Pudendal Neuralgia is irritation of the pudendal nerve. This can occur anywhere along the nerve pathway; from the sacrum to the pubic bone and often presents with pain and/or altered sensation in the pelvis.
Symptoms of Pudendal Neuralgia
Pudendal Neuralgia can cause a lot of symptoms. It can affect the penile/clitoris region, along with the perineum or the rectum. It can also be described as if a hot poker is touching your genitals. You may experience burning genital pain, long-term pelvic pain, and more. The common symptoms most reported include an altered sensation in your genitals, a sharp stabbing pain, and a sensation that feels as though you have a bladder infection. The pain may be worse when sitting, and this is especially the case with hard surfaces.
Is Pudendal Neuralgia Common?
The prevalence of pudendal neuralgia is largely unknown. However, one out of 12 men in Australia will experience persistent pelvic pain, which can be attributed to pudendal nerve irritation. Luckily, Pudendal Neuralgia treatment is very accessible.
There are some risk factors for Pudendal Neuralgia. This could include tension in the pelvic floor muscles, previous surgery in the pelvis, and stretch injuries that occur during childbirth.
Diagnosis of Pudendal Neuralgia
Pudendal Neuralgia can be diagnosed via visualizing nerve entrapment on MRI or a pudendal nerve block, if the doctor is unsure of your symptoms. This is one way to find out for sure if the nerve itself is what is causing your discomfort.
Treatment for Pudendal Neuralgia
Pelvic physiotherapy is often the first line of treatment if you experience this condition. You may be educated about the condition, have a targeted release to offload the nerve, and be provided a series of pelvic stretches and breathing exercises. Lifestyle advice and suggestions on how to manage stress and anxiety will also be given.
Your pelvic physiotherapist may also provide you with some strategies for self treatment. This may include ergonomic advice, and self-release techniques of the pelvic floor muscles.
A lot of people grow concerned with this condition, and many fear that they will never be able to move past it. This is not the case, and it is more than possible for you to relieve your pain.
Tips for Managing Pudendal Neuralgia Pain
If you want to manage your pain, then you can do so by adopting the tips below:
- Avoid prolonged sitting
- Know your body will get better
- Be patient
- Promote relaxation and mindfulness
Common Myths with Pudendal Neuralgia
Some of the common myths regarding Pudendal Neuralgia is that many believe PN is causing erectile dysfunction. Whilst Pudendal Neuralgia can impact erectile function, there are likely many other contributing factors. Your physiotherapist or general practitioner can help you identify the cause.
Another myth is that it is caused by long bike rides. This is not the case; with a proper bike fit and an appropriate sized seat, the nerve should not be impacted. In most instances, the nerve is irritated over a longer period of time.