This is a pain you may not have heard of before, and it’s a pain that men can get too (!) especially if they spend a lot of time cycling.
The pudendal nerve is the nerve that goes to the muscles and skin between our legs where we sit. Some people call this the ‘saddle area’, which means the part of you that would touch a saddle if you were riding a horse. The nerve travels through some tight places around the inside of your pelvis, where it can get irritated or be put under pressure.
What causes pudendal neuralgia?
The common causes include childbirth, injuries, cycling, long term constipation and tight, overly strong pelvic floor muscles. Sometimes no cause is found.
What are the symptoms of pudendal neuralgia?
There are many different symptoms but they are usually worse when sitting. The symptoms include:
Pain in the area of the pudendal nerve anywhere from the clitoris or penis back to the anal area. It may be on one side or both sides, near the front, or further back. This pain is usually a burning or sharp ‘electric’ feeling
Sexual problems with less feeling in the penis or clitoris
Difficulty opening your bowels
What can I do?
To help the nerve recover, you should:
Avoid activities that put pressure on the nerve, such as sitting, or cycling
When you do sit, use a ‘Ushaped’ foam cushion with the front and center area cut out, or sit on 2 towels rolled up under each buttock so there is no pressure in the center
See a pelvic physiotherapist to learn how to relax and lengthen your pelvic muscles, to take pressure off the nerve
Avoid straining when you pass urine or open your bowels, and avoid overly strengthening your pelvic muscles
Some centerd offer botox to the pelvic floor muscles or pudendal nerve blocks for this problem
Content provided by Dr Susan Evans, Gynecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon, & Specialist Pain Medicine Physician (https://www.drsusanevans.com.au/). Permission has been granted to publish this content on www.theendolifestyle.com.