Possible shingles with no rash?

Posted , 6 users are following.

I've been suffering from lower abdominal discomfort and pain for months now, and no one's been able to make it stop or figure out exactly why it's happening. I started noticing persistent lower abdominal discomfort in December of last year. Had an abdo x-ray, had an endoscopy. I have IBS-C and they chalked me up to those kind of things.

In April, I started getting a burning skin pain feeling in the exact area of my usual discomfort. It hasn't let up since. The only time it goes away is when I've been on vacation or house sitting for my parents. If I'm able to take my mind fully off it, the symptoms are lessened. Otherwise, it's from the time I wake up to when I go to bed.

There's no rash, there's never been a rash. But no one knows what to make of me. When I put heat on the area, anymore, it gets itchy. I just had bloodwork done by my PCP a few weeks back and it was all perfect. Is it possible to get a raging case of internal shingles and not have it go away or present with rash? 

The pain is in the middle of my lower abdomen, 2-3" below my navel. It probably radiates in a circumfrence of about 3" total.... 

I'm so desperate to find exactly what's wrong with me - beyond anxiety and my usual bowel issues of constipation (got put on Celexa 20 MG about a month and a half ago but it hasn't worked intensely well for me yet)...

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    I just wanted to welcome you, but I'll let others answer. I just joined a few days ago and they've been wonderful. I hope they have answer for you. I too have IBS, so I can imagine how miserable this is for you. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    I had two tiny very itchy burning spots on my back. I thought it was a bug bite. It wouldn't stop no matter what I used to stop the incessant burning and itching. I had no blisters or the classic sign of shingles.

    my doctor took a biopsy in his office and diagnosed shingles. Right away the dr administered the vaccine. He said that new studies show that after a break out the vaccine will help control the severity and duration and nerve damage.that was 7 yrs ago.  It has helped, however the itching drives me insane! So I have anti virals I take the first 24-48 hours or tingling and numbing gel and anti itch prescription. Some people have nerve tingling I thought I did but the doc did a blood test and the feet & leg tingling numb feeling was due to low vit-B. After a few months of taking the vit it cleared up.

    others it's not so easy. Other meds can help for nerve pain. Talk to ur doc he knows you health history to diagnose and treat your symptoms.

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  • Posted

    DEAR ANC44,

    Actually, it is possible to have internal abdominal shingles with no rash. It is called "Zoster Sine Herpete" or "Shingles without the Rash." As a person with IBS, you are at a higher risk of having shingles than the average population. The burning and itching sensation is quite typical of Herpes Zoster-Shingles. Is it one-sided? Theoretically, you may have contracted the disease, never been adequately treated for it with antivirals and analgesics, then developed Post Herpetic Neuralgia PHN. Only your clinician can diagnose and treat you, but burning pain is neuropathic pain, and Herpes Zoster-Shingles is worth pursuing as a cause for it.

    I am sorry for your suffering.

    Best Wishes

    Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    It is likely shingles. Follow the threads here, especially Merry Juliana. Everytime I read I understand more how shingles has affected my body and my heath.  As more of the shingles diagnoses comes out it is more imperative to have more research and more medical talk on PHN effects.
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    • Posted

      I floated the idea of shingles to my PCP over a message becuase he told me he didn't know what to do for me - besides referring me back to my GI. Now he's saying we can try me on a week of Valtrex to "put aside the shingles idea."

      I think it's a bit unsafe, potentially, to just be thrown this anti-viral drug without actually being legit diagnosed - right? I'm on Celexa and Linzess and Sprintec right now. I haven't told him what I want to do either way but I'm wary of drug interactions - and super weirded out that I threw out a self-diagnosis and he's just going with it to assuage me.

      Unsure what to do here...

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    • Posted

      Dear ANC,

      I do not know your medical history, your symptoms, etc, but your IBS places you at greater risk for Shingles.

      I looked up the four medications for drug interactions and there are none.

      Shingles has a specific disease course, with usually severe unremitting burning-lancinating pain in a specific dermatome on one side of the body underneath a vesicular-blistery rash. It is preceded by a headache, aches and pains, malaise, fever, chills and sweating. The fatigue and exhaustion that accompanies the pain and rash can last months. IBS with its gastrointestinal pains, certainly can cause severe colicky pain, and its own set of issues.

      My own thinking is you need to have a frank discussion about what is going on with your health, the pain, your fears of what is wrong. If your internist is not approachable, start looking for someone who is.

      I hope I have helped you.

      I am a Nurse Practitioner in the States and have had Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every three to five weeks for the past twenty years and twice in my right eye.

      Best Wishes.

      Merry Juliana

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