Autonomic neuropathy


Autonomic neuropathy /AN/ is a disease that is caused by damage to the nerves that support the functioning of organs and systems in the human body.

This nerve disorder prevents the proper processing of signals between the autonomic nervous system and the brain.

When autonomic nerves are damaged, blood pressure, heart rate, body thermoregulation, bowel movement, bladder emptying, and digestion can be affected.

AN is a frequent complication of other clinical conditions and disease and may also occur as a side effect of the use of certain medications.

Clinical manifestations of the disease can vary depending on the cause of its occurrence and the location of the affected nerves.

What are the symptoms?

The disease may affect many organs and cause a range of symptoms.

Some initial appearances of AN are:

• Fainting or fainting when standing up or when the affected person is standing;

• Vomiting or nausea while eating;

• Disorders in the peristalsis of the intestines, difficult to control the release of the bladder or disturbances in sexual function;

The progressive progression of the disease may also affect the specific function of the organs, which may cause the following manifestations:


• Urinary incontinence;
• Inability to empty the bladder;
• Frequent urinary tract infections;

Digestive system

• Frequent indigestion or heartburn;
• Vomiting of undigested food;
• Diarrhea;
• Bloating;
• Constipation;
• Feeling of bloating after eating a small amount of food;
• Lack of appetite;

Genital organs

• Erectile dysfunction;
• Premature ejaculation;
• In women, difficulty reaching orgasm;
• Vaginal dryness;

Heart and blood vessels

• Dizziness when standing up;
• Seizures;
• Shortness of breath with light physical exertion;
• Accelerated heart rate at rest;
• Sudden heart attack without any prior signs;


• Slow adaptation of the pupil from dark to light;
• Difficult driving during the dark part of the day;

Sweat glands

• Excessive sweating;
• lack of sweating when exposing the body to very high temperatures;
• dryness of the skin of the feet;

Other symptoms

• unexplained weight loss;
• signs of hypoglycemia such as tremors;

What are the causes?

Factors that can cause damage to autonomic nerves are:

• alcoholism;
• diabetes;
• chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and AIDS;
• medications, such as those used in chemotherapy;
• nerve injury due following a burn, puncture wound or contusion;
• abnormal accumulation of proteins in the organs;
• autoimmune diseases such as lupus;
• degenerative diseases such as multiple system atrophy;

Treatment of autonomic neuropathy

Treatment is aimed at repairing the damaged nerves and the disease causing the damage.

When the cause is a gastrointestinal disease or disorder, the following methods of treatment are applied:

• prescription drugs such as metoclopramide are prescribed to aid digestion;
• laxative therapy is prescribed for constipation;
• eating more often and consuming smaller amounts of food is recommended;< br/> • increasing foods in the menu that contain more fiber and increasing fluid intake;
• tricyclic antidepressants for stomach pain or diarrheal stools;

For bladder problems:

• taking prescription drugs such as betahenol, which help to empty the contents of the bladder;
• to reduce the symptoms of overactive bladder, drugs such as oxybutynin are prescribed;
• if the drugs are not effective, a catheter is inserted into the urethra to empty the contents of the bladder;

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