Internal shingles

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Posted on 11th January 2013 by admin in Articles

It is a known fact that the way one becomes exposed to a shingles infection is through the virus which also causes a chickenpox infection. In other words, only individuals who have had chickenpox could later develop shingles later on.

The virus will lie dormant in the nerve endings where it may be reactivated and become a shingles infection. Once activated, the virus will move down the nerve in the affected area causing a rash. If a nerve being affected is attached to an internal organ, shingles could potentially strike there as well. Internal shingles is far more serious than external shingles because it can lead to dangerous complications.

Symptoms of Internal Shingles

So that you can get immediate medical help, you should know what the symptoms of internal shingles are. Swelling of one’s lymph nodes is the most tell tale sign. Swelling can be observed in the area of the groin or under the arms. The reason for this is that the immune system becomes activated when it picks up on the virus’ presence. An unexplainable abdominal pain is the second symptom to be encountered. You will find that the stomach feels very tender to the touch. One may also suffer from gastrointestinal disturbances. This would generally happen if the gastrointestinal tract were being affected by the virus. Blisters in the throat and mouth may also develop creating irritating and painful lesions. Eating and drinking then become extremely hard for the person infected. These are the more milder signs one could experience. There are some serious symptoms that could develop as well.

Hutchinson’s sign is one of the more serious symptoms. With Hutchinson’s one will develop a rash across the end of the nose and the eye nerves are afflicted. One can develop vision problems, swelling, or possibly temporary blindness with shingles in the eye. One should seek immediate medical attention should they find a rash on their nose. Having the rash appear on the neck, face, mouth, and ears is also a serious symptom to be wary of. This will occur once the nerves of the face have been affected. Symptoms such as hearing loss, severe pain in the ear, dizziness, and facial paralysis are what the patient could experience. It is a temporary condition but medical attention is necessary.

There are some cases where the virus will invade internal body tissues. It may also affect organs such as the lungs, central nervous system, and the brain. Breathing problems and pneumonia can develop if shingles affects the lungs. In situations where the brain has been affected, one could experience headaches, confusion, dizziness, and unconsciousness. Having the viral infection in the brain can lead to the development of encephalitis. Encephalitis is a complication which causes the brain meninges to become inflamed. It can also cause damage to the nerves located around the brain. Life threatening complications can develop from these more serious symptoms in a patient.

Treatment of Internal Shingles

An antiviral drug called acyclovir is used to treat internal shingles. Acyclovir works to restrict the virus’ DNA from replicating which allows the condition to resolve itself. There are other antivirals that can be used such as famciclovir and valacyclovir. There are some cases where a patient could develop postherpetic neuralgia. This can cause persistent pain that the patient may endure for a few years. In order to alleviate the symptoms a patient can be given steroids and antidepressants.

It will generally take between 3 to 5 weeks for symptoms of internal shingles to fully resolve. Normally it can be cured leaving no major complications. Those who could show the more severe symptoms of internal shingles would be the elderly, children, and immunocompromised individuals.

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