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Home » Latest News » Can Changes In Your Routine Be A Sign Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Can Changes In Your Routine Be A Sign Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Can Changes In Your Routine Be A Sign Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) can be a life-changing condition for some and it is therefore essential that if a patient presents to a medical professional with any of the below red flag signs and symptoms, appropriate treatment is provided on an urgent basis.

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) can be a life-changing condition for some and it is therefore essential that if a patient presents to a medical professional with any of the below red flag signs and symptoms, appropriate treatment is provided on an urgent basis. The five red flag signs and symptoms are:

  1. Bowel disturbance
  2. Bladder disturbance
  3. Saddle anaesthesia
  4. Sexual problems
  5. Nerve root pain

The focus of this article will be on the red flag sign and symptom of bowel disturbance.

Why does bowel disturbance occur in CES patients?

Within the spine are a bundle of nerves called the Cauda Equina and they are responsible for communicating messages between the brain and the bowel. If those nerves become compressed, bowel disturbance may occur.

What is bowel disturbance?

It is important to understand that bowel disturbance doesn’t simply mean incontinence or a complete loss of control of the bowel. Whilst a CES patient can suffer from a complete loss or inability to control their bowel when the Cauda Equina nerves are compressed, bowel disturbance may present more subtly for some.

Some CES patients may experience constipation – the opposite of an inability to control the bowel. It is therefore important for patient’s to note what may be unusual for them in respect of their usual bowel habits and ensure that if asked about their bowels that they report anything which does not seem normal to them.

In addition to the above, some CES patients may experience a loss of sensation when passing a bowel motion.

Not all CES patient’s will suffer the same level of bowel disturbance and they may suffer varying degrees of the above issues. On the other hand, some CES patient’s may have no bowel symptoms but perhaps one or more of the other red flag signs and symptoms listed at the start of this article.

Can bowel disturbance be resolved with treatment?

If a patient experiences bowel disturbance, it is imperative that they seek immediate medial care from their GP or nearest A&E department. It is vital that a diagnosis and treatment is provided on a most urgent basis. In order to achieve a better prognosis for patients with CES, surgery should occur within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Following surgery, some patient’s may experience a full recovery from any bowel disturbance symptoms. However, some patients may not experience an improvement in their bowel disturbance symptoms until some months or even years after surgery. In the worst cases, some patients can experience permanent bowel disturbance and require ongoing care to help them manage their symptoms.

Can I make a medical negligence claim if there has been a delay in diagnosing and treating Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Yes,  if you believe that you have been let down during your assessment or treatment please get in touch with our medical negligence solicitors who will be able to advise on a potential claim for compensation.