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What Is Pudendal Neuralgia?
Pudendal Neuralgia is the result of damage or irritation being done to the major pudendal nerve in the lower body. The result of this nerve damage is often discomfort, pain, numbness or irritation in the genitals and pelvic region. The pudendal nerve runs from the genitals to the back of the pelvis where it controls the sphincter during defecation and sends signals to the brain.
Here are some of the major symptoms, causes and treatments for Pudendal Neuralgia, and what you should do if you experience any of these symptoms.
Symptoms of pudendal neuralgia
The symptoms of those affected by Pudendal Neuralgia can vary in intensity, type and origin, but all share common traits. These symptoms are experienced mostly in the pelvic region, which includes the genitals, anus and perineum. If you are experiencing pudendal neuralgia, you will likely experience the following: Increased sensitivity of the genitals and genital region, swelling or irritation, numbness, erectile dysfunction, pain or discomfort during and after sex and increased urgency and frequency of bathroom use.
Individuals experiencing pudendal neuralgia may experience some or all of these symptoms and should contact a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms arise or are feeling significant pelvic discomfort.
Causes of pudendal neuralgia
The pudendal nerve can become damaged in several ways, the most common of which is a major injury or difficult labor. While major trauma such as a big fall, a car accident, a difficult birth or some other sort of lower-body injury contributes greatly to the chances of developing pudendal neuralgia, minor trauma, as well as repetitive movement, can also affect the nerve. Constipation and chronic straining, pelvic floor compression from bulky pelvic muscles, repetitive or intense exercising (such as biking) and small injuries sustained to the pelvic floor can all cause pudendal neuralgia.
Diagnosis of pudendal neuralgia
If you have experienced the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to go to a doctor for a diagnosis. If you do have pudendal neuralgia, there are several methods for detection your doctor may try.
The first step in the detection of a pudendal neuralgia patient is to perform a physical examination. Your doctor will examine the function of your pelvis, perineum, muscles and legs to see if any damage can be detected.
Ultrasound or MRI
Your doctor may recommend doing an ultrasound of your pelvic floor, or an MRI of your pudendal nerve. Accessing images of your body and being able to see what structures may be under stress can help your doctor make their diagnosis.
Pudendal nerve block
Another method of pudendal neuralgia detection is to administer a pudendal nerve block. This procedure is done by injecting a local anesthetic into the canal in which the pudendal nerve travels. If you go numb and your pain is eliminated by this, your doctor will have a good indication that your pain is related to the pudendal nerve.
Pudendal neuralgia treatment
Luckily, pudendal neuralgia can be treated with fairly non-invasive methods, and those experiencing its symptoms are often able to lead completely normal lives. To avoid doing further damage or irritating the pudendal nerve, your doctor will likely recommend a combination of physical therapy, lifestyle changes and perhaps medication.
Stop living with pudendal neuralgia
If you are suffering from this common condition, we encourage you to contact our office today for a consultation.
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