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 that goes to the foot to rub up against or get entangled with the main nerve in the perineum, the pudendal nerve. So we decided to take a wait-and-see stance on the pudendal neuralgia symptoms rather than taking extreme measures.
A few weeks ago, while traveling in Mexico, my husband and I attended a temazcal in Guanajuato, Mexico. The goal of the temazcal was undefined. The last time we’d done a temazcal, we felt absolutely fantastic for several days. So we thought we’d give it a try again. This time, when John walked out of the tent, his pudendal neuralgia was gone. GONE. And several weeks later, it’s still gone.
That’s not to say that extreme heat and humidity would help everyone who has this problem, but for those who are looking for conservative pudendal nerve treatments it’s worth noting. There may not be one specific pudendal nerve cure out there, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t figure out how your own body works and stumble across a treatment that works for you. Pudendal neuropathy and entrapment isn’t a big money maker for Big Pharma so it will remain largely ignored until a profitable treatment rises to the surface.
While researching my husband’s issue, I found this informative article by Pelvic Guru about pudendal neuralgia and neuropathy that encourages conservatism when treating pelvic conditions. If my husband’s pudendal neuralgia hadn’t gone away, I would’ve considered visiting these doctors about the problem because they offer information that makes sense and they aren’t peddling surgeries or pharmaceutical miracle cures.