Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda Equina Syndrome is a very serious medical condition which requires urgent medical attention.
The longer it is left, the lower the chances of making a complete recovery.
Named after a horse’s tail, the cauda equina refers to the part below the spinal cord, where individual nerves pass downwards inside the spinal canal. These nerves control bowel, bladder and sexual function and sensation in the saddle area including the groin, buttocks and genitals and down the back of the legs, all the way to the feet.
Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome include herniated intervertebral discs, infections of the spinal canal, tumours near the spine, trauma to the lower spine and surgery on the spine in the lower back.
The severity of cauda equina syndrome symptoms generally relates to the severity of compression of the cauda equina. This onset can be sudden or gradual. Symptoms typically include sciatica (pain going down the back of the leg) on both sides, weakness or numbness that is getting worse, numbness around the genitals, difficulty urinating and loss of bowel control.
Other symptoms of low back pain may also be present, such as a lack of mobility, difficulty standing, pain with certain movements involving the low back.
Treatment for cauda equina syndrome typically involves surgery to reduce the pressure on the cauda equina. This is normally performed as soon as possible to prevent the condition from worsening.
If you suspect Cauda Equina Syndrome, speak to a doctor as soon as you can.