Pain in the groin means you never sit down the same way again. One study found 22% of pelvic surgery nerve injuries were in the ilioinguinal-iliohypogastric nerves. Women say they feel burning, tingling, pain and numbness on their upper thighs. Your ilioinguinal nerve branches off your L1-2 nerve roots, which is near your lower back. It branches down through your second and third abdominal muscles and communicates with your iliohypogastric nerve, whose main function is to regulate your diaphragm (the muscle that helps you breathe) and the areas around it. Your ilioinguinal nerve moves further down, eventually branching out into the upper part of your thigh muscles. It eventually reaches your mons pubis and labia majora, providing sensation to all these areas. It innervates your abdominal muscles, groin and thigh.
An ilioinguinal nerve that is severed in abdominal surgery leads to pain in thighs and labia majora and a weakening of the local muscle fibers. In some people, the ilioinguinal nerve ends at the iliohypogastric nerve.
Signs & Symptoms
• Pain in the groin radiating to genitals and upper medial thigh
• Paresthesia in the groin area
• Tenderness on palpation 2-3 cm medial and below the anterior superior iliac spine
• Pain or tingling with percussion over course of nerve (Tinel Sign)
• Pain elicited with hyperextension of hip which further compresses the nerve
• Weakness is not usually noted with impingement unless it is secondary due to discomfort.
Treatment: Rest, ice, ultrasound, anti-inflammatory and/or pain medication, local corticosteroid injections, and abdominal stretching. Surgically, the nerve could be cut leaving permanent numbness but, typically, this treatment is used only after all other alternatives have been exhausted.
Naturopaths recommend acupressure and acupuncture are other alternative modes, certain herbs such as lobelia, white sage, and valerian root, known to be effective in nerve disease.
Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. This is an excerpt from Pelvis in Flames: Your Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Your input is welcome to help make Pelvis in Flames the book you need to read.
If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, join my group, Surgical Mesh or check the list of support groups here.
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