What You Need to Know About Internal Shingles
This article will talk about a type of shingles called internal shingles. As known to many, shingles is a viral infection that causes painful and itchy skin, with or without a rash.
It often appears with blisters on a localized area, either on the face or on the neck. This infection is common in individuals with weak immune systems such as the elderly, those with HIV, those with other serious illnesses, those who are experiencing severe stress, and the like.
The virus that causes chickenpox is the same that causes shingles. It happens when the virus comes back after years of being inactive after a chickenpox infection.
What are internal shingles?
Internal shingles is the type of shingles that does not show any visible rash or blisters. The rash may appear inside the mouth or the ear. Organs that may be affected by this type of shingles are the eyes, muscles, brain, and nerves.
Internal shingles attacks the nerves in the patient’s body and may also not show any sign of rashor blisters. This is a very rare condition.
A person with shingles may experience the same symptoms as when a person has the flu. The infected individual may also experience pain and also some movement difficulties due to the body pain that it brings.
Shingles may also bring symptoms such as sensitivity to light, stomachache including diarrhea, headache, and others. Since internal shingles do not show visible signs, complications are commonly felt internally, and this makes internal shingles a lot more dangerous than the type that causes a visible rash and blisters.
However, with prompt diagnosis and proper medication, internal shingles is not lethal or life-threatening, as the infection can be prevented from spreading and from getting worse.
Common symptoms of internal shingles
- Flu-like signs without fever
- Stomach ache/diarrhea
- Sensitivity to light
- Movement problems
- Body pain
- Painful tickling or burning feeling
- The more prevalent symptoms are:
- Oral pain—This pain is usually felt when blisters or lesions have occurred in the mouth; this is painful especially wheneating
- Swelling of the lymph nodes—This swelling occurs when the immune system is trying to resist the virus infection. This is commonly noticed underneath the arms, in thegroin area, or side of the neck.
- Encephalitis—This appears when the viral infection affects the nerves of the brain. The virus causes inflammation and swelling of the brain. This is a lethal condition, so make sure to visit a doctor immediately if you experience a severe headache
Common complications of internal shingles
- Post-herpetic neuralgia—This complication causes burning or tingling nerve pain. It includes symptoms such as severe sensitivity to touch, light, and change in temperature. An individual experiencing this complication will also experience numbness, headaches, itching, and occasional pain.The person may also experience muscle pain and can become paralyzed due to unrestrained movements of the muscle.
- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome—Also known as facial palsy, this is a facial nerve paralysis that also comes with a rash on either the ear or the mouth. This complication can also bring other symptoms such as facial weakness, hearing loss, tinnitus, nausea, oscillation of the eyes or nystagmus, and dizziness, specifically vertigo.
- Neurological problems—This causes hearing problems, balance problems or vertigo, and facial paralysis. These complications are life-threatening as they can lead to coma and death if not immediately treated.
- Loss of eyesight—This complication occurs when you are infected with optical shingles; this is characterized by the pain in the eye area, swollen eyelids, redness, lack of eye sensation, eye discharge, blurred vision, and worse, temporary or permanent loss of eyesight.
- Other problems affecting the internal organs—This is characterized by blisters affecting a person’s internal organs such as the lungs, central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, and the brain. If the lungs are affected, pneumonia and other respiratory problems may be encountered.
Available treatments for internal shingles
- Aside from medications prescribed by the doctor, topical anesthetics can be used to lessen skin sensitivity.
- Prescription medicines such as antiviral drugs are critical to the immediate cure of internal shingles. Medication can take between 2 and 5 weeks before the symptoms of internal shingles fully go away, depending on how severe the condition is.
- Itchiness or pain on the surface of the skin may be temporarily reduced using heat treatment or an ice pack.
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