Cauda equina syndrome is a serious condition in which the bundle
of nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord (cauda equina) is 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
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.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.