Third time I've had shingles...and I'm 21.

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I am 21 years old and this is my third time having shingles. I have it on my left thigh. At first the doctors were skeptical because I was 20 when they first diagnosed me with shingles, and I was just as surprised as they were to find out. But they reassured me saying after medications I shouldn't have another outbreak for a while, if not any at all. Six months later I had another outbreak, same area just a couple inches moved. 8 months after that, here I am today with the same firing pain and numbness. I'm going to the doctor today because it's hurting me so much. I wish they could find a cure for this, I'm scared im that exception that will be having shingles all my life. I haven't found a pattern at all, therefore I can't seem to find the reasoning behind all of this. Is there anyone out there with the same issue! Someone who is in their early twenties and keeps having reoccurring shingles??? I'm going out of my mind here. 

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  • Posted

    Helllo

    Sorry to hear of your situation and worry.

    Are you under stress from school , a family situation or something else you cant control or fix? If yes, seek counselling, see a monister or someone who could offer you hope and concrete ways to change your situation.

    If you are having ongoing nerve pain or itch, get Lyrica or Amytrtptaline from your doctor. Also, L-lysine helps with controlling the herpes virus in your system, take daily with your doc's approval

    It is disheartening to have repeated shingles, ive have them 14 times in 25 years starting at age 36. I now get only one to three vescicles but all the burning and numbness and fluish feeling. You might benefit from the vaccine.

    Best wishes, dont give up hope : they may not return!

    Gets lots of rest, eat well and reduce your stress as much as you can.

    Warm Regads

    Sue B. RN

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  • Posted

    Hi. Sorry for your pain. I am not 21 but I had too my first shingles attack 4 years ago on my left high covering a large area and was very painful. Then I was fine for 4 years until I was sick with impatigo 6 months ago after an exhausting trip to Greece and then once impatigo was gone I had another shingles attck on my left hand palm but mild and since then I have had 3 more attacks. So in conclusion whenever something weakened your immune system (maybe just stress but not necessarily a serious problem) another attack is possible. Mind you recent study suggests that immunocompetent people get recurring shingles too and it can happen to younger people as well so don.t be scared, though still a good majority of cases are those with immunocompromised or older than 50.

    From what I read there will be a new vaccine on the market which claims to provide 100% immunity for life so keep your eyes open for that vaccine and hope that until then you won't have another attack.

    Kevin From Canada.

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  • Posted

    Hi. I had shingles in April this year on left hand, shoulder/upper arm and scalp. Doc said all from same dermatone C4. Each outbreak occurred at approx 3 week intervals. I took the advice from some of the letters on tis forum eventually and bought some L-lysine tablets. epensive from popular health food store but cheaper online. So far, (I'm crossing fingers now!) it's not come back again.rolleyes I saw the Doc again recently though as I had itching in some the areas where rash was plus tingling and strange sensations in same areas. She said it was  PHN, Post Herpetic Neuralgia and prescribed Amitriptylene to take at night. It's started to kick in now after a couple of weeks. Might be a good idea to ask your GP for some blood tests to see if you have any auto immune problems as they can cause recurring bouts. I was also very tired before, during and still am! Don't know how long this goes on for but lots of sleep when you feel like this does help. Hope you feel better soon. Best Wishes, Ellie UK smile
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  • Posted

    Hi, Shark bait!

    I was in my early forties, but the physicians were convinced initially the severe recurrent Herpes Zoster I had in my right ear every three to five weeks for the last 19 years was Herpes Simplex. I have autoimmune diseases that make me prone to Herpes Zoster Oticus or Shingles.

    The wisest course of action is to find a physician who will give you antivirals on hand that you can start immediately upon onset of symptoms, as the pain in your thigh usually appears before the rash. Also, you need Opioids such as oxycodone from the physician for the excruciating pain. The sooner you start the antivirals, the shorter the course of the pain and less intensity of pain you shall experience.

