5 Long-Term Side Effects of Epidural


Yes, an epidural can do wonders in reducing the pain associated with child birth. But, did you know that while you can do away with pain, the use of epidural can have long lasting side effects on your health that your doctor may not have discussed with you. Read on for more!

5 Long-Term Side Effects of Epidural

Epidurals are generally known to be safe. However, it may leave certain long-term side effects in the body that you should know. During delivery and labor, epidurals are one of the most effective solutions for pain relief. In the case of operations in the pelvis, legs or abdomen, it turns out to be an effective means of anaesthesia. Even after operations are over, it is used to control the pain. The process of incorporating epidurals involves implanting a needle, along with a tube near the spinal cord. The needle injects into the epidural space in this region. Certain risks are involved in the process. Although the long-term effects are less likely, you must be aware of the impact of these impacts. Here are five long-term effects of epidurals you should know.

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Loss of bladder control

In case the needed is not injected into the right area, it may damage certain nerves. In these cases, it becomes difficult to control the bladder. Even after the operation or delivery is over, the person may find it difficult to control the bladder. Although chances for this kind of damage are less, the risk cannot be totally eliminated. Generally, the bladder starts functioning in the normal way after the epidural is removed. However, if it damages the nerves around the area, the problem may last for a long time.


During epidurals, the needle is inserted close to the spine. In case it punctures the fluid-containing bag surrounding the spine, it may cause severe headaches in the long run. You may have to get specific treatment to get rid of this headache. Most of the time, the needle is inserted by experts, so that the risk of damaging the bag containing fluid is minimized. However, if the fluid bag gets punctured, the person may suffer from frequent headaches.

effects of epidural


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Damage of nerves

This is one of the most serious long-term effects of epidurals. If any of the nerves close to the spinal cord gets damaged, it can cause numbness in particular regions of the body. Generally, it occurs in the lower areas of the body. The movement and strength of the affected area may remain the same. However, the damaged nerve may cause discomfort or numbness in these areas. In severe conditions, it may result in the loss of movements of certain parts of the body. However, these damages are not too frequent and cases of severe damages are limited.


In certain cases, the area around the epidural tube may get an infection. Although infections do not generally occur, it may lead to serious conditions in severe cases. Generally, the physicians prescribe antibiotics to heal the infection. It subsides in a short period of time. However, it may lead to further complications if the infection does not dry up. It may spread to the surrounding areas, resulting in severe pain. If antibiotics fail to heal the infection, a surgery may be needed. The affected area is operated upon by the surgeons and the infection is removed.

Reduced possibilities of breastfeeding

Neurobehavioral abnormalities may result in a condition that reduces the possibilities of normal breastfeeding. In certain cases, epidurals lead to these complications, where the mother is unable to breastfeed the baby in the way she desires. It is caused as epidurals may affect the hormones responsible for milk secretion. The bond between the mother and the baby does not grow. The mother finds it difficult to breastfeed the baby and this results in long-term problems.

Well, these cases do not occur too frequently, but at times, it may leave long-lasting results in a person’s life. Besides, a wrong drug may be accidentally injected into the body, which may have negative effects in the long run. Deaths hardly occur due to faulty injection procedures, but these chances can never be completely ruled out.

It is for this reason that only experts are entrusted with the job of injecting the needle into the body of the patient. Women giving C-section delivering are often injected with this anaesthesia. It may affect their ability to breastfeed the child. Epidural is necessary to get the right professionals in place before injecting the needle. It reduces the risks to a considerable extent.


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