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Double Incontinence Due to Cauda Equina Syndrome

Double Incontinence Due to Cauda Equina Syndrome

Double incontinence is a life-changing condition which can be very hard to deal with. Compensation for the negligence which led to your incontinence may help you to cope with this situation.

What is double incontinence?

Double incontinence refers to the situation where a person is unable to control their ability to wee and poo. This means that faeces and urine may leak from their body without their control or knowledge. It is also known as bowel or faecal incontinence and urinary incontinence.

A milder condition is where there is only partial loss of function so that the person only has a short amount of time to get to the toilet when they need to empty their bowel or bladder but they still have sufficient sensation to recognise the need.

Where someone has lost control of their bowel, they are likely to suffer from wind incontinence as well, meaning that they have lost the ability to prevent the passing of wind.

Why does cauda equina syndrome cause double incontinence?

Cauda equina syndrome can cause double incontinence because the cauda equina nerves have become compressed or squashed. These nerves send and receive messages to and from the lower body, specifically the lower limbs and saddle area the perineal area between the legs - and the buttocks.

Therefore, when these nerves become compressed and their functioning reduces, the person ceases to be aware that they need to open their bowel or bladder and nor can they send the necessary messages to the appropriate muscles to allow that to happen.

This is a neurological disorder. This means that the problem is caused by a dysfunction of the nerves, rather than a physical problem in the bowel or urinary tract.

How is double incontinence treated?

Someone who is doubly incontinent due to cauda equina syndrome may be fitted with a colostomy bag and/or catheter which will collect the faeces and urine automatically to prevent the person from soiling themselves.

If someone suffers from incontinence due to other reasons, various methods can be tried to improve symptoms such as medication, surgery or exercises but this is less likely when the cause is neurological.

Could it have been prevented?

The long-term impact of cauda equina syndrome appears to depend on the point at which decompression surgery is undertaken.

If the patient presents to their medical practitioner when they have already lost control of their urinary function, their long-term recovery of sensation and control is much less likely than had their syndrome been recognised and treated before this point.

However, if the patient still retains some urinary sensation when attending their medical practitioner, then time is of the essence and emergency investigation and treatment is vital in producing the best outcome. It is generally felt that decompression surgery within 48 hours of onset of symptoms is key to a good prognosis.

Medical Negligence

If your red flag cauda equina syndrome symptoms lower back pain, sciatica-like pain in the legs, altered urinary sensation - were not acted on urgently, leading you to have delayed treatment and a poor outcome, it may be that your GP or A&E practitioner have acted negligently.

Referral for an emergency MRI scan and subsequent surgery may have led to a far better outcome.

Speak to a solicitor

Glynns Solicitors is a team of solicitors, specialising in medical negligence cases, especially cauda equina syndrome. Contact us now to discuss your circumstances.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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