Why Do We Dis the Pudendal ?
It is remarkable to me that we don’t think of pudendal nerve trauma as a relevant impairment deserving medical attention and treatment. You may be asking…”what is the pudendal nerve and why does it matter?” The pudendal nerve is a small nerve; arising from the lowest spinal cord segments that really doesn’t matter….that is unless bladder control, bowel control, and sexual function are important to you. Pudendal nerve injury is associated with urinary incontinence, anal incontinence, and impaired sexual arousal and orgasm. The fact is pudendal nerve injury is likely the most common nerve injury sustained by women. The reason for this is that vaginal childbirth represents a significant risk of stretch injury to the pudendal nerve. Despite this we don’t routinely recommend, or even offer, the types of physiotherapy services we would offer any patient who sustains injury to any other motor nerve. Functional electrical stimulation, for instance, has been shown to be of benefit to individuals with acute nerve trauma. A supervised, and focused, exercise program likewise would be routinely recommended in the context of any other peripheral nerve injury. This, unfortunately, is rarely the case for new moms; even if they are clearly manifesting symptoms of peripheral nerve injury. Not good. We can do better.