It might sound like a funny thing to write about, but shingles on your buttocks is no joke. And while it's hard not to be cheeky when discussing such a sensitive subject, shingles can be a painful and embarrassing experience. Especially when they rear on your rear.
If you're like most people, the phrase "butt shingles" probably conjures up an image of a roofer taking a break. But while roofing shingles are designed to protect your home from the elements, butt shingles are a whole different animal.
Butt shingles are a type of skin rash that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus - the same virus that causes chickenpox. The rash usually appears as a cluster of small blisters on one side of the buttocks, but it can also occur on the thighs, leg, lower back, or even the groin and genital area. The blisters typically last for two to three weeks and then heal.
However, for some people the outbreaks of butt shingles recur, which can be painful and frustrating.
You may not have heard of many cases of shingles on buttocks, but it's more common than you might think. So let's take a closer look at this condition and learn the facts so you can put this uncomfortable condition behind you, behind you.
In this article, we're going to discuss what shingles are, its symptoms, how it's treated, and how you can avoid getting shingles in the worst place in the first place - all without having to blush!
The Basics of Shingles
As mentioned above, shingles is an itchy, painful skin rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles is often confused for the herpes simplex virus (HSV) because they share the same virus family and can cause a similar-looking rash.
However, while herpes is usually spread through skin-to-skin contact, and can be transmitted even when there is no rash present, shingles is not contagious - and you may only pass it on to someone who has never had chickenpox or did not get the chickenpox vaccine.
Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, and is a skin condition that evolves over the course of the infection, manifesting different symptoms in various stages, often on one side of your body.
The first stage is a red rash that appears as a cluster of blisters on the skin that can be itchy and painful to the touch. As the infection progresses, these blisters fill with fluid and eventually break open and crust over. The shingles may last for several weeks and cause a burning sensation in the affected area.
Other symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and sensitivity to light. People with shingles may also experience itching or tingling in the affected area before the blisters appear. In some cases, shingles can cause permanent nerve damage and vision loss on the same side of the body as the infection.
Though shingles can appear over any part of the body, shingles symptoms are often on only one side of the body, face, torso and buttocks. The symptoms of shingles on the buttocks can vary, but they often include itching, burning, tingling, pain; and a red rash or blisters may also appear. Some people may also experience fever, chills and headaches.
Treatment for shingles typically involves antiviral medications that help to reduce the duration and severity of the infection the virus causes.
Pain relievers or corticosteroids may also be prescribed to help relieve symptoms, though these carry the risk of serious side effects if overused.
It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after developing shingles so that early treatment can begin promptly. Seeking treatment as soon as you have shingles diagnosed can accelerate your recovery and decrease your chances of a very severe case.
Luckily, there is a shingles vaccine, known as Shingrix, that can help reduce the risk for shingles developing in the first place. The vaccine is recommended for older adults starting at 50 years of age. There are some additional restrictions on who should receive it. Speak to your doctor to see if the vaccine Shingrix is right for you.
Symptoms of Shingles on Buttocks
All people who get shingles, regardless of location on the body, can share similar symptoms which include:
Itching of the affected area.
Itching is usually the first symptom to appear.
Though shingles can produce a mild itchy feeling all over, shingles on the buttocks may be more localized and intense, affecting only one cheek. There is also the obvious potential embarrassment factor of the location of the itch, which makes treating shingles on the buttocks even more uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Some methods that may help include over-the-counter antihistamines or cool compresses applied directly to the skin. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe topical steroids or antiviral medications to reduce the itching and pain associated with shingles.
However, topical steroids like hydrocortisone cream are not the only, nor most effective option. Corticosteroids often take a very long time to become effective. Compounded with the fact that extended use of topical steroids can result in serious skin conditions and even addiction and withdrawal, it is important to consider alternatives.
One such alternative is Dermeleve®, a powerful treatment developed to relieve itching and pain, such as that associated with shingles. Free of corticosteroids, it is designed to be safe and effective, without the risks associated with steroids or other harsh medications. Dermeleve® is fast-acting, and starts to work the moment it is applied to the skin. Many patients start to feel relief within minutes, instead of weeks with hydrocortisone.
The burning sensation experienced with shingles can be intense and even debilitating.
It is usually localized at the site of the rash, and in some cases, it can extend beyond the area of the blisters, including the legs in the case of shingles on the butt. In addition to intense pain, this deep burning sensation can cause itching, tingling, or numbness. This type of pain may persist for two to six weeks or even months after any visible signs of a shingles outbreak have cleared up.
A burning sensation in the buttocks region can easily be confused with other conditions. Shingles in this area are often confused with hemorrhoids; as the symptoms and signs of both conditions may be similar. They can both cause itching, burning, and pain in the area. However, it's important to get a correct diagnosis as soon as possible as the treatments for each condition vary greatly.
Tingling is one of the most commonly known symptoms of shingles.
Tingling sensations usually appear in the same spot where the rash will later emerge and can last up to several days prior to the emergence of the rash. This tingling sensation is often uncomfortable or painful, but it's an important indicator for diagnosing shingles in its early stages.
The tingling sensation of shingles can often be accompanied by itching, burning, numbness, or localized pain. This can lead to an uncomfortable or even unbearable feeling in the area where the rash will eventually appear. It's important to seek medical attention as soon as you experience these warning signs, as treatment is most effective when done early on in the infection process.
Shingles can be incredibly painful, especially on sensitive areas like the buttocks.