    You actually probably have flu like symptoms before the pain and rash appear as you have a viremia circulating. You may have a headache, fatigue, chills, low grade fever, aches and pains for one to two weeks prior to onset of the rash. I start my antivirals then.

    Hopefully, this has helped.

    Most physicians are abysmally ignorant of this disease.

    Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      I am 67 years old. I had shingles about 4 years ago. I had had the vaccination. Since then I have had mild recurrences. I don't have the pain or itching although the rash does appear in the same place on my arm. I also have the fatigue and sometimes nausea. This is about third time. Is this possible?

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  • Posted

    ​You're not alone! 

    I had my first outbreak of Shingles at age 18 in April of 2012. It was a mild case, the blisters fully developed and filled with fluid. The rash clustered primarily on my back directly on the center of my spine, and wrapped around my left side in two other clusters that were not as developed. Before the development of the rash, I had flu-like symptoms for 3-4 days. When I was diagnosed, I was prescribed Valtrex to fight the infection. Exactly a week after taking the meds 3x a day, the infection disipated and left me with a scar. I believe this outbreak was brought on by massive stress in my life, including finals at school in my senior year, discovering I had a half-sister, and fights with my boyfriend.

    I was shocked that I had the first outbreak; the only thing I knew about Shingles was that it was an "elderly disease". My immune system has always been great, but I have continually endured great amounts of stress in my life. After the first outbreak, I never even considered the disease resurfacing... I was wrong!

    For about a year and a half, I was fine; sure, stressful situations came and went, but no sign of shingles or the thought that they would return. In July of 2014, I broke out in a small rash on the right side of my abdomen. My immediate thought was, "This can't be Shingles.." and all of my family members doubted me, calling me paranoid! The rash grew, but not as prominent as the outbreak that I had had before. It develped into three small patches that were bright pink/red. I went to an Urgent Care facility, and the doctor took one look at the rash and confirmed it was Shingles! I panicked: What could be wrong with me? Why am I having two outbreaks of Shingles at age 18 & 20? I was prescribed Valtrex again 3x a day for seven days. The rash left in that time-frame and left no scar. Aditionally, I had no signs or symptoms of the disease aside from the rash; the rash developed and barely had an itching sensation, but nothing more. I believe that a combination of returning to school and my boyfriend's family issues gave me this outbreak. I can remember having the same level of stress and dismay in these situations that mirrored the events leading to my first outbreak.

    Now, here we are in September of 2015, and I am currently experiencing my 3rd outbreak of Shingles at 21! I felt a bump or two on the left side of my neck a few days ago, and I noticed it grow in size and shape over the days following. Yesterday, I was certain it was Shingles due to its appearance, and contacted a Teladoc to diagnose me over the phone. He prescribed me with Valtrex, which I am to take 3x a day for seven days; I am on my 3rd pill. Again, the rash is more mild than the initial outbreak, but it seems to itch a little bit more than my last outbreak. I think this is due to the fact that it is on my neck, which is more sensitive. The rash has not developed into blisters like the first time, and it seems to be taking the same mild development as my last outbreak. Similar to the other events leading to my outbreak, I felt the same amount of stress and emotional pain. I was just laid off from my job of 3 years two weeks ago, and I am facing great financial hardship with my bills/tuition payments.

    I can't begin to understand why this is recurrent in my life. Aside from three definitive moments of concentrated stress, nothing about my life seems to factor into the onset of this infection. Once my rash passes and I have some stability in my financial situation, I plan to contact an infectious disease specialist to hear my history and evaluate me; aside from that, I plan to manage my stress better. 

     

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  • Posted

    Hey,

    im also 21 and i am suffering from a shingles outbreak right now. I had a very small patch of blisters on my neck and theeeeee worst pain in the side of my neck that goes up behind my ears down to my chin and my shoulder armpit area! Not to much of a numbness feeling! Its now starting to scab over.

