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Long-Term Effects to VOICE from Viral Meningitis

I had viral meningitis about 2.5 years ago, when I was 23. My doctor sent me to the hospital, suspecting meningitis based on my symptoms. In the ER, they gave me a lumbar puncture but the doctor couldn''t get the needle in the right spot (ouch!). They sent my mother out of the room and gave me morphine. Since my mother was gone and I was out of it, it''s hard to piece together exactly what happened... but the doctor went at it again... he eventually successfully did the lumbar puncture, which revealed I had viral (aseptic) meningitis. I suspect spinal fluid may have leaked into my system.

I was hospitalized for a week and was in complete agony the entire time. The back pain, headache, and vomiting were constant and severe. I remember when I had to move to vomit, it was so painful I thought I was going to die. I wasn''t doing much better six days later when a new nurse came on duty and was determined to get me out of there. She adjusted my medications, and after a little while, I was finally able to walk to the bathroom in my room for the first time (very slowly and painfully, but at least I could do it!).

I was out of work for 3-4 weeks and didn''t fully recover for several months. But even now, after two and a half years, I still feel so different. I still get headaches, have some issues with memory loss / confusion, and get very sick at least once a month (can''t get out of bed for a full day or two, vomiting, bad headaches)... all of which I think are somewhat normal long-term after effects for people who had a severe case of viral meningitis. However, one major effect that has baffled my mind has to do with my VOICE. It cracks all the time, the tone has changed, I''m squeaky... It makes me very self-conscious and I feel very uncomfortable speaking in business meetings or talking to others. Logically, it doesn''t seem to make sense that my voice would be affected, but I''m positive it began with the meningitis! Is there any medical explanation for this, or has anyone else experienced this?

