The nervous system delivers messages to and from the brain. Shingles can damage a nerve such that necessary signals are not processed correctly. Depending on where this nerve damage occurs, a bout with shingles can lead to neurogenic bowel.
There are two types of neurogenic bowel: reflexic and areflexic. In reflexic bowel, you may not be aware of the need to have a bowel movement and bowel leakage / accidents may occur as a result. In areflexic bowel, the bowel doesn't contract and thus the stools don't move through the bowels, resulting in chronic constipation.
Persons experiencing shingles in the lower part of their back are more likely to experience areflexic bowel. Those experiencing shingles in the upper part of their back or the neck region are more likely to experience reflexic bowel.
Symptoms of neurogenic bowel as a result of shingles include:
- Constipation / lack of bowel movements
- Distended abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Bowel leakage / accidents
- Numbness alongside the shingles pain
See also: Neurogenic Bladder