Symptoms of Shingles in Women
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is painful blistering of the skin, caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. This virus is called varicella-zoster virus.
Causes of shingles
Once you get chickenpox during childhood, it is understood that you will never get it as an adult. However, the virus that caused chickenpox can resurface again and cause shingles. This virus is very contagious and it has been observed that 20 percent of people do contract shingles.
Risk factors for shingles
Shingles can develop at any age but the risk is more in the following cases:
1. You had chicken pox before the age of 1
2. You are older than 60
3. You have been taking medications or have been affected by a disease, both of which may have weakened your immune system
If an adult or a child gets into direct contact with a person who has shingles, and has not had chicken pox, he or she can get chicken pox and not shingles. Men and women are equally affected by shingles
Symptoms of shingles in women
The symptoms of shingles in women are the same as in others:
1. Burning pain: There may be tingling, burn pain and inflammation on one side of the body This is usually the first symptom of shingles. This is the prodromal stage which is seen three-four days before the appearance of rash.
2. Rash: Shingles can break out in the form of rashes or red patches on the skin. The rash can then become little blisters which break out to form ulcers. There is a pattern in which the rash moves; it goes from the back or spinal area to the chest or stomach. This is the eruptive stage of shingles.
3. Vision problems: Women with shingles may find that their vision is affected, there is a loss of eye coordination and the eyelids tend to droop.
4. Shingles on face: There can be pain, rash and weakness in the facial muscle due to the nerve roots of the face being affected.
5. Fever: Fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, loss of hearing, losing sense of taste difficulty in urination and diarrhea are also evident as symptoms of shingles in women.
Diagnosis of shingles
Your doctor may identify shingles by the characteristic symptoms. He may also ask you if you’ve had chicken pox before.
Shingles treatment in women
• To fight the virus, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antiviral medicine. This drug can help alleviate the pain and reduce the symptoms. Some of the antiviral medications that are prescribed include famciclovir, acyclovir, valacyclovir. The medications should ideally be taken before the stage of blister formation; it is recommended that the patient begins to meet the doctor within 24 hours of burning and feeling pain in one side of the body.
• Corticosteroids, powerful anti-inflammatory medicines like prednisone are give to treat swelling and continual pain. However, doctors prescribe corticosteroids on a case to case basis.
• Pain medication, antihistamines(given orally or topically) to relieve the itch and capsaicin cream can treat postherpetic neuralgia, a condition in which shingles last for months or even years. Postherpetic neuralgia happens due to nerve damage due to shingles; this is seen in people above 60 years of age.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen , ketoprofen and naproxen can also relieve pain. However you should check with the doctor before taking any medication. Pregnant women should not take NSAIDs in the latter months of their pregnancy.
• Cool wet compress can also reduce bath. Colloidal oatmeal bath, calamine lotion, starch baths can also relieve discomfort and keep the skin smooth and hydrated.
Shingles in pregnant women
Shingles during pregnancy can be unnerving but fortunately, the chances of this are rare and even if it does happen, it can be treated comprehensively.
Since the risk of shingles in pregnant women are not much, it is not much to worry about. But if you do get symptoms, do let the doctor know at the earliest so that you can benefit from timely treatment for you and the baby.. If you are planning to become pregnant and worry about shingles, you can talk to the doctor about taking shingles vaccine.
Pictures of shingles
Here are shingles rash pictures in women on face, legs, arms etc