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What are side effects of having an epidural?

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Quick Answer

The side effects of getting an epidural include low blood pressure, headaches, spinal fluid leakage and backache, according to the American Pregnancy Association. A feeling of numbness in the lower half of the body and experiencing difficulty in urinating are other side effects of receiving an epidural.

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What are side effects of having an epidural?
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Full Answer

Although epidural anesthesia is considered safe, individual patients can experience complications that include meningitis, allergic reactions to the anesthesia and damage to spinal nerves, states MedlinePlus. A more uncommon side effect is seizures, and only a small number of women experience severe headaches as a result of spinal fluid leakage, asserts the American Pregnancy Association. Side effects can be the result of the insertion of the needle or the anesthesia, claims Spine-health. Stomach ulcers, difficulty sleeping and high blood sugar are some of the side effects that patients may experience as a result of the anesthesia.

Epidurals provide pain relief for at least half of the patients that get them, and they are effective in relieving inflammation, adds Spine-health. When used during childbirth, epidurals are useful in helping patients become more relaxed and decreasing tiredness, states the American Pregnancy Association. Compared to general anesthesia where the patient is asleep during the procedure, epidurals allow patients to be awake and effectively stop pain when surgery is performed on sensitive body parts such as the stomach or feet, asserts MedlinePlus.

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