As a disorder commonly found in both men and women of any age, female suffers of Trigeminal Neuralgia most often report the onset of sudden nerve pain in the face around the time of menopause. As a woman, understanding the cause and origin of Trigeminal Neuralgia, in addition to the sudden and excruciating facial symptoms and recommended treatment plan, will provide for a more aggressive approach to healthcare during this life altering period in a woman’s life.
Trigeminal Neuralgia is a medical term used to describe the associated medical pain and inflammation of the trigeminal nerve; the fifth cranial nerve. Within the trigeminal nerve there is a branch like mechanism which allow for the functionality of the trigeminal nerve to impact the eyes, nose and mouth area. In Trigeminal Neuralgia patients, the cause and origin of pain is most likely associated with a cardiovascular complication involving an artery or vein, within the brain, compressing against the deeply embedded trigeminal nerve resulting in the abnormal activity of the trigeminal nerve at varying times and with varying degrees. Beyond cardiovascular complications, the pain associated with Trigeminal Neuralgia is, in rare cases, associated with more severe conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or even a brain tumor.
Symptoms of Trigeminal Neuralgia are often described, by patients, as a blunt, sudden onset of sharp pain along the area with which the trigeminal nerve is most associated; the lips, eyes, ears and especially around the jaw area which typically is found on one side of the face impacting those facial nerves which are in proximity to the trigeminal nerve which is damaged. In terms of the medical community’s response to Trigeminal Neuralgia, the condition is considered one of the most significant in terms of pain response with very little options for the patient in terms of cure or relief. In fact, many menopausal women describe the pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia as that of being electrocuted to one side of the face.
Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia in all patients, but especially in women, commonly begins with the use of a combination prescription drug approach involving the use of anti-depressants and prescription drugs which work to inhibit the excitatory response in nerve tissue. Most often, female patients, suffering with Trigeminal Neuralgia will use medications such as Neurontin and may even combine this treatment with the use of a muscle relaxer. However, due to the potential side effects, many menopausal women are inconsistent in daily dosing and, therefore, find prescription drug treatment as an ineffective method for alleviating Trigeminal Neuralgia pain.
Beyond prescription medications, in the female patient suffering with Trigeminal Neuralgia, a neurosurgeon may recommend surgical intervention to relieve the activity of the trigeminal nerve. With many surgical procedures to be considered, the option chosen will vary depending on the health states of the female patient in addition to the degree and severity with which Trigeminal Neuralgia pain affects the menopausal woman. With risks for complications low, many women waiver on the decision to undergo surgical correction of Trigeminal Neuralgia not based upon the 85 percent success rate but due to the large incidence of recurrence of symptoms within five years of surgery.
With many women, entering menopause, who may already be subjected to the use of hormone therapy medications and medications to control symptoms associated with menopause, the use of additional prescription medications to treat Trigeminal Neuralgia seems, at times, to become overwhelming. As an alterative medicine approach, menopausal women, suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia are turning to pain relief through treatments with a chiropractor, massage therapist and even an acupuncturist. For many female patients, the use of psychological intervention coupled with biofeedback sessions, provides for some degree of natural healing and relief.
As a woman suffering with facial pain, often mimicking that of a toothache, the root cause of this pain may be associated with a case of Trigeminal Neuralgia. When experiencing sudden, and excruciating, facial pain, consultation with a neurologist should take place immediately so as to rule out other co morbid health complications such as MS or a brain tumor. When co morbid factors are ruled out, discuss the combination approach of prescription drugs, surgery and alternative medicine to achieve optimal results in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia.
For more information regarding TN, visit www.emedicine.com.