    This is my second outbreak in 2months! I live a normal life and i dont know what causes mine either. Stressful! Your not alone😑

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  • Posted

    Dear Sharkbaitstar, 

     I am 22 years old and I had my first spout of shingles when I was 14. It took the doctors forever to figure out what it was because they immediately almost ruled it out because of my age. I am a healthy normal 22 year old and have now gone through shingles I believe 15 times... I started to lose count after about 12. I get it on the side of my face near my right eye. And have been told unfortunately someday if the spouts continue I will end up blind in my right eye. I am actually currently going through another episode as I write this. Was looking up more information about the virus to see if I could come up with anything new when I came across your post. I am beyond DONE with this crappy virus.  When I get it my head pounds and aches like no headache I've ever felt. My face swells up and I can't touch the right side of my face or neck because the pain is so severe. I get about 2-3 episodes a year and I too cannot find a pattern as to what triggers it... I'm sorry to hear you're going through the same thing. I guess this doesn't really help other that to let you know you're not the only one. Im on the search for a specailist. Please let me know if you come across one.

    Sincerely, morghan04003

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    • Posted

      Hi Morghan,

      Although I was older than you when I first had shingles or Herpes Zoster, I have had them in my right ear every three to five weeks for the last 19 years and also in my right eye.

      The most important aspect of the disease is to learn to treat the disease immediately when you feel the first symptoms of the disease coming on, and not wait for the full rash before starting the antivirals.

      For example, I become ataxic or off- balance, have insomnia, develop a regular headache before the severe pain in my right ear days before a rash develops in my ear. Once I feel off-balance, I start the Famvir, which is the best type of antiviral, better than Acyclovir that the UK Health Service hands out. It is more efficacious. It stops the Herpes Zoster attack from becoming as intense, the attack is shorter in duration, the pain is far less, the rash is less or nonexistent, and I am less fatigued. I am nipping it in the bud, so to speak. Mind you, I still hurt, but it is not the head banging assault I used to have where I wanted to excise my right ear and eye.

      I also have a supply of Opioids that I take for about three days during the worst days of the attack. Find a physician, preferably a neurologist who is sympathetic and knowledgeable re: the subject. I also am on an anticonvulsant which helps lessen the pain. This also may be why I have not developed post herpetic neuralgia. I take Topamax, but Neurontin and Lyrica has been used.

      I hope this helps.

      Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    I am also 21 and I have had shingles about 7 times or more in the past 4 years. Last year I got them 3 times within the year. You're not alone!!!
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  • Posted

    Hi, I'm 24 and this is the 4th time I've had shingles. I also have epilepsy, and I always thought there was a connection. My shingles appear on both sides of my upper back and my lower right side. They show up in the spring and fall, every six months. I've been told to see an infectious disease specialist to ask for the vaccine, but it will be $500 and only work for a couple years. After my second outbreak I started using cannabis (weed) to control my seizures, and it also makes my shingles outbreaks shorter and much less painfull. I have stopped going to the doctor for Valtrex because I find its not as effective as weed and other natural cures. smile
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    • Posted

      Carly,

      GlaxoSmithKline has developed a new Shingles vaccine that is 97.2% efficacious called Shingrix, coming to market in 2016. Zostavax was only 51.3 % effective, dropping to 37.6% in the older population >70 years of age. I am hoping this one works. I get Herpes Zoster-Shingles in my right ear every three to five weeks.

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  • Posted

    I have reoccurring shingles otherwise I am very healthy! I found this in WEBMD archives...

    The article is from Nov. 2, 2009 (Philadelphia) however, I just recently discovered it. I was unable to post the link so I sent part of the article -- "People with shingles are more likely to suffer a recurrence than previously thought. .."We don't know what causes reactivation of the dormant virus," Moore says. Moore and colleagues studied the medical records of nearly 1,700 people with a confirmed shingles attack from 1996 to 2001. Only 8% had compromised immune systems, she says. But 95 of them suffered 105 recurrences by the end of 2007. "Clearly most recurrent attacks are occurring in people with healthy immune systems," she says.

