ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
People with transverse myelitis usually experience only one acute episode. However, complications often linger, including the following:
- Pain is one of the most common debilitating long-term complications of the disorder.
- Stiffness, tightness or painful spasms in your muscles (muscle spasticity), especially in your buttocks and legs, affect most people with lingering effects of transverse myelitis.
- Partial or total paralysis of your arms, legs or both may persist after the initial onset of symptoms.
- Sexual dysfunction is a common complication arising from transverse myelitis. Men may experience difficulty achieving an erection or reaching an orgasm. Women may have difficulty reaching an orgasm.
- Osteoporosis. Limited physical activity over the long term due to transverse myelitis may lead to osteoporosis, a thinning or weakening of bones. People with osteoporosis are at increased risk of bone fractures.
- Depression or anxiety is common in those with long-term complications because of the significant changes in lifestyle, the stress of chronic pain or disability, and the impact of sexual dysfunction on relationships.
- Transverse myelitis fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/transversemyelitis/detail_transversemyelitis.htm. Accessed Oct. 24, 2010.
- Frohman EM, et al. Clinical practice: Transverse myelitis. New England Journal of Medicine 2010;363:564.
- Bhat A, et al. The epidemiology of transverse myelitis. Autoimmunity Reviews 2010;9:A395.
- Jacob A, et al. An approach to the diagnosis of acute transverse myelitis. Seminars in Neurology 2008;28:105.
- Weinshenker BG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 3, 2010.