Signs And Symptoms Of Internal Shingles | How To Detect Infection Early

Shingles commonly presents as blisters or a rash only on one side of the body and is caused by a virus.

Like other viral infections such as chickenpox or Varicella Zoster Virus, shingles is contagious and the viral infection can be spread through direct contact with the fluid that is emitted by the blisters.

Shingles develops from the dormant chickenpox virus once the body has evidently recovered. The virus remains in the body's nervous system eternally and the reason that it develops into shingles is still unknown, however there are certain methods to help git rid of it.

Shingles does however not only present externally as a rash or blisters which is generally the means that practitioners use to diagnose the condition.

Internal shingles are much more difficult to detect and must be diagnosed by a specialist medical practitioner for prevention, treatment and cure.

There are often no external signs or symptoms for internal Shingles. Rather the symptoms present inside the body. 

What Causes Internal Shingles?

Varicella zoster virus, which is the chickenpox causing bacteria is the same virus that causes shingles.

After suffering from chickenpox, the virus could settle in some body tissues and nerves, and after some years, the virus can react and manifest itself as shingles.

In most cases, it appears on the skin along the nerve path where it was harbored.

And if the reactivation is severe, the virus could affect the internal organs, resulting in internal or systemic shingles.

Symptoms of internal Shingles may include:

  • Abdominal pain and diarrhea.
  • Photophobia or a sensitivity to light may also be present.
  • Extreme headaches that do not dissipate easily.
  • Flu-like symptoms such as aches and pains in the joints and muscles are common but present without the fever that is normally associated with the influenza virus although chills may be present.
  • Swelling or inflammation of the Lymph nodes.
    These nodes are located in the neck, under the arms and in the groin and form part of the body's defense system.
    The swelling is a reaction to the internal infection and is one of the major diagnostic symptoms of internal Shingles.
    This is however another symptom that could be present during the flu or due to other types of infections in the body.
  • Encephalitis which is the swelling of the brain is another significant symptom of internal Shingles.This is a very serious symptom and could be fatal and immediate treatment should be sought.It can be difficult to diagnose encephalitis as the symptom is internal but is normally indicated by severe headaches.It can however be difficult to differentiate between a normal headache and one that is a result of the swelling of the brain tissue.This symptom is a direct result of the Shingles attacking the nervous system specifically in the brain resulting in the inflammation and swelling and causing nerve damage as well as the headaches associated with internal Shingles.
  • Painful blisters inside the mouth may also signify internal Shingles.
    The pain is exacerbated by eating or drinking making it difficult to consume food and beverages.
    The blisters can be confused with regular oral sores but can also result in depression and other mental or emotional disorders due to the pain and inability to eat.

Besides the above-mentioned symptoms, a majority of symptoms of internal shingles without rash are based on the body system affected, and they can include the brain, liver, eyes, lungs, and the nervous system.

Internal shingles can result in symptoms like cough, fever, persistent pain, headache, and abdominal pain.

When shingles attacks the internal organs, it becomes a serious complication that needs immediate medical attention.

Internal Shingles Treatment

Although the symptoms of external Shingles can be uncomfortable and unsightly, they are not life-threatening. On the other hand, the symptoms of internal can be fatal due to the effect on the inside of the body, especially the nerves. It is therefore important to get treated for internal Shingles as soon as possible.

Common Treatments Include:

Prescription Medication

Pain medication may be prescribed to alleviate the discomfort.

Oral prescription medications that treat the symptoms and cause of internal shingles are the most common treatment.

More often than not, these medications are steroidal in nature.

However, some form of antidepressant may also be prescribed by a doctor to counteract the emotional symptoms that are associated with the disease.


If internal Shingles do present in a rash, a topical ointment or lotion can be used directly on the area to keep the blisters moist and minimize discomfort.

Shingles Diet

Foods to Avoid:

  • Foods with Arginine
  • Processed Foods
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Alcohol and Caffeine
  • Gelatin

Foods to Add:

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    Fruits and Vegetables
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    Fish and Fowl
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    Whole Grains

What You Should Know About Internal Shingles Without Rash

Singles, a common and painful infection that causes rashes and blisters on the skin could also be an internal problem when it attacks the nerves.

When it does not affect the skin, it is known as internal shingles without rash and it has unique symptoms that could also involve different body systems.

What Could Increase Your Chances of Suffering From Shingles?

Most of the risk factors of internal shingles are similar to those shingles on the skin, and they include:

  • A weak immune system. Ailments and conditions like organ transplants, HIV/AIDS and different autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or lupus could increase your risk of suffering from internal shingles.
  • Cancer treatment. Cancer, besides chemotherapy and radiation, weakens the immune system and it consequently makes one susceptible to internal shingles.
  • Old age. While shingles could occur in people at any stage in their life, it is more common in the elderly. In fact, more than half of the reported cases are usually among people who are older than 60 years.
  • Taking particular medications. Drugs that treat an autoimmune disease or that reduce your chances of rejecting organ transplant could increase your chances of suffering from shingles since they work by suppressing the immune system. The extended use of steroids could also make you susceptible to shingles.

Complications of Internal Shingles

Eye Complications

More than 20 percent of all internal shingles cases tend to affect the facial nerves, including the eyes.

When internal shingles occurs, the infection could result in injury of the cornea in addition to an inflammation in or around the eye. 

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

This syndrome occurs when the shingles-causing virus reactivates within one of the nerves responsible for hearing.

This could result in general facial pain, facial paralysis, and hearing loss. It could also cause severe pain in the ears.

A great treatment is to apply a disinfected cloth that has been soaked in cold milk to the affected area.

This will help heal the rash and reduce the discomfort. It is important to note that pain and discomfort may still be present after the rash has disappeared.

This is due to the internal Shingles attacking the nerve endings.

 Capsaicin has been found to be effective in alleviating this pain and discomfort.
- Anti-viral drugs may also be prescribed to reduce the effect of the virus on the system.

Internal Shingles Remedy

internal shingles cure

Consulting a medical doctor for diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible is absolutely essential.

If the virus is not cured within 48 hours, it will spread faster and become more dangerous to your general health and could be fatal.

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