    The time between attacks ranged from 96 days to 10 years. Recurrences were:

    2.8 times more likely in people with shingles-associated pain for 30 or more days during the initial episode. 4.8 times more likely in people with shingles-associated pain for 60 or more days during the initial episode. 60% more likely in women than men. 40% more likely in people who were 50 or older when they had their initial attack... I tried to post the link to this article but, for some reason they didn't allow it to be posted. " ...

    About me and my reoccurring shingles - I am now a 54-year-old female. I have been getting reoccurring shingles since I was 12 years. I also had shingles with both my pregnancies. I read an article that said it happens frequently during pregnancy. I am in excellent health I am very fit just last weekend I rode my bike in 2 days over 300 miles. I was a college gymnast and performing arts major in dance. I have always been athletic and continue to maintain my fitness. However, since getting older the frequency of my recurrences seems to come quicker and are becoming more painful with each episode. The pain is more in my hip-flexor on the side I get it in on my back. Sometimes it's my left side sometimes it's my right side. I also get a neck ache if I get it at the base of my neck. I feel very frustrated because the pain can be quite debilitating in my hip-flexor or hip joint when I get it on my back. When I get it at the base of my neck it causes my neck to be stiff. It's also very frustrating because no one believes you. It's embarrassing to share with anyone that I have reoccurring shingles because they think there something wrong with me, or they do not believe me.

    My favorite part of the article (the one that I was unable to send the link for so everyone could see the whole article) is... "Clearly most recurrent attacks are occurring in people with healthy immune systems," ... Doctors need to become more aware of this information because it's almost like the Doctors shame you if you tell them you've had it more than once. I'm so tired of feeling embarrassed and ashamed for having shingles. So not only do I have to feel embarrassed and ashamed but, while I'm feeling this way I'm also in horrible pain from the shingles. I do hope that they will continue to do research in this area. I also hope Doctors get the word out some people just have reoccurring shingles and it's nothing to be ashamed. NO one knows exactly what reactivates the virus for some people it could be as little as a small amount of stress. I have also had  the vaccine for shingles it lasted about nine months then I had the worst outbreak ever. I keep wondering what maybe we all have in common. I know that I'm allergic to Bacterium. I also know that I'm have A- blood. I do you take Celebrex for my hips, I have arthritis in my hips from overuse (the dance and gymnastics) .

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    • Posted

      Dear Thinsport,

      You are not alone! I have had recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles every 3-5 weeks in my right ear for the past 20 years and twice in my right eye. The physicians stated, it has to be Simplex. I never had a cold sore. I was tested for Zoster and Simplex antibodies, and was negative for Simplex, and positive for acute IgM antibodies to Herpes Zoster-Shingles. The vesicles-blisters behave differently from Simplex and come in crops or waves. Most physicians are abysmally ignorant regarding this excruciating disease, the predromal symptoms similar to the flu, the fatigue. You are absolutely correct that individuals whose initial episode had pain duration over 30 days are predisposed to recurrent episodes. On this site, as I have been extremely active on this site, many individuals with recurrent shingles were very ill with chickenpox, including me.

      I do have to say, the first year, I probably only had recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles twice. The next year, four times. Then eight. Etc.. I was very stressed out as a single mother, etc. Interesting, I was extremely fit and athletic, took ballet, did gymnastics.

      May I ask where you live? I am a Nurse Practitioner in Delaware, US. I am assertive with the physicians. It takes practice. I used to be a shy young thing. Now, at age 64, I simply don't care. I realize how little they know.

      I am so sorry you have gone through much of this struggle alone. On this site you will feel supported, as many of us have recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles.

      My first episode, I had an agonizing headache where I felt I was giving birth through my ear canal while being electrocuted for four weeks. I went to two ENTs who thought I was narcotic seeking. I finally saw an otoneurologist, who diagnosed it as shingles. It took many weeks before the vesicles-blisters appeared on the ear canal. Now at the first inkling of an episode, I start Famvir.

      The reason I am so active on this site is I don't want people to suffer the way we have.

