Shingles is a painful condition that usually causes blisters and a rash to form on the skin. However, sometimes shingles can invade the nerves inside the body and cause other symptoms. Some of the signs and symptoms of internal shingles can be severe and cause serious complications that can be life-threatening at times.
Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)
The Mayo Clinic reports that PHN is a common complication of shingles. It occurs when the nerve fibers are damaged from an outbreak of shingles. Since the nerve fibers are damaged, they cannot relate information as they once could. This condition can cause the person to experience pain for months or years after the shingles lesions on the outside of the body have healed. The pain can be severe for many people and require treatment by a physician. It can also cause a sensitivity to touch, itching and numbness as well as headaches.
With the Hutchinson's sign, internal shingles is caused when it invades the nerve in the eye. This type of infection causes shingles to appear on the end of the person's nose. This type of internal shingles can cause symptoms such as swelling of the eye, vision changes or even temporary blindness. Therefore, if you see shingles develop on the end of your nose, you should immediately go to an ophthalmologist for treatment.
Ramsey Hunt Sign
Shingles can form on the face and neck and around the ear and mouth. However, the Ramsey Hunt sign occurs when the shingles virus invades the facial nerve. This condition can cause severe pain in the ear. It can also cause hearing loss, dizziness and facial paralysis and pain in the facial area. This condition is usually temporary, but a person who has noticed shingles anywhere around his face should seek medical assistance so that he can be treated to prevent this form of internal shingles.
Some illness and treatment such as HIV or chemotherapy treatment for cancer can cause a weakened immune system. If this occurs, the shingles virus can invade the body and affect the lungs, central nervous system and brain. It can then cause pneumonia, headaches, dizziness, breathing difficulties, confusion and even unconsciousness. It can cause a potentially deadly complication for the sufferer. People with weakened immune systems who have shingles should get immediate medical attention to prevent this from occurring.