Have you experienced numbness or burning in your genital region that wouldn’t go away?
It might be because of pudendal neuralgia.
Well, just what the heck is pudendal neuralgia?
Let’s start with what pudendal neuralgia refers to, which is an issue with the pudendal nerve. The pudendal nerve is one of the three nerves that innervates (or supplies nerves to) the pelvis. The other two nerves are the sciatic nerve, which gets a lot of press, and the posterior femoral cutaneous nerve which, presumably because it’s so hard to say and remember, gets less press.
But what’s up with this pudendal nerve and pudendal neuralgia? The pudendal nerve comes out of the sacrum at S2, S3, S4 and gives sensation to the genitals, perineum, and anus. Sometimes the pudendal nerve can become compressed causing pudendal neuralgia or PN.
PN, put simply as possible, is an irritation of the pudendal nerve causing pain, discomfort and/or numbness in the pelvis and/or genitals. True PN has to be diagnosed by a pelvic floor specialist and/or a pain management doctor. Not all burning or discomfort in the pelvic region is PN, and it is very important to get diagnosed by the proper provider.
So how can you, right now, tell if you might have PN?
Let’s go through symptoms and causes to see if any of them align with you.
- Pain, burning, and/or itching in the pelvic region (including the perineum)
- Pain at the vulva/ pelvic region with sitting, standing, intercourse, and pelvic exams
- Pain and/or difficulty going to the bathroom
- Injury to the back/pelvis and/or the pudendal nerve
- Birth trauma
- Overactive/tight pelvic floor muscles
- Compression in the pelvis due to excessive sitting or biking
Can PN be treated?
Yes! Take heart! Through a collaborative approach between a pelvic floor physical therapist and a pain management doctor, PN can be treated AND fully resolved.
It is a longer recovery than many other pelvic floor issues, typically taking a year to a year and half to resolve.
What do we do in pelvic floor PT for PN?
We work to decompress the nerve and reduce irritation through manual therapy, dry needling, posture changes, and corrective movements. It’s a slow and steady process, and the good news is that it CAN be resolved! Pudendal neuralgia need not be forever!
If you are dealing with burning or numbness in your pelvic/groin area or another nagging pain or injury that just won’t go away, book a FREE 10-minute consult call today. We know we can help you ✨
Be empowered in education,
OrthoPelvic Physical Therapy