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Bowel Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is associated with a number of symptoms, one of which is bowel dysfunction. In this article we look at the bowel symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, explaining why they happen and when you need to seek medical attention.

Bowel dysfunction of cauda equina syndrome

The cauda equina nerves sit at the bottom of the spinal cord. They enable function of the pelvic organs (including the bowel, bladder and genitalia) and provide sensation to the legs and saddle area (including the buttocks, rectum, genitals and perineum).

When the cauda equina nerves are compressed, they will become injured and lose function. Sensation will therefore be lost in the legs and saddle area, while the pelvic organs will no longer work properly. This will lead to various different problems, including bowel dysfunction.

Many people who are in the early stages of cauda equina syndrome experience a degree of constipation. This is often compounded by the use of strong painkillers, used to help relieve the chronic leg and back pain caused by spinal nerve compression.

However, because of the loss of sensation in the rectum, there will also be poor anal tone. Therefore when a person with cauda equina syndrome does pass a stool, he or she may not be able to feel what is happening. This can also result in the inability to prevent the passing of a stool, leading to faecal incontinence.

Other symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

Alongside constipation, loss of anal tone and faecal incontinence, cauda equina syndrome will also cause:-

Anyone who is suffering these physical complaints should seek urgent medical attention.

Recognising the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

When a patient presents to their GP or hospital with these symptoms, medical professionals should recognise them as being indicative of cauda equina compression. Steps must then be taken to confirm whether this diagnosis is correct, or whether another problem is at play. A physical examination and an MRI scan will help to verify a diagnosis.

If there is a failure on the part of medical professionals to recognise the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, causing a delayed diagnosis, the standard of care will be considered unacceptable. If the patient consequently suffers unnecessary complications, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

To find out if you can claim for cauda equina syndrome, get in touch with us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors today.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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