Neuromodulation covers a broad spectrum of medical treatments used chronic illnesses including epilepsy, spasticity, and bladder dysfunction, among others.
While neuromodulation is effective in managing a wide range of health problems, it is especially useful in treating pudendal neuralgia, a condition that causes intermittent genital and pelvic pain. Pudendal neuralgia is generally caused by lower body nerve damage and can make sitting, going to the bathroom, or having sex extremely painful.
Pudendal neuralgia can affect both men and women. However, there are differences in the symptoms. For example, women are likely to experience a stabbing or burning pain in organs or other body parts covered by the pudendal nerve including the urethra, clitoris, vagina, rectum, and anus. Men, conversely, will experience the same symptoms in testicles/penis.
Both sexes may experience pain during intercourse; for women, this can mean pain and an inability to orgasm. Men can experience painful erections, intermittent incompetence, and painful ejaculations.
Sacral neuromodulation and pudendal neuromodulation are two treatments that have proven to be the most successful in treating pudendal neuralgia.
Sacral neuromodulation – Because one of the main symptoms of pudendal neuralgia entails urinary incontinence, Sacral neuromodulation is commonly prescribed as an alternative to self-catheterization for women with Fowler's syndrome, a disorder affecting the urethral sphincters. These devices work by stimulating the neural circuits, which, in turn, minimizes spinal reflexes and improves pudendal neuralgia symptoms.
Pudendal neuromodulation – To help address fecal incontinence, pain, and other bowel problems, pudendal neuromodulation is a recommended course of treatment for those with pudendal neuralgia. This is an outpatient procedure that involves placing electrodes where the pudendal nerve extends to the sacral nerves, which overrides abnormal signals that are being sent to the brain. Studies have shown that this procedure helps alleviate pain and bowels issues typical of pudendal neuralgia.
For conditions that can significantly affect a patient’s quality of life, including pudendal neuralgia, treatments like neuromodulation are available to manage pain.