3 Possible Complications of an Internal Shingles Infection

internal shingles infection

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus that attacks the nervous system. It usually exhibits in skin blisters or rashes. But, sometimes it can spread internally without a rash.

This article will take you through the common complications of an internal shingles infection.

1. Ramsey Hunt Syndrome

This particular type of shingles infection affects the areas within or near the ear. If you are experiencing dizziness, earache, hearing or balance problems, you may have Ramsey Hunt syndrome. In some severe cases it can lead to paralysis of the face.

However, you should not worry too much since 75% of affected people make a full recovery. After three days of antiviral therapy you will be on the mend.

2. Postherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a condition that occurs after other symptoms have cleared. You may experience itching or pain in the areas of the rash. About 10 – 15% of patients experience this complication.

The symptoms of PHN can be very persistent. You may experience them for months, or years in more severe cases. Unfortunately, PHN can affect your daily life, resulting in weight loss, insomnia, anxiety, and/or depression.

3. Ophthalmic Shingles

If shingles developed on your face, there is a risk of them spreading internally to your eye. There are a number of complications that may occur:

  • Scarring of the cornea
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Impaired vision
  • Pressure in the eye or glaucoma

You have to bear in mind that this is quite a serious condition. If you develop shingles on your face, you should immediately seek medical treatment to avoid any complications.


A great number of people develop shingles infection at least once in their lifetime. However, you should not wait till the first symptoms occur. It is advisable to visit your physician for treatment as soon as possible to avoid the development of an internal shingles infection and its complications.