Spina Bifida Occulta: Last week I went, with my 10 year... - ERIC


4,919 members1,998 posts

Spina Bifida Occulta


Last week I went, with my 10 year old son, to the chiropractor because he has had a aching knee for a couple of weeks. After a quick examination, she asked whether his Spina Bifida Occulta had caused him any problems. At which point you could have picked me up off the floor. She could obviously see the look of panic, stress and disbelief on my face and quickly went on to try and reassure me that it was extremely common and mild form of Spina Bifida and often shows no ill effects or symptoms. She showed me the dimple in the small of his back and said that it can sometimes cause weakness or numbness in the legs or lack of bladder or bowel control. Anyway, I have since read everything I can find on Google and we had an appointment with the GP this morning. It appears that his very late potty training, persistent urgency and ongoing bedwetting could all be associated with Spina Bifida Occulta. It doesn't appear that there is any cure, as such, and so where we go from here goodness only knows. What the GP couldn't answer is that with this condition being so common (upto 1 in 10 of the population) why he had never been tested for this before!! Anyway, the GP has referred him to the paediatric urologist, so hopefully we may get some help and advice when we eventually get an appointment.

Am I the only one who, before last week, had never even heard of this condition, let alone realised how common it is and how it can be associated with incontinence?

8 Replies

I can’t help you, but thank you so much for posting! Despite being a nurse for over 25 years and being fully aware of Spina Bifida, I had never heard of this version, but now find on reading up on it that it is so common! After reading your post I looked it up online, and then in my mirror (!) and find that I actually have it! Dimple well and truly there! Though no symptoms. Although I have always needed the loo a lot and was a bit on the late side being dry at night. The dimple is quite big but has never been remarked upon in my 47 years of life! Went on to check my husband, daughter and 13 year old son (who has huge bed wetting problems) and none of them have it! I hope if this is the cause with your son that help is at hand soon. All the best.

In my extensive research over the last few days, i came across one study that examined the relationship between Spina Bifida Occulta and bedwetting. It found that about half the children in their study of children who regularly wet their beds also turned out to have Spina Bifida Occulta. It sounds really significant, but I had never even heard of it before last week!

Oh my goodness, I have never heard of this but my son has a really hairy back! Is the dimple obvious in your son? I will need to have a look at mine tomorrow morning.

I have heard of this but only in general conversations with paediatric doc..my daughter has sacral agenisis which is quite rare..her conditio is a form of spina bifida. Her sacrum and bottim of spine is only partially formed so the nerves dont work and she is doubly incontinent her legs are weak as the nerves are affected in the ankles..she was not diagnosed till nearly 4yrs when in excruciating pain trying to open bowels..she was being treated for constipation. If it was picked up earlier catheterization would have been normal but because she had so much trauma she wont let doctors near her she is 8 so have to wait till she matures more..she is prone to rare urine infections..good luck

My daughter also has dimple and lump along with like birth mark markings

i found out last night that i also have a small dimple in the lower part of my back

I have found that not many professionals appear to understand Spina Bifida Occulta (SBO) let alone lay people.

My parents were informed I had SBO, in 1967 information was scarce. I grew up with back and bowel problems and in my late teens I had half kidney removed followed by the other half in 2000. I now suffer with severe Restless Legs Syndrome, shin splints, bowel and foot problems. I do think these are connected but it's not been confirmed and not many people know about it.

seajenny in reply to Sweeneytodd

SBO seems to be one of those conditions that, although very common, is often ignored by the medical professions. I am sure that my son's bladder condition is caused by it and despite all the suggestions and therapies suggested by the doctors, isn't getting any better. More research clearly needs to be done as to what effect on the body SBO can have.

You may also like...