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Meralgia Paresthetica: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Jan 3, 2024

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Causes Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Symptoms Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Risk Factors Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Diagnosis Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Treatment Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Medicine

Surgery

Meralgia Paresthetica Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Melalgia paresthetica, also known as lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment, is characterized by burning, tingling, and numbness in the outer thigh. The cause of it is a compressed nerve that gives a feeling to the skin of your thigh.

Meralgia paresthetica is frequently caused by pregnancy, obesity or weight gain, and wearing tight clothing. However, meralgia paresthetica can also be brought on by a medical condition like diabetes or local trauma.

The majority of the time, meralgia paresthetica can be lessened with cautious steps like dressing more loosely. Painkillers and, on rare occasions, surgery are available as treatments for severe cases.


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Causes Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Meralgia paresthetica is caused by compression or pinching of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which gives sensation to the outer part of your thigh. The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve affects only sensation; it does not affect your ability to contract your leg muscles.

This nerve passes from the groin to the upper thigh painlessly in most persons. But in meralgia paresthetica, the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve gets trapped, usually behind the inguinal ligament that runs from your abdomen to your upper thigh.

This compression is frequently brought on by any condition that puts pressure on the groin, such as:

  • Very tight clothing, like belts, corsets, and tight pants
  • Gaining weight or being obese
  • Wearing a heavy-duty tool belt
  • Having a pregnancy

The accumulation of abdominal fluid causing an increase in abdominal pressure scar tissue resulting from an injury or prior surgery near the inguinal ligament

Nerve damage can also cause meralgia paresthetica; this can be caused by diabetes, surgical trauma, or injuries sustained from seat belts in an automobile accident, for example.

The accumulation of abdominal fluid causing an increase in abdominal pressure scar tissue resulting from an injury or prior surgery near the inguinal ligament

Nerve damage can also cause meralgia paresthetica; this can be caused by diabetes, surgical trauma, or injuries sustained from seat belts in an automobile accident, for example.

Also Read: Migraine: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Symptoms Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Meralgia paresthetica may cause the following symptoms relating to the lateral (outside) thigh:

  • Sensitivity and numbness
  • A burning pain
  • Reduced discomfort and increased sensitivity to even small amounts of pressure
  • Usually affecting one side of the body, these symptoms may worsen while standing or moving.

Also Read: Pericardial Effusion: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Risk Factors Of Meralgia Paresthetica

The following factors may make meralgia paresthetica more likely to occur:

  • Obesity: Your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve may be under more pressure if you are overweight or obese.
  • Maternity: As your belly grows, your groin's lateral femoral cutaneous nerve becomes increasingly strained.
  • Diabetes: Meralgia paresthetica may be brought on by diabetic nerve degeneration.
  • Age: Individuals who are thirty to sixty years old are more vulnerable.

Also Read: Gilbert Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Diagnosis Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Your doctor may typically diagnose you with meralgia paresthetica based on a physical examination and medical history. He or she may examine the affected thigh's sensation in addition to asking you to describe the discomfort and potentially point out the place that is sore or numb. Additional testing, such as strength and reflex tests, may be carried out to help rule out other possible causes for the symptoms.

To rule out other issues like femoral neuropathy or a nerve root problem, your doctor might recommend the following:

  • Imaging-related research: Even though an X-ray of your hip and pelvic region might not reveal any distinct changes if you have meralgia paresthetica, it could help rule out other illnesses.
  • If your doctor thinks that your discomfort could be coming from a tumor, they might suggest an MRI or CT scan.
  • Electromyography: This test counts the electrical discharges produced in the muscles to evaluate and diagnose problems affecting the muscles and nerves. A tiny needle electrode is implanted to record electrical activity in the muscle. Meralgia paresthetica is diagnosed based on normal test findings; however, in circumstances when the diagnosis is not apparent, it may be required to rule out other illnesses.
  • Nerve conduction study: A low-level electrical current is used to activate the nerve by the application of electrode patches on your skin. The electrical impulse makes it easier to diagnose nerve damage. The lateral femoral cutaneous nerves on both sides can be compared.

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Treatment Of Meralgia Paresthetica

Most people find that their meralgia paresthetica symptoms subside within a few months. Releasing nerve compression is the aim of treatment.

Conservative activities include:

  • Loose Clothing 
  • Cutting down on excess body weight
  • Taking over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin

Medicine

The following therapies may be administered to you if your symptoms are severe or if they have persisted for more than two months:

  • Corticosteroid injections: Injections provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. Possible adverse effects include skin whitening around the injection site, pain, joint infection, and nerve damage.
  • Tricyclic mood boosters: These medications might improve your mood. Among the negative effects are diminished sexual function, constipation, dry mouth, and drowsiness.
  • Gabapentin , phenytoin , or pregabalin: These anti-seizure medications might be able to lessen your agonizing pain. Among the side effects are nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, constipation, and drowsiness.

Surgery

Decompressing the nerve is an uncommon surgical choice. Patients with severe and ongoing symptoms are the only ones who should select this option.

Also Read: Dyspnea: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

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