What Is a Superior Hypogastric Plexus Block?
A superior hypogastric plexus block (SHPB) is a pain relief treatment consisting of a series of injections that are used to alleviate pain in the lower abdomen and pelvis. Patients who are suffering from any pain or discomfort in their pelvic structures, including the uterus, ovaries, vagina, prostate, and testicles, can benefit from this treatment.
Through these injections, the plexus—which is located at the end of the spinal cord and connects to the colon, lower intestine, uterus, prostate, rectum, urethra, and other pelvic organs—will be blocked, preventing pain signals from reaching your brain. Without the brain’s knowledge that pain is being felt, patients find long-term relief from their pelvic pain through this treatment.
What Conditions Can Superior Hypogastric Plexus Blocks Treat?
During a SHPB treatment, needles will be placed in your back as well as both sides of the spine. These will then be positioned where the superior hypogastric plexus is located. Injections will be inserted in this area to relieve pain from the following conditions:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Uncontrolled pain in the lower abdomen, colon, intestine, vagina, penis, or testicles
- Recurrent pelvic inflammatory disease
- Pain that comes from the uterus, vulva, prostate, rectum, or urethra
- Medical conditions such as prostate gland inflammation, pelvic fibrosis, injury of pelvic muscles, or endometriosis
- Myofascial pelvic pain due to damaged tissue
How Do I Know When I Need a Superior Hypogastric Plexus Block?
If you have tried medications or another form of treatment to alleviate pain in your pelvic area but have not seen any improvements, this may be a sign that your next option for treatment should be a superior hypogastric plexus block.
Am I a Candidate for a Superior Hypogastric Plexus Block?
Ideal candidates for a superior hypogastric plexus block treatment include people who are experiencing the following:
- Chronic pain that comes from the pelvic region
- No relief from other treatments
- Medical or pre-existing health conditions that affect the organs in your pelvic region
Are There Any Side Effects of Superior Hypogastric Plexus Block?
Just like any other pain management treatment, there are several side effects that come with a superior hypogastric plexus block treatment. These side effects may include:
- Severe pain
- Weakness or numbness
- Infection at the injection site
At The Pain Experts of Arizona, we understand that many of our patients experience pain already. That’s why our highly trained team of doctors takes great care to provide patients with treatments that prioritize their comfort and safety. Patients can expect to easily manage their side effects under our care.
What Is Recovery Like After Treatment?
After receiving your superior hypogastric plexus block treatment, your recovery period will be an experience unique to you. While most patients can feel pain relief in their pelvic region within 30 minutes of treatment, others may begin to feel longer-term relief within two to three days. Some patients experience temporary pain relief until after their anesthetic wears off and then discover their pain goes away overall within several days.
Pain relief can last for several weeks. A superior hypogastric plexus block treatment requires little downtime, and patients can return home immediately after their injection session. We recommend avoiding driving and physical activity for up to 24 hours, but most patients can return to their normal routines the day after treatment.