The pain of shingles can cause a burning and/or stabbing sensation deep in the skin. The pain may range from minor irritation to a deep ache that can be felt for hours, or even days after the rash appears. Some people also experience a feeling of tenderness in the affected area, as well as an increased sensitivity to touch. In more severe cases, some individuals may experience a sensation of numbness or tingling around the area that is painful due to nerve damage caused by the virus.
Shingles is an incredibly uncomfortable condition, with the associated itching and pain often making it difficult to endure. In some cases, a person may experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, or fatigue in conjunction with the rash and other symptoms of shingles. Other complications such as pneumonia or encephalitis are also possible if the infection spreads to other areas of the body. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if the symptoms worsen or do not go away within a few weeks.
Red rash and blisters
The shingles rash typically presents as a red strip or patch of bumps on one side of the torso, face or body. The rash can be accompanied by a sharp pain like an electrical shock or sting.
The red rash may be preceded by a burning or tingling sensation and is typically found in a band-like pattern that wraps around one side of the torso or face. The rash will eventually develop into blisters filled with fluid which can be quite painful to touch. Over time, these blisters may burst and scab over, leading to an itchy healing period which can take up to several weeks.
Eventually, the scabs will heal and the red rash may fade away. However, shingles can cause permanent nerve damage which can manifest as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
PHN is characterized by nerve pain presenting as a burning or stabbing sensation that persists in some people long after the rash is gone. Treatment options are available to help manage the pain associated with PHN and other symptoms of shingles.
It is also important to note that while most cases will resolve on their own without medical treatment, other complications such as pneumonia or encephalitis can arise if the infection spreads to other parts of the body, so it is important to seek medical attention right away if symptoms worsen or do not go away within a few weeks.
What Causes Shingles on the Butt
As previously mentioned, shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella zoster virus. The virus can remain dormant in certain individuals for years after they have been infected.
While it's unknown exactly what causes the virus to reactivate after so long, it's thought that weakened immunity or stress play a part in the outbreaks. Physical trauma is also thought to play a part in shingles outbreaks, as shingles on the buttocks often occurs in people who have recently experienced a fall or other physical trauma, such as surgery.
In addition to these potential causes, it is also believed that hormonal changes due to factors like pregnancy or menopause could cause the virus to become reactivated. In some cases, shingles can even be spread to someone who has never had chickenpox before, through contact with an open sore. For this reason, it is important for those suffering from shingles on their buttocks area to practice good hygiene and avoid direct contact with others until the rash has healed.
Treatment of Shingles on the butt
Treatment for shingles on the buttocks usually involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Antiviral medications may be prescribed to reduce the severity and duration of shingle outbreaks, as well as help minimize the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can also help relieve shingle-related pain, though these should be used only as directed by a doctor.
Often, topical steroids are prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching. However, corticosteroids like hydrocortisone cream can lead to severe side effects if used for an extended period, so patients should talk to their doctor before using these medications.
Dermeleve® is a safe, steroid-free alternative that starts working immediately and lasts a very long time. Designed to soothe itch and pain, Dermeleve® is in an excellent choice for shingle sufferers who want to manage their symptoms without the risk of side effects associated with other treatments.
Wearing loose clothing is also critical in helping recover from skin conditions like shingles. The rash disappears over time, but it’s important to keep the area protected. Tight clothing and fabrics can aggravate the rash and cause a flare-up.
How to prevent shingles on buttocks in the first place
Let's face it; no one wants to get butt shingles. But unfortunately, this painful and itchy rash can strike anyone at any time. The good news is that there are several things you can do to prevent butt shingles from happening in the first place.
Get the vaccine
Perhaps the most obvious way to prevent shingles is to get vaccinated from it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all adults aged 50 or older get the shingles vaccine, regardless of whether they've had chickenpox in the past. Shingrex is the only shingles vaccine available in the United States, and is incredibly effective. It is proven to be up to 97% effective in preventing the condition in those aged 50 to 69 years old, and 91% effective in those 70 years and older.
Boost your immunity
Immunity plays an important role in preventing diseases, whether you have shingles or not.
People with weak immune systems are generally at risk of developing more serious conditions than those with stronger immunity. To help boost your immunity, make sure you get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and eat a balanced diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals. Regular exercise can also help increase strength and endurance while supporting healthy immune function.
Stress can lower your body's defenses and make you more vulnerable to illness, including shingles.
Stress management can also help improve your overall health and well-being.
Some stress management techniques include:
- Breathing exercises: Taking deep breaths and focusing on your breath can help relax your body and mind.
- Exercise: Physical activity helps to reduce stress hormones in the body and can improve mood.
- Meditation: This involves focusing on a single thought or object and allowing yourself to become completely absorbed in it. It can help to clear the mind of worries and anxiety.
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can help you process and release any emotions that are causing you stress.
- Yoga: This practice combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to help reduce stress.
- Talking to someone: Whether it's a friend or a professional counselor, talking about your feelings can help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Making time for yourself: Doing something enjoyable can help take your mind off of stressful situations and provide an outlet to express yourself.
Breaking the Stigma
Despite its prevalence, butt shingles carries a stigma that can prevent individuals from seeking the treatment they need. This stigma can be rooted in fear, embarrassment, or a lack of understanding about the condition.
But the first step to solving any problem is admitting that you have one.
So, if you're suffering from shingles on the buttocks, know that you're not alone and there are solutions out there for you.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and discuss the treatment options available. With the right care, you can manage your butt shingles and get back to living your life.
In the meantime, try Dermeleve® as a safe and effective way to find fast-acting and long-lasting relief from any kind of itch, including shingles.