Can a nerve disorder cause weakness and bladder problems?

Q. Which nerve disorder will cause weakness and bladder problem?

Answered by
Dr. J. Mariano Anto Bruno Mascarenhas
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 04, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jul 28, 2023

Hi doctor,

I am a 27 year old male. I am suffering from a unique neurological disorder for about 5 years. I have consulted many doctors, but there is no improvement. So, I want your suggestion in regard to this. I am explaining my problem below. Five years ago, one morning when I got up from bed, I felt numbness in my left lower limb. It continues for a few days and then my right lower limb also felt the same. Apart from that, I also started feeling difficulty in passing urine. I consulted neurologist and they performed a number of tests, but could not find out the reason. They took the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of whole spine and brain, but there was nothing. Today, after five years, the condition is that I have very difficulty in walking and also I am using a catheter for passing urine. Each time using the process of self intermittent catheterization (SIC). My life has become a burden for me. I become a fully dependent person to others. If you can help me anything in this regard and if there is any cure of this disease, please let me know. I will be always thankful to you.



Welcome to I understand that you have numbness and weakness in legs, difficulty in walking and difficulty in passing urine. Please scan and send all the reports you have with you. We will evaluate and get back to you.

Thank you doctor,

I am sending discharge summary, which will help you better understanding of my situation. Also, I am attaching the other test reports, which were carried out time to time. I am in a deep trouble. Please help me.



Welcome back to

I have gone through the reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity). I find that you have been treated for this before five years and an MRI was done. You have again done the MRI after two years. In this MRI, there is an evidence of low lying conus. Let me explain to you what this means. Normally, vertebral column (the bone) grows much faster than spinal cord (the nerve). So, as an individual grows, there is a relative shortening of the spinal cord in reference to the vertebral column. Hence the spinal cord is situated along the upper aspect of the vertebral column and it is not stretched. But, in a few individuals, due to various reasons, the spinal cord is tethered and gets stretched. This stretching interferes with the blood supply. Hence, the patient gets weakness, stiffness, sensation loss, bowel and bladder problems. All the symptoms you have are because of this stretching of the cord. The nerve biopsy you had done was inconclusive, because the problem is actually at the spinal cord level. There are two reasons why it was not visualized in the MRI done earlier, but is seen in the MRI done later as it was in the early stages and became worse after two years and the latest and more power MRI machine found this anomaly. As a treatment, we need to surgically detach the attachments, so that the cord is not stretched. More than 30 people have undergone this surgery in the past two years and the results have been dramatic improvements in their problems and almost all of them are leading a normal life. The probable cause is tethered cord. The treatment plan is to do surgery to release tethering.

Thank you doctor,

Please tell me what is the percentage of a successful operation and what are the possible complications in it.



Welcome back to This surgery will improve the neurological status in more than 90% of patients.Total recovery is possible. Complications are quite rare and they include, 1. Complications of anesthesia: These are common to all surgeries. 2. There may not be any improvement in neurological status.

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