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How is shingles related to postherpetic neuralgia?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Post-herpetic neuralgia is a potentially serious complication of shingles. Shingles is a virus that causes pain, itching, skin blisters, and other unpleasant symptoms. For many people who develop shingles, these symptoms fade away after a few weeks. However, some shingles sufferers have persistent pain and itching that last for weeks, months, and even years after their blisters clear up. Doctors use the term post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) to describe this long-term complication of shingles. People with PHN often develop depression, insomnia, and other serious health problems.

Talk with your doctor about PHN and how to manage it.     

Postherpetic neuralgia is a condition that causes chronic pain, and it may develop as a complication of shingles. Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused when the dormant varicella-zoster virus reactivates and travels through the nerves to the skin. In some people - usually older adults - the virus causes permanent nerve damage that causes chronic pain, even after shingles has healed. For most people, the pain goes away after a few months, but it may last for years. If you're experiencing the painful symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia, talk to your doctor about finding pain medication that may help reduce the symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.