Also, a side note for those still suffering with the headaches... Try FIORCET. It was one of the drugs they prescribed me with when I was discharged from the hospital and my doctor has continued to prescribe it to me to help with headaches. It is the only thing that gives me any relief.
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First Helper BostonB2010
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replied May 19th, 2010
YES!!! I also had viral Meningitis at 23 and I am now 27, I have headaches and I've definately noticed memory loss. I have a hard time explaining myself, and as a student I can't write reports as easily as before. I have also just been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, and so some of my symtoms, such as the cracking voice and headaches were written off as part of the thyroid condition, but theres no explaination for the memory loss, confusion, and loss of creativity.
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replied September 27th, 2010
What could cause the voice tremor with viral meningitis?
I noticed when sleepiness, high fever, stiff neck, headache started that I also had a slight tremor when I spoke. Six days later, hospitalized for five days with viral meningitis. It has now been three weeks since beginning symptoms. I still have the tremor in my voice, slightly stiff neck, headaches and fatigue although definitely much better. Doctor told me yesterday I might not feel completely better for two months-I am 68 years old. What's with the voice tremor?? Anyone else with this symptom?
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replied December 18th, 2010
Viral Meningitis
My newphew is 30 years old. He had viral meningitis when he was 10 years old and hospitalized for 10 days and got through it. Now he is 30 and has been in and out of the hospital 4 times now in a 4 week period with Viral. We had several scares when he wakes up not know who he is or anyone around him. We get him admitted to the hospital and they keep him for 3 to 5 days and have run several test and CT and MRI and can't find anything wrong. It frustrating knowing that he is in pain and we keep doing this cycle of going back to the hospital. Do you have any other ideas they can test that they are missing.
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replied June 4th, 2011
viral meningitis is a gift that keeps on giving
I had viral meningitits 6 years ago and I still get relapses of headache, nausea, chills and loss of voice. My voice just goes and I sort of squawk when I talk. I feel confusion and a desire to sleep 24 hours a day....fortunately with rest it goes away. someone who has or has had viral meningitis needs to eat properly, try to reduce stress and get enough sleep or these new visits are going to be part of the equation forever.
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replied June 21st, 2011
Viral Meningitus
I had viral meningitis AND shingles at the same time about 7 years ago and have NEVER felt the same. After going to about 10 different doctors and getting diagnoses with Fibromyalgia, my life has forever changed for the worse. I cannot do the things I used to do am always in pain and depressed and exhausted. I am desperate for any advice or meds!!! Help, Leah Fasenmyer
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replied February 25th, 2012
I was hospitalized with viral meningitis 5 times between 1984 - 1991. Since then I have suffered from chronic shingles. Stress seems to bring out the shingles. It's painful and wipes me out. I also have issues with memory. I just can't remember things and it's so frustrating. I also can't do all the things I want to do. Try to get lots of rest, eat properly and remember, you're not alone.
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replied June 22nd, 2011
I had viral meningitis about 10 years ago and since then have had many problems including memory loss, muscle weakness, headaches, pain, trouble thinking and understanding things and seizures but every doctor i have seen since then has no answer! I have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and anemia but I think there is something else going on and I strongly believe it is related to having meningitis!
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replied June 28th, 2011
It's been about a month since (maybe more - perception of time seems to alude me lately) I went to hospital with Viral Meningitis. Yes, I can indentify with a poor spinal tap. My doc went in nearly 15 times until he extracted fluid. He said he had done it a "million times before" (yeah, on maybe 5 patients). All day today and yesterday I've really started to notice memory loss to the point I had to look up lasting meningitis effects and found this site. It is reassuring to know I am not alone - misery & company, you know. I, too, still have headaches and have lost balance unsuspectedly several times since. From what I read these are the by-product of "having" had meningitis and not "still having it" which relieves me, but the fact I may have this for a long time more is unsettling. Based on what I can see, I am now not certain I can trust my perception of past details. Headaches hit me at night when I lay on my back only. Sometimes I think laying down will help but I have discovered I need to get up and move around. I suppose I may need to consider myself slightly handicapped should this continue and like those without a limb find a way to adapt and overcome. Anyway, my prayers are with all of you!
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replied July 15th, 2011
Viral meningitis long term effects
Hello, I had viral meningitis last summer but i thought it was just a basic flu but after sleeping for 3 days and being sick temperature and sickness then went to the hospital. like all of you had a really bad experience at a lumber puncture. The doctor tried several times but kept jutting the nerve with the needle sending shooting pains down my leg very painful and uncomfortable this resulting to going to anaesthetic department at 3am to have it done by someone else.after being discharged from hospital a few days later the illness still carried on I felt exhausted it took about 7weeks to feel a bit more human again and go back to work. So the long term effects now I find that my immune system is so low every bug out there I seem to get, I feel exhausted from this. I have memory loss too I thought this was just me being clumsy but have realised from reading this it's due to the viral meningitis. Thankyou to everyone who posted I realised it's not just me.
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replied July 21st, 2011
Long Term Effects
@adew-Your response sounds exactly like me. This next week it will have been a year since I got viral meningitis and I also was sick 3 days before going to the hospital and having a terrible experience with the lumbar puncture. Only difference...after they discovered that I had VM, the ER doctor told me to just not go to work for about 3 days and then I should be okay. Now, a year later...I have not worked out ONE TIME, when I previously was training constantly for half-marathons and triathlons and I can do very few "normal" things without physically getting completely run down. My immune system also is very weak, I had blood work done just 6 weeks ago that showed that my white blood count is very low, which the doctor said is still likely due to my body dealing with the meningitis. The fatigue, memory loss, concentration issues, headaches, loss of appetite, and loss of ability to live normally much of the time can be so hard. Finding this website a few months ago was one of the most encouraging things that I had found yet! It is great to know that I am not alone in the long term effects...after being told by so many doctors that I should be better by now. I hope that all of you can be encouraged by it too and I pray that you are each able to find some relief from the effects.
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replied December 16th, 2011
lost voice after VM,+BM
Hi I had VM and Bm and septacimia, mine all started when i lost my voice, i didnt have a sore throat, just a squeaky voice, 3 days later i was screaming in agony as my right foot erupted in purple spots, couldnt move it,even a sheet across it was agony. had severe sickness/diaorha, paramidics came, took my vitals on my left side(pulse,BP temp) was all normal! took again on my right side... his words "U shouldnt be here!!".
was rushed to hosp, was started on many drips,morphine,and what ever else they thought would work! plus several lumber punctures...3 weeks later and tests were good, home by 4th week, Thankfully with all my limbs in working order, only just, Very weakened.I still have problems ( 18 months later) Droping things ,forgetful,ratty, emotional, plus now have severe esophageal problems( cannot eat solids).dont know if its connected. But I still have this husky voice, some days i can hardly speak, i sound very different, and i cant sing at all, has anyone else had any simular experiences ?
