Diagnosing Pelvic Pain: Pudendal Neuralgia

Between 25 % and 33% of women, and  8 to 10 % of men suffer from pelvic pain at some point in their lives. Pudendal Neuralgia is one medical condition characterized by pelvic pain.

Sometimes pudendal neuralgia comes and goes in patients, but it can last for years if not properly treated. Receiving a correct diagnosis and treatment is the key to finding rapid and lasting relief. However, because pudendal neuralgia can stem from multiple causes, it’s often mistaken for other conditions.

What Is Pudendal Neuralgia Pelvic Pain?

Pudendal neuralgia is a type of chronic pelvic pain that results from damage or irritation of the pudendal nerve. The pudendal nerve is one of the main nerves in the pelvis, affecting: the lower buttocks, the perineum, the rectum; and (in women) the vulva, labia, and clitoris; and (in men) the scrotum and penis.

Pudendal neuralgia may feel like burning, crushing, shooting pain, numbness and/or “pins and needles”. It is a constant condition but it can be worse at some times and better at other times. Symptoms can also be worse when sitting down, and improved by standing or lying down. Other symptoms of pudendal neuralgia can include frequent or sudden urination, as well as pain during sex, difficulty reaching orgasm, and erectile dysfunction.

In order for it to be pudendal neuralgia, the pain must be in the area of the pudendal nerve. People who feel pelvic pain in other areas while sitting, as well as individuals who are achy or sore (rather than burning or numb) likely do not have pudendal neuralgia.

Diagnosing Pudendal Neuralgia Pelvic Pain

The diagnosis of pudendal neuralgia can be “tricky” since the symptoms overlap with other pelvic pain conditions. This can result in a patient seeing multiple doctors who do not properly diagnose the condition – which can be very frustrating and discouraging for the patient who continues to suffer in pain. For example, a urologist may diagnose the condition as Interstitial Cystitis, while a gynecologist may offer a different diagnosis of Vulvodynia, and a physical therapist may diagnose it as high-tone pelvic floor pain syndrome.

Many individuals suffer far too long with pudendal neuralgia. But the good new is that medical awareness of pelvic conditions, such as pudendal neuralgia, has advanced tremendously. The pelvic pain of pudendal neuralgia does not have to last years. Pudendal neuralgia is a treatable condition.

Our physical therapists have been specifically trained to help diagnose and treat pelvic floor pain and dysfunctions. They will take the time needed to listen to your concerns, conduct a thorough evaluation and come up with a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan for your pudendal neuralgia pelvic pain.

Additionally, studies have overwhelming shown that educating patients who are experiencing persistent, chronic pain about the physiology causing their symptoms results in far better outcomes and substantially less pain. We believe providing our patients with information about their symptoms and diagnosis is important, as it influences the way they are able to process, manage and treat what they are feeling in their bodies.

Toledo Area Pelvic Pain Specialists

If you are suffering from any type of pelvic pain – and have been diagnosed or are yet to be diagnosed – our certified pelvic floor physical therapists are here to help.

Expert physical therapist Karen Liberi MS MPT WCS, has advanced board certification in pelvic floor physical therapy. She and her team have helped hundreds of men and women in Perrysburg, Toledo, Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan decrease or eliminate pelvic pain, eliminate urinary & bowel issues, and remedy sexual problems with pelvic floor physical therapy.

Schedule a Toledo Area Pelvic Pain Therapy Evaluation: 419-893-7134 (ext. 5)

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