Spina bifida occurs when a baby is spine and spinal cord does not fully develop in the womb, causing a gap to form within the spine. This happens within four weeks of conception, as part of the neural tube does not develop properly, leading to defects in the spinal-cord and spine.
There are multiple types of spina bifida, with spina bifida occulta being the most common. This is the where one or more vertebrae does not form properly, causing a small gap within the spine. It doesn't usually cause problems and most people do not realise that they have it.
People with spina bifida are able to have surgery to close the opening within the spine, however damage to the nervous system can often lead to other problems.
The symptoms might include:
- Weakness or paralysis of the legs
- Bowel incontinence and urinary incontinence
- Loss of skin sensation around the legs and bottom (i.e. the person cannot feel 'hot' or 'cold' which can lead to injury
Many people who have spina bifida may also develop hydrocephalus, which can cause brain damage. People who have spina bifida may also experience learning difficulties.
All information is from the NHS website - please feel free to check out the website for more information on spina bifida.
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