Successful Treatment of Pudendal Neuralgia: Symptom Relief

In this article, we will take a look at studies that have reported symptom relief for individuals with pudendal neuralgia. We will explore treatment approaches used for pain relief and ways to manage life with the condition.
Sabrina Greco

Sabrina Greco

MSc in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada

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What is pudendal neuralgia?

Pudendal neuralgia is a chronic condition, commonly associated with pelvic and genital pain. Pudendal neuralgia can arise from damage, irritation or compression of the pudendal nerve, an important nerve of the pelvis.

If pain relief and improved quality of life are long-term goals, successful treatment and management of pudendal neuralgia are possible. Early identification of symptoms, combined with multidisciplinary approaches for treatment, can provide symptom control and improve overall quality of life.

Successful treatment of pudendal neuralgia is possible. Treatments include conservative measures, medications, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, pudendal nerve blocks, sacral neuromodulation, and decompressive surgery. Pudendal nerve blocks have an overall success rate of about 80%, while surgery provides extended relief in 60% to 80% of properly selected patients. However, the evidence supporting these treatments is often limited and based on expert opinion.

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Managing the symptoms of pudendal neuralgia

Managing pudendal neuralgia can be challenging, and treatment approaches will vary depending on the underlying cause of your condition and your symptoms. Managing a chronic condition like pudendal neuralgia often requires ongoing medical care, and it can take time to navigate various treatment options to find what works best for you and your condition.

Symptom relief and pudendal neuralgia

In an analysis of pain intensity and response to first-line treatments, one study reported that only 42.2% of patients experienced pain relief using first-line medication interventions [1]. For those with symptoms that remained, a mixed analgesic ladder, or pain-relief medication combination, was suggested. This approach showed improvement in 73% of patients with pudendal neuralgia. Always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any medications, to avoid potential drug interaction complications.

For individuals with refractory pudendal neuralgia, or pudendal neuralgia that is resistant to conventional treatments or therapies, neuromodulation techniques may be used. One study evaluated the treatment effects of sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) for patients with refractory pudendal neuralgia, and reported decreases in pain severity, and increases in total sleep time following the procedure [2]. More research is needed on this approach, to evaluate risk factors.

Laparoscopic surgical approaches have been proposed as treatments for pudendal neuralgia. One study evaluated the placement of an electrode for neurostimulation in combination with surgical decompression of the pudendal nerve [3]. The procedure was reported as successful and holds potential for treating the symptoms of pudendal neuralgia; however, large-scale trials are needed to evaluate its effectiveness and safety.

Conclusion

Managing pudendal neuralgia can be challenging, and treatment approaches will vary depending on your individual symptoms. Successful management of pudendal neuralgia can be achieved through a combination of treatment approaches and lifestyle modifications. Be mindful of how your body feels during treatment, and how different treatments impact your symptoms. Consult with your health provider for more information on pudendal neuralgia.

Sabrina Greco

Sabrina Greco

Sabrina is a pre-medical student based in Toronto, Canada. She completed her BSc in Life Sciences and her MSc in Anatomical Sciences at Queen’s University in Canada. Her recent research focused on investigating the symptoms and experiences of women who have undergone gynecologic surgery. Her research has been published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, and presented at the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Annual Conference 2022 and 2023. Sabrina is a patient advocate dedicated to improving communication and knowledge translation practices in clinical settings.