Temazcal, Heat, and Humidity Help Pudendal Neuralgia

  No one likes to talk about their private parts, especially when things aren’t going well. But sometimes, let’s face it, things go wrong down there. Recently, my husband had a strange nerve sensation at the tip of his penis that would radiate down his leg into the base of his foot. Needless to say, this problem, which he self-diagnosed as pudendal neuralgia, was distressing. Nothing seemed to help and after several months of this strange sensory anomaly, he’d decided that it was something he’d just have to learn to live with.   Last year, I went to a Rolfer for sciatica and lower back pain that just wouldn’t go away and at this time, I learned a little bit about nerves. One important thing that I learned was that nerves aren’t well understood and when they get stretched or entrapped, we really aren’t trained to recognize it. Most of the nerve pain that I was having (sciatica) was due to a nerve problem, not a muscular problem. But I’d been treating my pain as a muscular issue…I spent a lot of time stretching my muscles every day trying to make myself feel better, but with no success. Then I read the book, Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance by Stuart McGill, PhD and learned that what my back and my sciatic nerve really needed was rest. I needed to find physical positions and movements that didn’t aggravate the nerve…namely pain-free positions and movements. The goal was to position my body and move my body in a way that didn’t cause me pain or discomfort. Only then would my nerves stop screaming at me.   And you know what? That worked. I’ve been without back-pain for almost a year now, but I don’t do yoga anymore.   So when my husband started having this strange sensation that went from the tip of his penis to his foot, I immediately thought it was a nerve issue. Women often develop pudendal neuralgia or pudendal neuropathy after childbirth, but men can develop the problem as a result of constipation and chronic straining that put stress on the pudendal nerve. What was weird about his problem was that he wasn’t experiencing pain, but the nerve sensation that went from the tip of his penis to the bottom of his foot was distressing. We decided that his nerves might be compressed or irritated. It’s possible for nerve signals to get crossed and for a nerve... read more

Hormonal Imbalance in Women: Birth Control Pills vs. Herbal Remedies

If you go to the doctor because you’re a woman and you’re having hormone issues or menstrual problems, chances are your doctor will prescribe birth control pills if you aren’t already taking them. Most women these days take the pill or use some form of birth control product that uses synthetic hormones. For sexually active women, unless you have perfectly timed periods, with perfect “flow”, and you’re using a diaphragm or condoms, it can be hard to escape from synthetic hormones.   But are synthetic hormone treatments really safe?   There are a number of studies demonstrating that synthetic hormones are not very safe. Women who have used synthetic hormones to help them weather the symptoms of menopause have a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, the increased risks associated with the use of synthetic hormones by menopausal women was so high that the Women’s Health Initiative closed down a synthetic hormone study before it was slated to end [1][2][3]. Bioidentical hormones aren’t necessarily a better choice, even though they’re purportedly identical to the hormones found in the female body [3].   Effects of Birth Control   Many women take birth control pills as a form of contraception. If this is your situation, you’ll need to find another form of contraception if you decide to use herbs to control your hormone levels. Herbal remedies won’t help you prevent pregnancy.   On the other hand, if you’ve been prescribed birth control pills to control aspects of your monthly period that are undesirable, you might want to try using herbs to control the symptoms first. Herbs are generally safer (at least the ones I recommend below) and they won’t interfere with your ability to become pregnant later…in fact, they may even help with problems like infertility. My doctor prescribed birth control pills when I showed up at her office because I’d been getting my period every two weeks. I wanted to have her check me out first to make sure I didn’t have cancer, or fibroids, or some other problem. I didn’t. I got my prescription filled since I was going to be leaving soon on a three month trip to Egypt and I didn’t want to be without a solution to my problem while I was abroad. But before I took the pills, I decided I’d try some herbal remedies for my problem first. I wasn’t excited about taking the pill because when I was in... read more