Pudendal neuralgia—also known as pudendal neuropathy—is an irritation or compression of the pudendal nerve, which can lead to chronic pain, potentially affecting your ability to use the bathroom and have sex.

It's easier to understand the condition if you first understand the pudendal nerve, which runs from the back of the pelvis to the base of the penis or vagina, where it then branches off into other nerves. The pudendal nerve provides sensation to your genitals, anus and other body parts.

In addition, the pudendal nerve provides sympathetic fibers that control erectile tissue critical for intercourse and the sphincter muscle, which opens and closes when you're using the bathroom. Damage or irritation to the pudendal nerve causes pudendal neuralgia.

Irritation or injury to the pudendal nerve can occur suddenly—for example, after breaking your pelvis or after surgery or childbirth. Other known causes include sustained pressure on the pelvis through aggressive bike riding, weightlifting and prolonged