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Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a very rare but serious condition, where the bundle of nerves called the Cauda Equina at the bottom of the spine get compressed. The Cauda Equina control the function of the bladder and bowel, and the sensation to the skin of the genitals and bottom area.

The most common cause of compression to the Cauda Equina is a central disc prolapse although other causes are possible.


Cauda Equina Syndrome warning signs

  • Loss of feeling / pins and needles between your inner thighs or genitals
  • Numbness in and around your back passage or buttocks
  • Altered feeling when using toilet paper to wipe yourself
  • Increasing difficulty when you try to urinate
  • Increasing difficulty when your try to stop or control your flow of urine
  • Loss of sensation when you pass urine
  • Leaking urine, or a recent need to use pads
  • Not knowing when your bladder is either full or empty
  • Inability to stop bowel movement or leaking
  • Loss of sensation when you pass a bowel motion
  • Change in ability to achieve and erection or ejaculate
  • Loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse


If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your Emergency Department straight away. Without early interventions, the possible consequences can be devastating, including irreversible damage to bladder and bowel function, and sexual dysfunction.