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What causes pain in stomach when suffering from shingles?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 15596 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 6 Aug 2014 in General Health
Question: I have had shingles in the past. I hear that they may go into your body and cause nerve pain. I get up in the morning with excruciating pain in my stomach and abdomen that travels around to my back, and sometimes this pain last through the day and no amount of pain medicine relieve the pain. No doctors has been able to pinpoint this condition. My quality of life is poor I sit on the couch and try to get over the pain but it doesn't happen this is an everyday thing.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
may be post herpetic neuralgia

Detailed Answer:
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

Shingles refers to a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus (chicken pox virus).

It often occurs decades after the person had chicken pox and is due to the presence of the virus within certain nerves in the body.

After an attack of shingles , pain can persist or recur in the areas of the skin that were affected by shingles. This is called post herpetic neuralgia.

If the area that you are describing (the skin around your stomach and towards your back) are the areas where the shingles rash occurred, then it is possible that the pain is post herpetic neuralgia.

This pain can be quite severe in some persons and difficult to treat.

There are different types of medications that may be used to help you. Some of the drug families are anti seizure meds, anti depressants (anti seizure meds and anti depressants have been found to be quite useful in also treating nerve related pain).

Other meds used are pain killers,steroids and anti viral medications.

One medical study found that combining the use of gabapentin (an anti seizure med) and nortriptyline (an antidepressant), worked well for some.

There are other options as well if these medications are not effective or cause any discomfort.

Summary: (1)pain can occur after shingles rash- called post herpetic neuralgia
(2)number of different medications that may be able to help you though difficult to treat in some.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 21 hours later
this is my Mom who is suffering like this. She gets up in the morning and is an excruciating pain. So is there any test to determine if this is post herpetic neuralgia she has been on gabapentin it seem to be of no help I am at wits end. I am grieved to see her in this position daily. Also is there a charge for every response and reply?
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 28 minutes later
Brief Answer:
it is understandable to hate to see her in pain

Detailed Answer:
HI,

There is no specific test to determine if the symptoms are related to post herpetic neuragia unfortunately. There are some blood tests,imaging and biopsies but they are not commonly done.
Diagnosis is based mainly on history of signs and symptoms, previous history and examination of shingles rash.

It is a very difficult condition to treat. Many person do not have a good response to medication.
As mentioned, some persons have a better response when combination treatment is used so this may be an option.

In terms of payment, I am afraid I am not sure, I believe that the main question and some follow ups are allowed for the same payment but if you check on the terms and conditions or contact customer service, they may be able to clarify that for you.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 8 hours later
Thank you so much.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 16 minutes later
Brief Answer:
no problem

Detailed Answer:
feel free to contact any time with any other queries

God bless
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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