Autonomic Neuropathy

What is Autonomic Neuropathy?

Autonomic Neuropathy:

Autonomic neuropathy occurs when the nerves in your autonomic nervous system are damaged.  The autonomic nervous system is part of the peripheral nervous system.  The autonomic nervous system controls the involuntary processes in the body, like blood pressure and heart rate, digestion, respiration, and sexual functions.  When autonomic neuropathy occurs, the nerves in these systems cannot correctly send signals to the brain, which may lead to symptoms.  This article will discuss the symptoms, causes, and risk factors for autonomic neuropathy, and how Chinese Medicine can help to treat it. 

Symptoms of Autonomic Neuropathy:

The symptoms of autonomic neuropathy vary depending on which nerves are affected.  Some early symptoms of autonomic neuropathy may include dizziness or fainting when you stand up, digestion problems like nausea, bladder problems, or sexual problems.

Autonomic Neuropathy

If autonomic neuropathy has affected the nerves in your heart or blood vessels, you may experience symptoms like fainting, difficulty breathing when you exercise, rapid heart rate when resting, and in some cases heart attack.  

Autonomic neuropathy of the digestive system may cause symptoms like poor appetite, indigestion, vomiting up undigested food, constipation, or diarrhoea.  Similarly, if the nerves in your bladder are affected, you may experience loss of bladder control such as urinary incontinence, or inability to empty the bladder.

Autonomic neuropathy can also cause other symptoms, such as sexual problems in men and women, as well as unexplained shakiness or weight loss.  

Causes of Autonomic Neuropathy:

Autonomic neuropathy is caused by damage to the autonomic nerves.  There are different causes for damage to the autonomic nerves, such as diabetes, chemotherapy, and physical injury to the nerves. Autonomic nerve damage may also occur through chronic diseases like Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disorders, or too much protein building up in the organs.

Autonomic Neuropathy Risk Factors:

Certain risk factors can increase your risk of developing autonomic neuropathy.  Being overweight, having high cholesterol or high blood pressure, and drinking alcohol can all increase your risk.  Similarly, older people, and people who have diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s disease or lupus may also be more at risk.

How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

At Centre of Balance Hamilton, our highly qualified practitioners use Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques to treat conditions like autonomic neuropathy.  While most Western Medicine treatment options (like medications) often aim to treat and even suppress your symptoms, Chinese Medicine treatments address the root cause of the condition.

Autonomic Neuropathy

In Chinese Medicine, the organs within the body are all connected to each other and work together to control specific functions.  The liver and gallbladder control detoxification, as well as maintaining nerve functions.  That means if your liver or gallbladder is weak, you may develop nerve problems like autonomic neuropathy.

A professional Chinese Medicine practitioner will investigate the underlying cause of your health condition, by analysing your symptoms.  By treating the underlying cause, such as organ weaknesses or imbalances, a practitioner may effectively heal your body.  This can be done through acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine, which can energise specific organs, as well as improving blood circulation for health and wellbeing.

For information about neuropathy and Chinese Medicine, click here.


Autonomic neuropathy is a condition where your autonomic nerves cannot function properly.  This may affect the essential systems of the body, like heart rate, respiration, and digestion.  Autonomic neuropathy may be caused by factors like diabetes and chemotherapy, which can damage the nerves.  Chinese Medicine can help to effectively treat neuropathy through acupuncture, which can energise the organs and help the body to heal itself.

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