Shingles may develop anywhere in the body, including your genitals and buttocks. A burning rash may appear on one side only. Prompt treatment may reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection characterized by a blistering rash that may cause mild to severe pain and itchiness for about 5 weeks. Only people who’ve had chickenpox can develop shingles.

The shingles rash most often occurs on one side of the torso and buttocks. It may also appear on other parts of your body, including the legs, arms, or face.

Shingles symptoms can be distinctive and, although rare, don’t always involve a rash.

Symptoms of shingles may appear anywhere on the body, following the nerve path the shingles virus is traveling. If the virus reactivates along the nerve that supplies sensations to your hips, genitals, and buttocks, you may get a rash somewhere in these areas.

Whether shingles rashes first appear on your torso, buttocks, or another location, the early signs of shingles typically involve otherwise unexplained physical sensations, including:

  • burning pain
  • sensitivity to light touch
  • itching
  • numbness
  • pins and needles

You may check your skin and not see any changes yet. That’s because these signs usually appear in the affected area before a rash becomes evident. The rash typically develops 1–5 days after the first symptoms.

Other early shingles signs may also include flu-like symptoms like fatigue, chills, and headaches.

Some people see their shingles pain peak as a rash becomes evident. For some people, the pain from shingles can be severe.

A shingles rash will follow a belt-like shape and stay on one side of your buttocks only. It may extend toward the side and front of the body and look like:

  • red skin if you have light skin, or brown, discolored, or grayish skin if you have dark skin
  • a cluster of tiny fluid-filled blisters that may ooze and bleed
  • raised bumps on the rash site

You may notice the blisters on your buttock ooze and bleed at first and then start to crust over and form scabs.

While the rash is active, shingles is highly contagious to anyone who comes in direct contact with it. How long shingles lasts may depend on many factors, but typically, the rash takes up to 5 weeks to heal.

You may still experience some itching after the rash resolves, and some people may have long-term pain (postherpetic neuralgia) due to nerve damage.

Although there’s no cure for it, treating shingles as early as possible can accelerate your recovery and decrease your chances of complications.

Your healthcare professional may recommend prescription antiviral medications, such as:

If shingles on the buttocks causes severe pain, they may also prescribe:

It is possible to get shingles more than once, particularly if your immune system is compromised.

You can learn more about shingles recurrence here.

In addition to medical shingles treatment, self-care may help lessen the itch or pain of shingles in the buttock. You may want to consider:

The main way to reduce the chance of shingles is the Shingrix vaccine, which is administered in 2 doses.

You may want to ask a healthcare professional if you’re eligible for the vaccine, which is usually indicated for those age 50 years and older. However, some people under this age who have weak immune systems may also get the vaccine.

The vaccine is recommended even if you:

  • have already had shingles
  • have already received another shingles vaccine
  • don’t remember whether you had chickenpox

Boosting your immune system may also lower the chance of getting shingles.

The rash and blisters of shingles may appear anywhere on your body, including your buttocks. That happens when the varicella-zoster virus, the same one that causes chickenpox, reactivates.

Early symptoms of shingles include localized pain and itching, sensitivity to touch, and numbing. A blistering rash that stays on one side of the body is also typical of shingles. Prompt treatment can help speed the healing process and lower your risk for complications.