Wish u all good health for 2012.x
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replied April 23rd, 2012
My son was hospitalized 3 years ago with viral meningitis for about a week. His lumbar puncture went fine. His personality has totally changed from the meningitis. He went from being very outgoing to an introvert and medicine doesnt seem to help. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a year later,which is believed to be caused by the meningitis. The virus attacked his pancreas and now he is on an insulin pump. It is unbelievable how this virus has effected my sons life socially and physically.
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replied August 5th, 2012
Viral Meningitis Symptoms
Hi. I had viral meningitis 3 years ago, when I was 17, I am now 20. It lasted approximately about a week. I too, had to get a lumbar puncture, and they had to do it several times, I wasn't fortunate enough to get morphine, they just gave me pain pills and went on with the procedure (the pain pills didn't work, might I add). But, I was wondering, when I first got the symptoms, they consisted of a migraine (which was unlike any migraine I had ever felt), fever, my joints were agony etc. but the symptom I never see anywhere is, I lost my voice. And by this I mean, I could make noises like babies, but I was unable to say anything - I knew how to say the words but I just couldn't. I had to get taught how to speak again - like a child. After a few days, of the doctors telling me to say my name and which hospital I was in and my date of birth etc. I was able to speak again (which was the most relief I have ever felt in my life). I was wondering if anyone else had came across this symptom? And, after my meningitis "phase", I had a seizure. And until this day I always get this strange and awkward feeling that I'm going to have another seizure. The feeling is like, I'm dizzy, feel faint, unable to concentrate,my hands start to twitch etc. - this was the feeling that occurred just before I had my seizure. Has anyone ever came across this either? Or is it only me?
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replied September 25th, 2012
In May of this year,i had a virus that put me in bed for a week, i never got over it even though both my husband and son had.
At the end of July, after having a mild headache all day i suffered convulsions at night,i went blue, couldn't breath properly, my husband rang an ambulance. The ambulance man said it was a panic attack, an hour later my blood pressure and heart beat were still all over the place, i couldn't think right, couldn't stand light or noise, my head hurt and the back of my neck and i felt so dehydrated and sick.
The A&E were a nightmare as Panic attack was written on the notes from the ambulance they hung their hat and coat on that diagnosis and left me in a side room for hours, in an out of sleep, my blood pressure 74/52. After about 6 hours they then wheeled me out of the side room and into the bright a&e next to the nurses station where i broke down and cried as the light and noise hurt my head so much, basically to be ignored again by all the doctors and nurses.
I had a Ct scan and also bloods taken, after speaking to a Doctor he said was concerned and said he wanted to do a lumbar puncture, after the inital doctors shift was over, nothing was done, i was left again for hours, no pain killers no drink, i figured as i felt like i was dying i'd go home as no-one was helping me and ignoring me, so i signed myself out in absolute hysterics.
I slept all day and night. When i woke up the next day i felt a million times worse. I went to the doctors and my husband had to speak for me as i felt shut in, couldn't speak properly stuttering and dribbling due to head ache and eye pain, i could barely walk.
I was taken to hospital and after seeing two doctors was diagnosed with sypmtoms of viral meningitis.I was told i would have another scan an mri in the morning and a lumbar puncture. The morning came and another doctor came to see me, telling me i could go home!! i asked about the lumbar puncture, he said as i had had a virus all that time ago, there was no reason for me to have a lumbar puncture as i'd have to stay in hospital longer and i needed rest and as he was happy with the disgnosis of viral meningitis i was to go home.
I slept for nearly 4 weeks waking up only an hour or two a day. I have lost over a stone and a half. I still feel virus like after all this time and the doctors say there is nothing they can do, i have to wait, its been 9 weeks. My back hurts,my bones hurt, my ears hurt,i still suffer from light sensitivity and have black outs if i get up too soon, i can't think straight still, i have some good days, but some awful ones like today. My son was in school sat next to a boy that was ill, i spent 5 minutes with him in the car and im ill again!! when will this end?? i also have alot of stomach pains? does anyone else? I think doctors generally don't listen and assume you are a hypercondriac, i have vistied docs a handfull of times in 4 years prior to this. Always the same question, what do you think we can do for you!! prehaps if i'd had the lumbar puncture they'd have an idea of what virus it was and maybe able to give me anti viral, but no its all about cost cutting and tending to drunks in the ER. I'm at my wits end.Sorry about spelling and grammar, i took about an hour to write this as my brain is mush!
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replied September 25th, 2012
The doctors during my visit to the hospital whilst I had meningitis - thought I was a drug addict - they stated this because I couldn't speak - which is a sign of an overdose. I was ready to punch them as I have never taken any drugs in my life (except paracetamol etc.). The doctors were also very ignorant - they were nice people - but ignorant in the way that they kept ignoring me whilst I signed for them to turn the light off as it was causing me UNBEARABLE pain. I think it was because they thought I was on drugs. I was the same as you, mrswalty, I was bearly awake - and anytime I was awake it was due to the headache caused by those horrible hospital lights - they were far too bright for my liking. I don't have as many as the symptoms as you do - I do experience earache but I have always had earache, for as long as I can remember. It's strange that you said stomach pains - because my stomach (and my side) has been in agony for days now - I'm going to the doctors tomorrow and i'm going to ask them if it's due to meningitis because anytime I have pain they usually say that it's (basically) nothing and give me pain pills. I also think doctors just dismiss anything you say to them - hopefully when I go to the doctors tomorrow I'll be treated by a half-decent doctor who actually listens to my concerns.
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replied October 8th, 2012
Feeling "tipsy" after vm
Hi I was diagnosed with vm about 2mos ago. I believe it was a reaction to an antibiotic "bactrim ds". However the doctors don't agree and can't provide another explanation. Anyway my symptoms were extreme muscle pain especially in the legs, headache, chills, confusion, slurred speech, fatigue and dizzinees. Now 2 mos later I still have headaches and fatigue. I've been told this is common. However I have other symptoms that worry me because the doctors can't explain the cause. I feel a tingling cold burning sensation in my arms. It's like that feeling you get when you get hooked up to an iv and you can feel the fluid going in your arm. Also, ever since I left hospital I have this feeling like I'm "tipsy" not drunk just like on my second glass of wine. Anyone else have or had these symptoms?
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replied October 24th, 2012
I actually found a cure for myself. (Trying to keep it short.)
I had viral meningitis 10 months ago. It started with a cold and ended with a hospitalization for 10 days. At first I thought I got lucky as I had no apparent “damage” and was very happy to be able to spend the Christmas with my family and take some extra time off to recover during the Holliday season. However, soon I discovered that the dizziness, clumsiness and no concentration (along with whole line of more nonspecific symptoms) are not going away. Worse, I was getting one minor illness after another. It seemed I couldn’t go to a public place without returning home to be sick yet again. Doctors were (as in most stories here) not helpful at all.

