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Possible cauda equina? A little worried over here

Hello everyone,

This is embarrassing but I don't want to go to emerge if not necessary...

My back story is a little long. You can view my page, I believe, to see the whole thing. In short I have a herniated disc at L5/S1 with severe nerve root impingment, spinal stenosis, DDD, the works... anyways.. I am a mother of 2 and since giving birth I have always had a little bit of bladder leakage after say sneezing or something like that. Very common amongst mothers so I wasn't concerned. However this last week or so I have been noticing very frequent bladder leakage. If I say raise my voice to yell down the stairs for my daughter to come up my bladder leaks and not just a little bit, it's a gush and it happens so easily I can't stop it. I stepped down the stairs on our deck yesterday to go out to the garage and when I took the last step down I also laughed at the same time and my bladder leaked so much I had to go change my bottoms. I was so embarrassed as we had family over for dinner. I can feel my bladder when it is full but I dont feel much coming out. I don't even feel like I have to pee sometimes and it leaks out. I also have numbness in my inner thighs and in my groin region. It feels very weird when I wipe like numb and like nothing is there. I am very scared as this has been going on for a week and slowly getting worse. It is thanksgiving and neither my GP's  office or spine specialists office is open today. I know none of you are doctors and can diagnose me but I'm wondering if anyone with had similar symptoms as me and did end up having CES. 


  • I had VERY similar symptoms, but after two MRIs to rule out Cauda Equina Syndrome, it was discovered that I had excessive internal scar tissue at the surgical site that was extending into my spinal canal as well as trapping the nerves in the L4-S1 area.  That led to all the "saddle anesthesia", urinary issues, horrible pain, etc. 

    It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry with symptoms that resemble Cauda Equina.  I know you said you don't want to go to the ER--but if it is CES, you'd be doing more harm than good by letting it go untreated.  The faster the medical intervention, the better your chances are in not having damage that is permanent!!!!!  I am not saying this to frighten you, but would much rather see you get help and have it be "nothing" versus the alternative of doing nothing and having permanent nerve damage as a result...
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • foreverpain123foreverpain123 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 27
    Thank you kimmy. I have not had surgery ever. I think the main thing holding me back is the fear I'm so scared to have surgery specially as an emergency. My specialist and me were planning surgery but that was supposed to be like a year from now so I could prepare my self
     I'm not ready for emergency surgery. But like you said better safe then sorry. I just don't want to show up at emerge and turn out to be fine just have stress incontinence or something that I could have see my GP over not sit in emerge for 8 hours waiting to see a doctor. I can still walk and stuff my legs feel weak and dead but I'm not sure if that's related
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  • Yes, leg weakness can be related to CES.  Please get yourself some medical attention.  This is absolutely nothing to fool around with!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,521

    You never want to take the condition you are describing lightly.  I would contact your doctor(s) as soon as you are able to .
    You do not want it get to the point of   CES.  However, there would be several situations where this condition could start.
    One problem associated with Lumbar spinal stenosis and severe nerve compression is the lack of complete bladder control.   I had decompression surgery (laminectomy) on March 21, 2016.   This surgery was done one week after a recent MRI displayed the severity of the compression. 

    I had several situations where I lost bladder control.   Not a lot, but enough.   When I talked to the doctor, he was less concerned that it happened at night while sleeping, vs in the middle of the day.

    So, please its always better to be safe.  Have this checked out.  As Kimmy said, this condition is nothing to fool around with.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • Hi, 
    You are describing CES, the first thing doctors will ask someone is "any numbness between legs" & or "bladder control"... textbook. You need to get seen ASAP as the sooner you get treated the better the end result.

    4 days post my second and last microdisecomy to sort out the L5/S1 & L4/L5. I was looking out for symtoms of CES so i am quite familiar. Bit of a dose but worth it in the long run.. the procedures are very "simple" as my surgeon points out. So I wouldn't be worried, better sooner out of pain than later, you'll be back on your feet in no time.
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  • foreverpain123foreverpain123 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 27
    Thanks everyone. I am currently sitting in emerge. I went to see my GP this morning and I told him about my new symptoms and he said this was serious and I need to go to the ER. So here I am. I'm hoping they take me seriously and don't just dismiss me cuz I'm too young. I brought a copy of my mri report from 2014 that shows the herniation
     The pain in my back is at an all time high today :( 
  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 971
    edited 10/12/2016 - 3:14 AM


    It would seem that your herniation has gotten worse... but the thing I'm confused by is why would you and your doctor would "plan" on fixing it NEXT YEAR???  With your herniation some portion of your spinal column nerves are being crushed and the damage is getting worse and worse by the day.  Imagine what would happen if you caught your finger in the car door and said ok... I will just leave it stuck in the door and fix it sometime next year.  If you continue without actually resolving your herniation you run the risk of CES as Kimmy has said... as well as other permanent nerve damage.  Don't dance around this issue... get yourself properly fixed ASAP.

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
  • foreverpain123foreverpain123 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 27
    @hvills I live in Canada and it takes forever to get in to see a surgeon.  I'm on the waiting list. And I had to wait to see surgeon until I had an mri. 
  • foreverpain123foreverpain123 Alberta, CanadaPosts: 27
    According to the emerg doc the emergency mri I had shows there is nothing wrong with me. Not even the herniated disc or the DDD I was diagnosed with. I'm so frustrated. I think the radiologist that reviewed my mri seen my age and dismissed everything cuz I'm to young for back problems. I'm going to see my spine specialist and I'm going to have him look at the MRI because he was the one that diagnosed me with several back issues based on my 2014 MRI. I just don't understand how it could get better. I mean the herniation I can see getting better but the spinal stenosis and DDD especially doesn't fix itself
  • I understand how frustrating this whole process can be, but I'm glad you went.  Keep that fight in you!!!
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
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