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CES: Bowel and Bladder Dysfunction

CES: Bowel and Bladder DysfunctionComplete cauda equina syndrome can leave the patient with permanent bowel and bladder dysfunction. Both the physical and psychological impact of these problems can be utterly life-changing and extremely distressing.

The nature of CES bladder problems

A patient with complete cauda equina syndrome may well have lost both sensation and function of the bladder. This will mean that they no longer realise that they need to urinate and may retain urine painlessly. It may also mean that they pass urine without meaning to, essentially becoming incontinent.

Some patients cope with this situation by making themselves urinate to a timetable to ensure that they are emptying their bladder and to try to avoid involuntary leakage.

Some patients need to use a catheter to control the passing of urine.

The nature of CES bowel symptoms

Long-term bowel symptoms of cauda equina syndrome can be the loss of feeling and function around the anus. This can mean that the patient does not realise that they need to defecate. It can also mean that they cannot control the passing of faeces.

Some people with cauda equina syndrome suffer urgency and feel the need to be constantly close to toilet facilities.

Some people need to evacuate their bowels manually in order to try to avoid involuntary defecation.

For some patients, it is necessary to undergo a colostomy in order to deal with their bowel problems.

The impact of incontinence

The incontinence which is often associated with cauda equina syndrome can dramatically alter someone’s life. In addition to the challenge of coping with the physical problem itself, it can become extremely difficult to work, travel and socialise. People can become isolated and depressed.

Avoiding incontinence

If cauda equina syndrome is diagnosed at the right moment, there is a good chance that the patient will recover some or all of their bladder and bowel function.

For this to happen, however, it is necessary for the condition to be diagnosed and treated before complete loss of bladder sensation and control. Once this point has been reached, the chances of a successful outcome from surgery is reduced.

Medical negligence

The nature of the long-term impact of cauda equina syndrome means it is vital that medical practitioners refer a patient for an MRI scan where they have any suspicion that they may be developing the condition.

A failure to recognise the implication of the symptoms, to warn of red flag symptoms or to refer for an emergency MRI scan may be regarded as medically negligent.

If you or a loved one are suffering from the devastating impact of cauda equina syndrome due to a delay in diagnosis and treatment, contact us to discuss your situation with a medical negligence specialist.

You may wish to consider making a claim for compensation which can help alleviate some of the difficulties you are probably encountering.

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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