STDs Expert Forum
Vaginal Shingles
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Vaginal Shingles

Is it possible for a woman to contract shingles and to have it appear only within the vaginal and vulvar area? If so: how likely is it (rare, common)? can it infect her partner?, and how can it be distinguished from genital herpes?
Also, if a woman has genital warts, can they be transmitted to her partner by unprotected sex? Are genital warts dangerous?
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Herpes zoster (shingles) can occur anywhere on the body.  I have never seen a case involving the genital area, but I'm sure it can happen.  If it does, probably it is not transmissible sexually.  That's because most people either had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus, or have been immunized.  Therefore, most people are immune to a new infection.

As to telling shingles from genital herpes, you can read up on genital herpes symptoms, for example at www.ashastd.org or www.metrokc.gov/health/apu/std.  In contrast to the recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes that usually are pretty mild, shingles tends to be more extensive (but still only one side of the body's midline), more painful, and takes longer to clear up (usually 2-4 weeks).  And shingles usually doesn't recur, whereas herpes outbreaks due to HSV-2 typically reappear 3-6 times a year.  If you are having recurrent blister-like lesions or sores of the genital area, almost certainly it is genital herpes, not shingles.

Finally, you are asking the most basic questions about genital warts and HPV infection.  Genital warts are not dangerous, but they are an STD and are easily transmitted to sex partners.  See the same websites I mentioned above to learn more.

Finally, if you have genital sores or bumps of any kind and have not had professional care, go see a health care provider.  Don't try to figure it out by searching online or asking further questions on this or any other forum.  If you don't have a regular provider, your local health department STD clinic would be a good choice; or a family planning clinic like Planned Parenthood.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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