11 answers

Shingles on Breast

I met with my primary physician this morning who promptly got me an appointment with her preferred dermantoligist this afternoon. But while I'm waiting I thought I would ask if anyone has ever had shingles on their breast. Thursday night I noticed that my left breast was quite itchy. I was shocked later that night to find I had a crescent shaped rash on the left side of my left breast. I figured it must be some sort of dermatitist and decided to wait over the weekend. The itching is not as intense but now I have the sensation of my upper arm being swollen and the sensation of something not being quite right on my breast - but don't know how I would describe it. My physician think it looks like shingles but that it is presenting in an odd location and shape. (I am hoping it is Shingles versus something like inflamatory breast cancer - but being that the symptoms seem to be rapidly evolving - I'm guessing shingles.) Any feedback regarding similar situations is greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who provided their input. It is indeed shingles and I guess I am quite fortunate as I am in no pain. I am just experiencing some minor itching and muscle soreness in my arm and breast - like I received the flu vacine. I have been put on anti-viral medication, told it could last several months, it may leave permanent marks - but hey, I'll take that. My doctor did review the whole disease with me (how it can be spread, who to stay away from, etc.)

Because of where it was located I was very concerned. Thanks again to the community.

Featured Answers


My friend just went to the doctor Friday for the exact same thing and she has shingles. It is in the same location and it has spread under her arm and to a small portion of her back. I just had to write back because I couldn't believe that you have the same issue. She was given some pain meds for the aching and itching and some sort of cream.

Good luck to you

More Answers

Hi A.,
I have never had shingles but my husband has. He had them on his side. I'm not trying to scare you here, but he's a pretty tough ex-marine and he said the pain was almost unbearable. Said it felt like shotgun blast. He was prescribed medicine, but was still in a great deal of pain until it really got working. The pharmacist suggested applying Maalox to the skin area to soothe it and we tried it and it did bring some relief. Just thought I'd pass that tip on to you in case it IS shingles and the pain increases over the next few days. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!

I had Shingles on my upper right leg (strange spot too) and it really wasn't that bad at all. In the beginning clothes touching my skin there was really irritating. I had a rash that looked like a band and it felt numb and burned at the same time. I'm a medical professional so I knew what it was right away, went to the doctor and started taking medication right away so maybe that why my case wasn't so bad. It took a couple of weeks before the sensory symptoms subsided and maybe 6 weeks before the rash was completely gone.

If it turns out to be shingles, try taking Lysine. It's an amino acid (a form of protein) that you can get at any pharmacy or grocery store. Try 60 mg orally 3x/day. Lysine helps your body fight viruses (shingles is caused by the virus that causes chicken pox). I've had several patients try it over the years with great results. Should reduce how long it takes for it heal, in come cases it heals in half the time. No drug interactions, so it will be safe to take with whatever the dermatologist prescribes.

Hi A.-
I hope for your sake it is NOT shingles. When I had them 5 years ago (age 33)the pain was unbearable. I only had 1 breakout, about the size of a silver dollar, on my right breast. However the pain was on the whole right side of my body. I couldn't wear a bra, raise my arm, or do much with my right hand. I took more pain medication for shingles than I did for childbirth.
You are contagious to someone who hasn't had chicken pox, but you can't "give" shingles to someone who has. Remember even if a child has had the chicken pox vaccine they can still get them but it would be a milder case.
Best of luck to you.

I agree with the post below me. I had always heard that shingles are extremely painful. I would guess you have something else...or the pain takes a couple days?


My friend just went to the doctor Friday for the exact same thing and she has shingles. It is in the same location and it has spread under her arm and to a small portion of her back. I just had to write back because I couldn't believe that you have the same issue. She was given some pain meds for the aching and itching and some sort of cream.

Good luck to you

Hi A.,

If it is shingles, it will be on only one side of your body and not cross to both breasts or both sides of your body. shingles tend to appear along nerve lines, that's why. If it is shingles, get some medication right away. Don't wait! I've heard the sooner you start medicine the less painful it can be. Shingles comes from the chicken pox virus, so I assume you've had the chicken pox.

I was at the doctor once with a strange rash and I thought it was shingles but he said it was adult chicken pox! because it was all over my torso and not just on one side. (I had even had chicken pox as a kid) so I got it twice.

good luck with it. I hope it doesn't last too long.

Dear A.,
I had shingles that started on my back right shoulder, wrapped around my torso at the bra line, and came up across the top of my right breast. I had a lot of pain (more so in the back) as well as itching. If it is shingles they will put you on an anti-viral drug. Mine lasted a few months. I was exactly your age, and they say that the severity is less when you get it younger. Be careful not to go around anyone that hasn't had chicken pox (your kids should have had the vaccine) or who has a compromised immune system while the blisters are open. I think you are contagious until they have scabbed over.
Also, do you wear bras from Victoria's Secret? I saw on the news that some of their bras had traces of formaldehyde in them that women were reacting too. Take Care and feel better soon!

I had shingles while I was pregnant a few years ago. I must say that I had it on my back and sides only. It was extremely painful. I was on bedrest at the time and this made things very difficult for me. I could only switch from side to side and when I was in the car for appointments I had to try and sit forward. Not at all comfortable. The medication did work once I started to take it. I wasn't going to because of the pregnancy but after my husband who is a pharmacist and two other pharmacists and the doctor told me it wouldn't harm the baby I gave it. Once I did it was a relief. Hopefully you won't have to go through that with the pain and it is something simple. Good luck.
L. R

I don't know much about it, but I do know that my husband had shingles on his chest/breast. It was when he was like 20 something and before we met, but he did have to have some sort of surgery for it. He's totally fine now. But that's all I know. Sorry to not be more helpful. Good luck at the doctor's and god bless.

I am with the other posts. How does your bra fit? Have you been measured lately? I am really hoping that it is something simple. Thinking of you!

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