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Cauda Equina
Sexual Dysfunction and Cauda Equina Syndrome

Sexual Dysfunction and Cauda Equina Syndrome

Debates regarding the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome frequently focus on the development of urinary incontinence, but loss of sexual functioning can also be a distressing outcome of the condition.

How does CES affect sexual function?

One of the many distressing symptoms of cauda equina syndrome is the impact both on the sensation of sexual experience as well as the performance of sexual intercourse.

Numbness in the 'saddle' area between the legs can lead to a loss of sensation for both men and women during sexual intercourse.

Loss of motor control in the genital region can cause men to be unable to achieve an erection or to be able to ejaculate.

These symptoms can put significant pressure on a relationship at a time when the sufferer is also experiencing an additional range of unpleasant and debilitating physical and psychological symptoms.

Why does this happen?

Cauda equina syndrome is caused by compression of the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spinal cord.

The cauda equina nerves control the passing of messages between the brain and the pelvic region and lower body. Consequently, when someone is suffering from cauda equina syndrome, messages of sensation and feeling in the genital area may not reach the brain. Likewise, instructions from the brain to the muscles of the genital area are not received either.

Is recovery of sexual function possible?

Loss of sexual function can be destructive to the sufferer's self-confidence and the hope of recovery can be a significant factor in coping with the condition.

The chances of the recovery of sexual function in cauda equina syndrome appears to depend on the extent of neurological loss prior to surgery. This means that the greater the loss of nerve function between the genitals and the brain, and the longer that loss is established, the less likely it is that function will be fully recovered, if at all.

The timing of surgery in relation to the severity of the symptoms is also of significance. Where loss of sensation and control is only partial, prompt surgery would seem to offer the greatest chance of recovery or at least of preventing further deterioration.

However, where loss of sensation and control has already been established, the chances of recovery would appear to be reduced.

Delayed Diagnosis and Surgery

It is clear, therefore, that prompt diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome is of the utmost importance.

A delay in either or both can allow symptoms to deteriorate to the point where the outcome of surgery is likely to be less positive.

Medical Negligence

If your red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome were not diagnosed, leaving you with the distressing long-term loss of sexual function, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

At Glynns Solicitors we have dealt successfully with many cauda equina syndrome compensation claims. Contact us to discuss your circumstances with an experienced, medical negligence solicitor.

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