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  • Writer's pictureNicole Cozean

Are my IC symptoms coming from my pudendal nerve?

For many people (almost 90% of those diagnosed with IC) tight muscles in the pelvic floor irritate the nerves running through the area. One of the most important of these is the pudendal nerve.

Finding Pelvic Sanity Podcast: Does My 'IC Phenotype' Matter?

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So what symptoms might be caused by pudendal nerve irritation? One is urethral burning or pain. One branch of the pudendal runs right to the urethra, so it is often responsible for urethral pain or burning.

The pudendal can also be the cause of urinary urgency and frequency. It connects to the bladder. Usually these nerves are ‘silent’, but with IC they are often activated and continue to send signals to the brain. When the brain interprets these as the urgent need to urinate, we get urinary urgency and/or frequency.

(Just a note - Often when we hear ‘pudendal nerve’ we do a Google search and see information about pudendal neuralgia. This is obviously a scary diagnosis. But what we are talking about here is pudendal nerve irritation. We actually compare it to something we’re more familiar with - sciatica)

So it’s definitely possible pudendal nerve irritation is driving symptoms.

There are many other nerves in the area which can be causing symptoms as well, so that’s where a pelvic PT can both figure out what is going on and work to address the issue.

This also explains why many people with IC-like symptoms are given bladder-focused treatments (bladder instillations, Elmiron, hydrodistensions, etc.) without benefit.

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As Nicole said in the full 'sode of the podcast on this topic...

"Often symptoms like urethral burning, rectal pain, or the urinary urgency/frequency of IC is actually being caused by irritation of the pudendal nerve. A qualified pelvic PT can determine what is going on and release the tight muscles that are bothering the nerve." -Nicole Cozean, Pelvic Sanity

If you’re dealing with pelvic health issues, make sure you join our free FB support group (Finding Pelvic Sanity), follow us for more information on Instagram (@pelvicsanity) and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify for wherever you get your podcasts!


Who are we at PelvicSanity?

At PelvicSanity, it's our mission to support patients with pelvic pain and pelvic floor symptoms, regardless of where you live. We can help with:

- In-person treatment for those in Southern California at the PelvicSanity clinic

- Immersive Out-of-Town program for those able to travel

- Remote Consultations to get you expert 1:1 help, advice and an action plan

- Online patient courses on Interstitial Cystitis and Movement for Pelvic Health

- A Facebook support group for patients called Finding Pelvic Sanity.


Nicole Cozean

Dr. Nicole Cozean is the founder of PelvicSanity Physical Therapy in Orange County, CA. PelvicSanity treats patients from all over the world with remote consultations and the Immersive Out of Town Program. She also runs Pelvic PT Rising, training other pelvic PTs to better serve patients.

Named Physical Therapist of the Year, Dr. Nicole is author of the award-winning book The Interstitial Cystitis Solution and the first PT to serve on the ICA Board of Directors, Her passion is helping those with pelvic health issues - regardless of where they live - find lasting relief.

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