BUT, I refused to agree with them that it will get better with time & that some things may never get to normal and “you got to learn to live with it”.
I started to research possible alternative diagnosis and treatments. It was a long and painfully tiring process, especially when you see so many possibilities and have no one to guide you. I did not have the possibility to go to a naturopath or alternative doctor.
But I did found something that helped me. Or precisely, something that was standing in the way of recovery. Sugar. SUGAR. Sugar… in all forms and shapes. Now I’m a skeptical person and don’t like all kinds of “mumbo jumbos”. I lived by a principle that if it wasn’t scientifically proven and doesn’t harm the rest of billion people in this world, why should I not eat it?
Desperate as I was to get better, I tried to eliminate sugar from my diet and roughly followed the candida diet, immune system restoration diet and anti-inflammatory diet. Now when I say roughly I mean there are so many sources of diets online and they all tend to contradict each other. Very daunting, but one thing in common - sugar (glucose, corn syrup, honey etc.) is eliminated. Next to elimination I focused on activities that boost your immune system: natural probiotics from Kefir, balanced diet, extra vitamins (esp. vitamin C).

Now, 6 months later I’m feeling great. Some ways almost like my old self, some ways even better. Have still some complains, but I feel extraordinary lucky that I’ve got so far. Almost nowhere do I see any solutions for people recovering from these “life changing non-specific symptoms”.. I’m not a doctor, but I sincerely hope that my response will help someone to a full recovery. I would advise, if you can afford it, to go to a specialist in alternative medicine as a road on your own is very hard and confusing. But, if not, just try researching about a diet without sugar and give it a go.

