The Cauda Equina nerves are the communication gateway between the brain and the bowel. If these nerves suffer an injury or trauma, it can have devastating effects on the function of the bowel.
What to look our for
The effects on the bowel can range greatly between mild and complete loss of normal function. It is important to realize what is normal for you, and to look out for any changes to this. Bowel disturbance could mean any small or large degree of incontinence or constipation. Some people may be affected with immediate dysfunction, for others it could be a gradual loss of function over time.
It is important to note that it is possible to have CES without suffering from bowel dysfunction. Other red flag signs and symptoms might take prominence. Alternatively you might experience loss of sensation when passing a bowel motion, which can be another indicator of CES.
Incontinence or constipation are the two most obvious signs that your bowel function has changed for the worst. Incontinence is the loss of control over your bowel movements, whilst constipation is difficulty in passing a bowel motion.
What to do
If you are concerned by change in your bowel function, as with other red flag symptoms, speak to your doctor. It is important that if you are affected in this way you should seek immediate medical advice. Especially if symptoms are in tandem with back problems or back pain.
Because of the seriousness of Cauda Equina Syndrome, do not hesitate to contact your GP or your nearest A&E department. An urgent MRI scan is required to rule out CES. It is vital that, should CES be found, decompression surgery is performed as soon as possible. It is said that surgery within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms will achieve the best prognosis.
In the worst cases, the symptoms can become permanent – even after successful surgery to repair or replace the prolapsed disc. This can be life-changing. If you are feel that your concerns were not taken seriously at an early stage then you might be able to follow up with legal action. Compensation can help pay for any financial loss such as not being able to work or ongoing rehabilitation treatment.
Get in touch with us today for specialist legal advice.
Lauren Hebdon is a specialist medical negligence solicitor at Bridge McFarland LLP, dealing with cases relating to the delayed diagnosis or treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome on a daily basis.