Tarlov cysts are abnormal sacs of spinal fluid that usually form at the lower end of the spine (sacrum). What distinguishes Tarlov cysts is the presence of spinal nerve fibers either within the cyst wall or in the cyst.
Although gender may not be a risk factor, Tarlov cysts have more often been found in women than men.
Most of the time Tarlov cysts do not cause symptoms. Cysts may cause pain and other signs of nerve irritation, such as weakness or numbness. In some cases, it can cause problems with bladder and bowel function.
An increase in pressure in or on the cyst may increase symptoms and cause nerve damage. Symptoms can vary from person to person.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to Tarlov cysts. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Bladder or bowel dysfunction
Pain in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet, vagina, rectum, or abdomen
Pain when coughing or sneezing
Weakness, cramping, or numbness in the buttocks, legs, and feet
Swelling, soreness, or tenderness around the lower end of the spine (sacral area)
Abnormal sensations in the legs and feet
symptoms, such as pain when sitting or standing
The feeling of “sitting on a hard surface”
Pulling and burning feeling in the tailbone
Loss of sensation on the skin
Loss of reflexes
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. She will also do a physical exam. Depending on your symptoms, you may need to see a specialist, such as a neurosurgeon.
Tests may include the following imaging techniques:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a