Can You Get Shingles on Your Buttocks?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Yes, you can get shingles on your buttocks.

The shingles rash most often occurs on the torso and buttocks. It may also appear on other parts of your body, including the legs, arms, or face.

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Shingles (herpes zoster) is characterized by an outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin. It’s a risk for anybody who has had chickenpox.

The varicella-zoster virus causes both shingles and chickenpox. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 1 million cases of shingles in the United States every year.

The symptoms of shingles

Whether shingles first appears on your torso, buttocks, or another location, the first symptom is typically unexplained physical sensations, most often pain.

For some people, the pain can be intense. These sensations usually appear in the area where the rash will develop in one to five days.

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Shingles symptoms initially include:

  • sensation of tingling, numbness, itching, burning, or pain
  • sensitivity to touch

Symptoms a few days after the sensations include:

  • red rash
  • blisters filled with fluid that break open and crust over
  • itching

Other symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • chills
  • light sensitivity
  • upset stomach

The outward symptoms of shingles often affect only one side of your body. In other words, the rash could appear on your left buttock but not your right.

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Some people with shingles only experience pain without developing the rash.

Shingles lasts between two and six weeks.

Treating shingles

Although there’s no cure for shingles, treating it as early as possible can accelerate your recovery and decrease your chances of complications.

Your doctor will most likely recommend prescription antiviral drugs, such as:

  • acyclovir (Zovirax)
  • famciclovir (Famvir)
  • valacyclovir (Valtrex)
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If shingles is causing you extreme pain, your doctor may also prescribe:

  • anticonvulsants, such as gabapentin
  • narcotics, such as codeine
  • numbing agents, such as lidocaine
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline

For most people who get shingles, they only get it once. It is, however, possible to get it two or more times.

Home remedies for shingles

There are steps you can take at home that might lessen some of the itch or pain of shingles, including:

  • analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), if you haven’t been prescribed pain medication
  • calamine lotion
  • colloidal oatmeal baths
  • cool compresses

Who’s at risk for getting shingles?

Your risk for shingles increases as you age. Other people who have a greater risk include:

  • people with health conditions that weaken their immune system, such as HIV, lymphoma, or leukemia
  • people who have been prescribed immunosuppressive drugs, including steroids and drugs used with organ transplant recipients
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Although shingles isn’t common in children, a child is more at risk for shingles if:

  • the child’s mother had chickenpox late in the pregnancy
  • the child had chickenpox before 1 years old

The shingles vaccine

In late 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, to replace the previous vaccine, Zostavax.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Shingrix is safe and recommended over Zostavax.

Check with your doctor before getting the vaccine. Typically they’ll recommend you get Shingrix even if you:

  • have already had shingles
  • have already received Zostavax
  • don’t remember whether or not you had chickenpox
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Shingrix isn’t recommended if you have a weakened immune system, fever, or illness.

Takeaway

The rash and blisters of shingles can appear anywhere on your body, including one or both buttocks.

If you develop shingles, see your doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment can help speed the healing process and lower your risk for complications.

Talk to your doctor about the shingles vaccine Shingrix. If the vaccine is a viable option for you, you might avoid experiencing shingles altogether.

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