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Cauda Equina Syndrome

thedreamertthedreamer Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Arthritis, Osteoarthritis
Can someone please explain Cauda Equina Syndrome to me? i am not sure if i should bring up some symptoms to my neurosurgeon next week and I probably won't if I don't think it is related to my cervical spinal stenosis. Thanks Sharon


  • or if it is related to my lumbar spine problems etc.... thanks
  • Sharon,

    90% of Cauda Equina (stats via net research) happens due to issues at the L5/S1 levels, but can occur at higher levels. Below your L1 or L2 the spinal cord ends and individual nerves take on a 'horse tail' like appearance. Sometimes a herniated disk, stenosis or other various conditions compress the cauda equina. Some of the symptoms are....

    1. Bladder/bowel. Incontinence, or being unable to fully empty - can't tell if you are done?

    2. Having loss or 'altered' sensation between your legs, butt, back of your legs (like sciatica), your saddle area and maybe your feet.

    3. Legs again..."pain, numbness, or weakness" in one or both legs.

    The biggie to me is the bowel/bladder issues. I have stenosis due to epidural fat at my L5/S1 and have been having problems in the bladder area, but for some reason my Neurologist isn't "alarmed" about it? I also have problems in my feet, and only occasional pain in the back of my thighs. I know if it gets more problematic I will bypass my Neurologist!!

    I hope this helps. I know for me, "accidents" are not fun! Please let us know how it goes. Fingers crossed you don't have it, but if you have what I listed above, see your doctor or go to the ER if needed.


    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks to both of you for the information and link, was very useful. I don't think I have it, I just think I have stress incontinence, ugh. Sharon
  • That's good to hear. Stress isn't great, but it beats CES. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have also been curious about CES. Is the loss of urine or fecal matter something that is continual or would it be sporadic? I have been debating whether to bring this up with my doc too as it is very embarrassing...and how would you know if it was because of medications or other medical issues?

    Thanks for any feedback

    C4/5 fusion (2006), 11+ years Lumbar pain (MRI moderate facet hypertrophy L4/5 w mild disk space narrowing and minimal disk bulging. mild stenosis L5/S1 milde diffuse disk bulge w/o protrusion w minimal facet hypertrophy w/ mild bilat foraminal narrowing..tons of facet rhysotomy, epidurals, and nerve blocks.
  • Mamacita,
    If you think you have or may have CES or Cauda Equina Syndrome, you NEED to tell your surgeon first thing Monday morning. It is not a continuous leakage of urine or fecal matter, it is more of a lack of ability to hold your urine or fecal matter or have a complete emptying of the bladder or bowel material.
    It depends on where the nerves are compressed , as to how or where it can effect you. The ONLY way to rule it in or out is to talk with your doctor, and the longer you wait, the less likely you are to have a good outcome, so you really do need to be calling first thing tomorrow,
    It will not be the first time that they have discussed those symptoms with a patient, I promise.
    You don't want to wind up like me....a two time sufferer.....
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