found this website it’s very helpful.Dr.Kelly thanks for taking the time out to answer i have a few ? My self I”ve been with this from last year n i could hate these outbreaks i keep having them every month for at least 3-4 days it’s so depressing for me I notice it’s all stress and maybe my diet i’m taking Acyclovir… Thanks a lot been reading comments and they age so helpful i understood many things thanks a lot

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