PS: I also had suspicion on thyroid function problems, adrenal fatigued, depression and probably more things that I can’t even recall. However, when I follow my diet, I have no complains. I also eliminated caffeine, alcohol, dairy products (except cheese and yoghurt), pork meat, non-organic meat (mostly), food coloring, most additives, processed grains, sugary fruit. Now, don’t get scared, there is plenty of food out there that you can still eat. At the end of the day you need to listen to your body as some things are OK for one person and no go for others.
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replied May 6th, 2013
OMG! I totally researched the candia diet myself this weekend! I am dealing with the same symptoms after VM. Mine came on in minutes and hit me like a brick. But the after affects are just killing me! I am so excited to see your blog and feel a light at the en dof the tunnel now. I will keep you posted and please update me on your progress = ) thank you!!!
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replied March 7th, 2013
I had VM back in Nov 2012. As most of you can understand it is the most horrible thing anyone can go through. I am glad to see some of you still have episodes of memory loss and confusion. It's been a horrible week of constant "what day is it" and "i forgot to do that". I wanted to cry because I didn't understand how I could go from capable to totally incapable. It's so frustrating. I become inpatient and scream at everyone. Anyway, good to know I'm not alone....
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replied April 7th, 2013
I have had spinal meningitis now twice. It's hard going from a hard working person to have to slow down more. I have back problems more now and I get tired and sick easier. After the meningitis I got shingles. Ever since all this I feel it's hard to concentrate and focus on things. It's hard to explain. I have to take meds now just to keep me from getting it again. Some of the side effects cause those things, but I have to take them for the rest of my life. It's only been a few months now since the meningitis then a year before that I had it, so maybe it just takes time.
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replied April 29th, 2013
Viral Meningitis after effects
I had Viral Meningitis in January and it was a really terrible experience. I have a 3 year old and a baby, who was only 4 months old at the time. Now just over 3 months later I am still struggling with what I presume are after effects of this illness. I keep being told to rest, but this is very difficult with a toddler and a teething baby. I feel like such a useless failure and a burden to everyone, as just when I start to feel better, I seem to be struck down with complete exhaustion where my whole body aches and I simply can't get out of bed. I am also very irritable at times, having little patience with my husband and children. Some days I feel positive and lucky, but other days (like today) I can see no end to this situation and am so exhausted with feeling this way. Any stories of recovery would be greatly appreciated!
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Users who thank Sparklybuster81 for this post: Calimom12 

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replied May 6th, 2013
Sparklybuster81 - let those who love you help. The exhaustion stays with you. Tell whomever that you need to sleep - 8 hours minimum. You will feel better the next day, maybe two. Then the tiredness comes back. But, it does help. I understand completly. I have a 9 year old. She's got energy!! But, when I hit a wall I have to just tell my husband you HAVE to watch her, put her to bed, feed her, etc. I hate to say I go until I am at that point, but as a mother it is what we do naturally. Don't feel guilty for asking for help. In the long run (which is basically dealing with VM for the rest of our lives) it will be worth it, it will make us better mommies and wives. Take care.

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replied May 6th, 2013
Sparklybuster81 - let those who love you help. The exhaustion stays with you. Tell whomever that you need to sleep - 8 hours minimum. You will feel better the next day, maybe two. Then the tiredness comes back. But, it does help. I understand completly. I have a 9 year old. She's got energy!! But, when I hit a wall I have to just tell my husband you HAVE to watch her, put her to bed, feed her, etc. I hate to say I go until I am at that point, but as a mother it is what we do naturally. Don't feel guilty for asking for help. In the long run (which is basically dealing with VM for the rest of our lives) it will be worth it, it will make us better mommies and wives. Take care.
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