Viewer Comments: Shingles - Symptoms and Signs

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Shingles - Symptoms and Signs

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Comment from: Shingles Lady, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 20

I've had recurring shingles outbreaks for about 15 years, ranging from 2 to 12 times a year. I'm 54. The first time, the doctor said it was a yeast infection; the second time it was misdiagnosed as ringworm; the third time of the exact same symptoms, the lesion was cultured and found to be herpes zoster, i.e. shingles. Most recently, the acute care physician called it 'easy to read shingles' because it was clearly on a nerve distribution on my inner thigh near the knee. In the past it's almost always been in the same location, my upper right buttock; but occasionally it appeared lower down or on the inner thighs, always within the region of my panties. This year, I've had five outbreaks, on my arms, legs and buttocks. I used to have an outbreak every time I got my period. Other triggers include lack of sleep, decreased ability to deal with stress, highly emotional states, excessive caffeine, or energy drinks. The symptoms that precede the actual outbreak by 2 to 3 days include a weird headache, feeling unbalanced, back/flank pain that isn't relieved with NSAIDs, sharp shooting pain in the groin and down the leg, legs buckling, stabbing prickly pain in the region of the outbreak, and anxiety. During the outbreak the itching and pain are unbearable. Fatigue follows. Recently, I have been taking cimetidine (Tagamet) and lysine and have had very good results quickly, shortening and reducing the severity of the symptoms. My primary care doctor doesn't think people can have recurring shingles. He's sending me to an infectious disease specialist. I'll keep you posted.

Comment from: Fern, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 29

I've had reoccurring shingles since I was 16. I am 42 now. I have them several times a year on the right side of my back through to the ribs and into right breast. They don't always break out into blisters. Now it is mostly constant nerve pain. It causes exhaustion, headaches and migraines, and depression. I've moved many times and have only had a few doctors understand what I have since it is so rare and I do not have any auto-immune disorders. Because I also have degenerative disc disease, when my back hurts, it sets off a shingles attack. Now my right arm is going numb, and shooting pain into my hands; from the nerve damage, I am sure. It's just getting worse the older I get, and I would love to find a doctor who would understand and help. I'm on acyclovir, Neurontin, and pain medicine every day.

Comment from: Jolo47, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 01

I am dealing with a case of shingles still, after being diagnosed about 2 weeks ago. It started with my right thigh being ever so painful and tender, which took me to the doctor. He said it was a pulled groin muscle and to ice it and take Tylenol. Over that weekend I notice a dime-size lesion near my quads and more on my public bone. I went back to the doctor and he said it was shingles and put me on steroid and Valtrex. Now 12 days after starting medicines lesions are drying up, but I am still in pain that can be pretty severe at times. It runs all over my lower back and abdomen, plus burning pain along with it. I have almost finished my medicines; hopefully my episode will not return.

Comment from: rockhound, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 20

The shingles started with pain in my left arm. I went to the chiropractor who thought I had a strained tendon near my neck. A few days later red rash appeared above my wrist with a few spots on my upper arm. The rash didn't blister but the pain was severe. I'd only get few fitful hours of sleep at night and after the dose of medicines the doctor gave me were done, he put me on a pain killer that help me sleep at night as well as Neurontin. It's odd that the worst pain always started in the evening and lasted all night. In the morning it would just disappear (except for some tenderness). Anyway, after 3 or 4 weeks, I'm still waiting for this to end. It has helped reading everyone's stories.

Comment from: benstanklin, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: May 15

I thought I had another bout with poison ivy or allergy to a new medicine I was taking but strangely the rash which started on the middle of my back and curved around my side was sensitive but not that itchy. Well, after about a week the pain started flaring up. It quickly became excruciating. I took a Vicodin which barely helped so off I went to the emergency room (ER). It took ER staff about 3 seconds to confirm it was shingles. In Spanish it is called 'culebrilla' which means 'little snake' which apropos to a snake as the rash snakes along the nerve endings. My advice to all is to get it checked out as soon as something suspicious appears as supposedly the anti-viral medicines are more effective when given earlier and can save you some misery.

Comment from: j. fox, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I now realize that I have suffered from shingles from the age of 20. I now know at the age of 53 my symptoms. I feel drained, so tired I sleep at any opportunity, suffer night sweats and niggling pain. This happens for about 3 to 5 days and then the real pain starts. I get shingles on my right buttock, so my pain affects my inner groin, my right buttock and all down my right leg, so much so that even my jeans hurt when touching the leg. It goes down to my big toe and I have for years been misdiagnosed with sciatica. Once the blisters appear I put cold sore cream on them and this helps a lot. Four days later the pain goes. I have got fed up with doctors telling me it can't be shingles because you only get it once. I have the scars to prove it!

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