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Difficulty Passing Urine – Do I Have Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Difficulty passing urine is a sign of cauda equina syndrome. However, there will also be other symptoms which together indicate the presence of cauda equina compression.

Therefore if you are having trouble passing water, you need to consider whether you also have the other ‘red flag’ symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. If so, you must seek immediate medical help.

Difficulty passing water

According to Consultant Neurosurgeon Mr Todd, ‘the commonest cause of difficulty in passing urine in patients with lumbar degenerative disorders is pain and not cauda equina syndrome.’

In other words, if you are suffering from lower back pain, it is possible that you will have trouble passing urine because of the pain you are in. It does not necessarily mean that you have cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina syndrome

Nevertheless, there is a possibility that something more sinister is at play. To make certain that your problems are not being caused by a serious neurological condition – such as cauda equina syndrome – you need to watch out for other symptoms.

For instance, someone who develops cauda equina syndrome will often have low back pain and urinary difficulties. There will also be:

Investigating cauda equina syndrome

Someone who develops these symptoms, along with difficulty passing urine, should undergo urgent investigations for cauda equina syndrome.

Even if a patient’s symptoms are not entirely consistent with cauda equina syndrome, he/she she be sent to hospital for immediate assessment. This should either lead to an emergency MRI scan or, if an emergency MRI scan is not deemed mandatory, a patient should be admitted for observation and an MRI scan performed the following day.

Cauda equina syndrome requires prompt treatment, so it is not sufficient for an MRI scan to be deferred for weeks or months.

Summary

The red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are low back pain, numbness in the ‘saddle’ area and urinary difficulties. A patient who presents with these features mandates urgent consideration of cauda equina syndrome. The patient should be admitted to hospital and arrangements made for an MRI scan within the next 24 to 48 hours.

If there is a failure to achieve this standard of care, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim. This might be taken against a GP, the hospital or and/or other healthcare professionals.

To talk to our cauda equina lawyers about claiming compensation for cauda equina syndrome, please get in touch with us 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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