Cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a serious condition in which the bundle of nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord (cauda equina) are squeezed. Cauda equina syndrome may be associated with bowel and bladder problems as well as tingling or a loss of sensation and feeling to the lower pelvic (perineal) area and the legs; these symptoms require immediate medical attention and probable surgery.

Cauda equina syndrome is sometimes caused by a herniated disc that breaks open (ruptures) into the center of the spinal canal and produces a fragment large enough to compress the entire cauda equina. Other problems with the bones of the spine may also cause pressure on this nerve area, which controls some of the leg muscles and the functioning of the bladder, intestines, and genitals.

Last Updated: July 21, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.