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Shingles

My grandmother who is in her early eighties just got diagnosed with shingles. Her doctor put her on medication to treat it, but now she has not had a bowel movement in a week. I don't know if its from the medicine ?? Does anyone know how to treat shingles and now constipation naturally? I spoke with her on the phone this morning and they have now added another medicine to help with this. She was talking a lot and really fast, she did not sound like her normal self. Any help would be appreciated!

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  • Shingles is a very very painful thing (or I've heard). She is probably on a form of Valtrex-- I just looked it up and constipation does not seem to be on the list of side effects, although everyone responds differently. She is probably on significant pain killers-- which could be the culprit of the constipation. I would make her a prune smoothie with lost of water and have her drink it-- every day

    Not that I am condoning "illegal drugs" but I have read that elderly folks with shingles can get pain relief from marajuana-- not sure if your grandma would be up for that though.

    I hope it goes away soon! And be sure to tell her not to touch her eyes-- the sores are contagious and can cause blindness if the virus gets into the eye.

    poor grandma-- my grandpa had that once, and it was so horrible =(

  • p.s. I am in the health field-- and know that herpes/shingles is a difficult virus-- I am all for natural remedies but I do not think that there are real alternative anti-virus remedies-- especially since, untreated, shingles can lead to a chronic pain condition, and blindless-- I'd definitely stick with the medication.

  • thanks for input..I am so ready for it to clear up so she can get some relief!!

  • From first hand experience, I can attest to the painful nature of shingles. I had them on my scalp. The pain, which for me came as a sharp, stabbing sensation, with almost rhythmical regularity (about every 5 to 10 seconds), was literally knee-buckling. I went from the ER (after office hours on day 1) to the doctor (day 2) with no diagnosis or relief. Both said it was stress, etc. and recommended rest. There were only 3 very small red spots at the time, and no one considered them significant. On day 3 I tried a second doctor who came highly recommended by the school nurse. Both he and his nurse recognized the symptoms based on my description of the pain. According to him, shingles "travels" on a nerve, which helps explain the extreme discomfort.

    I don't remember what med he prescribed. It did offer relief, for which I will always be grateful. He wrote the prescription with one refill and recommended that I go ahead and have the second round of meds on hand in case they returned while I was traveling. They didn't come back, but I did get the refill, and have no regrets that I spent money for something I did not need. The peace of mind in just having them immediately available was worth the expenditure.

    I recall my father having shingles many years ago and my mother thinking he was acting like a big baby. I wish I could take back those years and undo what I am sure must have been a very frustrating time for him. Shingles can be VERY painful. I wish your grandmother a speedy recovery.

  • thank you very much! I am thankful for the medicine, but hate that she has to take so much!! thanks again to all of you!!

  • I had shingles a couple years ago. When I told the urgent care nurse that I thought it might be shingles (my bf had had them several years before and knew the symptoms) she said that that was an "old person's disease." The doc came in and told me I was right. They just gave me pain killers for it and I was EXTREMELY grateful because the pains I was getting (that traveled from my spine) made me feel like I was being electrocuted every couple of minutes (if I was lucky). At the time we tried some alternative treatments (using a common laser pointer on the spots that hurt) but I was so sensitive that it made the pain worse. I think I tried a homeopathic remedy as well (I'll have to try to remember what it was later) but nothing did as well as the vicodine. It didn't happen to me but pain killers have definitely been known to cause constipation. I hope your Grandmum feels better very soon! One of the horrible things about this particular disease is that it can linger in your system for quite a long time. It took months before the pain officially stopped bothering me and years later I still occasionally feel an uncomfortable residual tingling in the area of my spine that it most affected. Hopefully your Grandmum will have a speedy recovery with no lingering effects! It may sound a little weird but if she's able to go without any kind of clothing on the shingles areas that will help with the pain a little (also keeping that area of skin cooler).

  • I was diagnosed with shingles 4 weeks ago and after reading all the threads relating to it, I decided to cave and take the medications prescribed (an antifungal, prednisone and vicodin) not that any of it has really helped. My question for everyone is, would a juice fast/cleanse be a good idea to get the meds out of my system, and if so, what specific fruits & veges, or is there a better detox method I should consider. I have been high raw for 8 years. I am still suffering considerably, this is a most painful condition! Any other ideas or suggestions will be extremely appreciated. I am taking L-lysine and mega doses of vitC, both are supposed to help, and I'm using apple cider vinegar to soothe my skin, not sure they're really helping but at least they can't be as bad as prescriptions.

  • My doctor prescribed Valtrex and daily vitamin b12 shots. It was over very quickly, and the Valtrex worked well.

    Load up on anything with b12 (sublingual supplement, leafy greens, sea vegetables).

    Valtrex struck me as odd and I couldn't place it - it's a herpes medication :) Shingles is in the same family and it seems to knock it right out. My mom got them at the same time and also went on the medication - and we were both glad to avoid the full blown symptoms.

  • Thanks for the info. I will definitely load up on the b12 and will ask my doctor about Valtrex. Not looking forward to more meds but am desparate at this point - I seem to have already reached the full blown stage, am now just hoping that I don't suffer indefinitely like some of the horror stories I have heard. Am curious though about the benefits of a fast/cleanse?

  • Shingles is also known as herpes zoster, and originates from the same virus as chicken pox. Once someone has had chicken pox, the virus can lay dormant in their body for years. If the immune system becomes weakened and a person's health is compromised (for any variety of reasons - stress, disease, poor diet, etc), the shingles may come out. Shingles influence one's nerves to send out false neurological signals of pain - hence the sometimes excruciating pain. In other words, shingles often causes extreme pain just for pain's sake - no underlying physiological condition is causing the pain. My husband had them a few years ago, though not a very bad bout. He was in a lot of pain but fortunately it cleared up quickly for him, without medication.

    Many shingles/herpes medications work to further suppress the immune system, with the intent to simply address symptoms while sending the shingles virus back into hiding. Unfortunately, this rarely works, and then the body is working even harder to rebalance its state of health. Giving your body the raw materials it needs to fortify immunity and allow natural healing to occur is just as important with shingles as it is with cancer and any other disease condition.

    A juice fast/cleanse may be a good idea to address the medication and its side effects. Since immunity plays a very big role in shingles, staying healthy on the inside and out is important for avoiding outbreaks. Fresh, organic juices and smoothies provide vitamins and minerals very quickly and efficiently to the body and its many cells, so that may speed up recovery also.

    Eating a variety of raw, organic, brightly coloured, seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with adequate essential fatty acids from flax and hemp seeds/oil, and LOTS of water is the best way to ensure that your body is receiving what it needs to heal itself. Immune supportive foods (those containing vitamins A, C, E, and the minerals selenium and zinc) are most important to include during an outbreak of shingles, or while healing from an outbreak. Liver cleansing foods such as parsley, beets, broccoli, cabbage, greens, garlic and onions can be very helpful in supporting the liver to detoxify itself from medications. B vitamins are also very important for nerve health. There are many herbs and homeopathic remedies that are recommended for shingles, but as I am neither a homeopathic practitioner nor a herbalist, I hesitate to give recommendations to someone I don't know.

    And don't forget rest, which is always important but even more so during a healing crisis. The body is a miraculous self-healing entity - when we respect the laws of nature and keep medical intervention to a minimum, we truly can heal from anything.

    Good luck!

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