If you have been diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia, you may be researching the potential treatment options including pudendal neuromodulation, an outpatient procedure designed to manage this rare condition. Find out more about pudendal neuralgia and one of the best ways to deal with it below.
What is Pudendal Neuralgia?
Pudendal neuralgia is a condition that affects both men and women. The pudendal nerve carries sensation to the genital region, specifically the external genitalia, anus, and perineum. It also supplies motor signals to a number of pelvic muscles. When you suffer from pudendal neuralgia, this nerve becomes entrapped, and in turn causes pain to the buttocks and genitals.
Symptoms of pudendal neuralgia include:
- Trouble urinating
- Pain when sitting that goes away once you stand up
- Fecal and urinary incontinence
Certain nerve tests such as an electromyography can measure the motor latency of the nerve to aid in the diagnosis of this condition.
What is Pudendal Neuromodulation?
Pioneered by urologist Dr. Kenneth Peters, M.D., pudendal neuromodulation is an outpatient procedure used to treat pudendal neuralgia. During the treatment, a tiny electrode is placed at the pudendal nerve where it branches out to the sacral nerves. The electrode produces an electrical pulse to stimulate the nerves, similar to a pacemaker.
What is the Goal of Pudendal Neuromodulation?
The goal is to stimulate the troubled nerve using a low-level electronic pulse. The pulse produced by the electrode overrides the abnormal signals the trapped nerve sends to the brain, relieving some of the pain and bowel issues.
What to Expect with Pudendal Neuromodulation
Most patients undergo two procedures as part of the pudendal neuromodulation treatment plan. During the first visit, a physician places the electrode in the pelvis and connects it to an electrical pulse generator that is worn outside the body. This gives the patient control over the intensity of each pulse and how it impacts their symptoms.
After two weeks, the patient undergoes a second procedure to implant an electronic pulse generator permanently based on how their symptoms have improved with varying levels of pulses. While this procedure is not a cure for pudendal neuralgia, it does come with an impressive success rate. Most patients notice at least a 50 percent improvement of symptoms.