A shingles rash can appear on a person’s buttocks, though it is a less common location compared to the trunk. Doctors may recommend antiviral medication for shingles on the buttocks.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, occurs when the varicella-zoster virus activates after lying dormant in a person’s body. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Only people who have had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine at some point can develop shingles.

A blistering, painful rash characterizes the infection. The rash can appear anywhere on the body, which can include the buttocks.

Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of shingles on the buttocks. This article also discusses how doctors diagnose the condition before exploring treatment options.

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Shingles most often appears on only one side of the body. It can also appear in other areas, such as the buttocks.

If a person has a weakened immune system, the rash may be more widespread and affect larger areas of the body.

Symptoms of shingles often occur in stages. A person may initially notice some symptoms in the area before a red or purple rash appears, such as:

  • tingling
  • itchiness
  • pain

Around 1–5 days later, a rash may develop in the area.

The first stage of rash is usually an inflamed area of skin. The rash will then develop fluid-filled blisters.

In about 7–10 days after the rash has started, a person’s blisters will start to break open and crust over.

About 2 weeks after the blisters crust over, they will fully heal and go away.

Unless a person is immunocompromised, the rash should only appear on one side of the buttocks.

Other symptoms of shingles that someone may develop include:

  • stomach upset
  • chills
  • headaches

Learn more about the symptoms of shingles.

Shingles occurs because the dormant varicella-zoster virus becomes active again. This can happen if a person has previously had chickenpox or if they received the chickenpox vaccine.

An adult or child who has never had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine can get chickenpox from someone who has an active varicella-zoster virus infection. They may then develop shingles later in life.

When the shingles virus activates, it can occur anywhere on the body, including the buttocks. It often occurs in small patches on one side of the body.

The risk of shingles increases with age. About 50% of all cases occur in adults aged 60 years or over. A person’s risk increases significantly after the age of 70 years,

People with a weakened immune system also have a higher risk of developing shingles.

Doctors can often diagnose shingles on the buttocks with a visual examination. They may also ask about a person’s other symptoms, such as pain, which could indicate the rash is due to shingles.

If they cannot determine if the rash on the skin is shingles, a dermatologist can remove some of the fluid from a blister and send the sample to a lab for analysis.

A combination of medical treatments and home remedies can help a person manage shingles on the buttocks.

Medical treatments

Treatment for shingles often involves the use of antiviral medication. The typical antiviral medications dermatologists prescribe include:

  • acyclovir
  • famciclovir
  • valacyclovir

These medications can:

  • decrease rash severity
  • reduce the time the rash lasts
  • lower the risk of developing long-term nerve pain, or postherpetic neuralgia, which can sometimes occur

It is best for a person to consult a dermatologist within the first 3 days of developing a shingles rash. This allows them to prescribe medication that can help reduce the duration and severity of the rash and help prevent postherpetic neuralgia.

In addition to antiviral medication, a doctor may recommend additional therapies, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain or corticosteroids for inflammation.

Home remedies

A person can also take steps to feel better at home. Some tips for symptom relief include:

  • wearing loose-fitting clothing
  • taking oatmeal baths
  • applying a cool pack to the area
  • finding distractions to take the mind off of the pain
  • getting plenty of sleep every day
  • taking steps to avoid or manage stress
  • taking short walks or engaging in other low-stress exercises
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet

A person’s doctor can provide more advice on ways to find relief from symptoms of shingles.

Learn more about recovering from shingles.

A person can take steps to prevent shingles, including getting the shingles vaccination after the age of 50 years and avoiding those with an active shingles infection.

Most people will only develop shingles once, but it is possible to develop the infection again. Taking steps to prevent shingles can help reduce this risk.

A shingles rash can develop on the buttocks. Before the rash appears, a person may experience symptoms such as tingling and pain. A rash may then appear in the area before the development of fluid-filled blisters.

Shingles can occur in anyone with a chickenpox infection or chickenpox vaccine. People with a weakened immune system or older age have a higher risk of developing the condition.

Early diagnosis can help a person get treatment sooner, which may shorten the duration of the rash and reduce the risk of complications such as postherpetic neuralgia. A doctor may recommend antiviral medication and home remedies.

A person can also get a shingles vaccination to help prevent the recurrence or development of the condition.