      I have read many medical journal articles validating what you elucidated on Herpes Zoster-Shingles, but unfortunately, many older physicians fail to read them.

      Keep me posted.

      I enjoyed reading your email immenselyrics.

      Best wishes,

      Merry Juliana

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  • Posted

    Mine didn't start in my 20s, mine started when I was 11 and I have had a minimum of 4 outbreaks a year ever since. I'm 33 now... My daughter had her first outbreak at 7 and at 9 is on her fifth outbreak, the last two were just a month apart. It is aweful and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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    • Posted

      Dear Rebecca,

      Have you and your daughter been tested for autoimmune diseases? Ultimately, I think individuals that have recurrent Herpes Zoster-Shingles very frequently have a disorder that lowers their immunity.

      I am very sorry for you and your daughter's suffering.

      I 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.

      There is a new vaccine Shingrex by Glaxo-Smith-Kline that is being brought up for approval to the FDA this year. As Zostavax wasn't that efficacious, giving only a 53-37% efficacy rate, Shingrex shows more promise with a 90-97% efficacy rate. It has an adjuvant that gives it a boost.

      I am a Nurse Practitioner in the States.

      Best wishes

      Merry Juliana

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    • Posted

      Merry, I'm actually waiting on some test results for my daughter that should be in on Monday that her doctor ordered after after the outbreak at the end of August. They didn't do the testing until a week ago and the results should be in soon. I never got mine tested, although my first outbreak was very severe and happened shortly after a severe case of rheumatic fever that had me very close to death.I had a lot of health problems that occurred after

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    • Posted

      Rebecca,

      Although initially the physicians thought I was reasonably healthy, hah! I have ITP, Psoriasis-mild, and SLE. Also, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, excellent prognosis, last year. Of course, by the time it is imaged on a mammogram, it has been growing for at least 6-7 years for a small tumor. Mine was under a cardiac monitor, so there was no way I could have palpated it...the first time was awful, too as the first two ENTs thought I was narcotic seeking. It took three weeks for the vesicle-blisters to show on the ear canal. I try not to let Herpes Zoster-Shingles rule my life by using three medications and diet.

      I have to use an Opioid for the severe pain.

      I also am on an anticonvulsant similar to gabapentin called Topamax. It decreases the neuropathic pain and I am sure prevented Post Herpetic Neuralgia PHN.

      I also use Auralgon ear drops, which contains Benzocaine, a numbing medication topically.

      I suggest using Solarcaine topically, on the skin, which contains Lidocaine and Aloe. It might help reduce the pain and/ or itching.

      Best wishes

      Merry Juliana

      Ju

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    • Posted

      I've always just tried to deal with the pain because I absolutely hate how I react to pain medicines (severe migraines after normally being practically catotonic for at least 24 hours), I will have to try the topical one though. I'm sorry you have had to go through all that. Most of the time I get the breakouts around my eye so treating it has always been complicated and I'm sure you have the same problem with your ear. My first outbreak was over half my face, the entire back of head and down the entire left side of my body. Since then I had three outbreaks on my leg and two on my arm, the rest were on or around my eyelid (one time on my right but all the rest were on the left). It did get on the backside of my eyelid once and ended up scratching and infecting my cornea. That resulted in 6 months of steroid eye drops and permanent scarring and damage to my vision. It's aweful to deal with.

      My daughter has had two outbreaks on the left side of her lower back, two around her left eye, and one on her chin and cheek. The doctors have only ever given acyclovir for her and I hate how much pain she is in.

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    • Posted

      Rebecca,

      Obviously,

      You have had complicated cases. While some individuals have major issues with Topamax, others respond beautifully to Topamax. I am a migraineur, and have taken Topamax for over ten years, and have not had a migraine since. Of course, The Herpes Zoster-Shingles headaches in my ear are far worse, as you can imagine, but at least I know how to treat it. I zap it with Famciclovir as soon as I feel a headache coming on.

      I am so terribly sorry for your daughter and you.

      My warmest regards

      Merry Juliana

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