Symptoms of Autonomic Dysfunction

Autonomic Dysfunction, or Dysautomonia, is not a diagnosis, it’s a reference to a group of disorders caused by breakdown or abnormal functioning of autonomic nervous system. These disorders can be quite different problems. When talking about symptoms of autonomic dysfunction, we need to take a look at the specific disorders under the umbrella of it.

Orthostatic Hypotension

Orthostatic hypotension is a reduction of systolic blood pressure of at least 20 mm Hg or a reduction of diastolic blood pressure of at least 10 mm Hg within 3 minutes of a person standing up. Drop of blood pressure can lead to lightheadedness, dizziness or even faint. But the symptoms can be subtle or not noticeable.

A transient drop that occurs with abrupt standing and resolves rapidly suggests a benign condition, such as dehydration, rather than autonomic failure.

Orthostatic intolerance

Patients feel dizzy and faint when standing up, with heart beat goes up significantly by 30 beats per minute at least, but blood pressure doesn’t fall as much as 20/10 mmHg, it’s called orthostatic intolerance. Because upright heart rate is usually greatly increased, the term Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is also used.


Syncope is a sudden and transient loss of consciousness and postural tone, usually described as “fainting” or “passing out”. It is a common problem, accounting for 3% of emergency room visits. Repeated episodes require diagnosis and treatment.

Neurogenic bowel

Symptoms are having difficulty digesting food, such as feeling full after a few bites of food, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal bloating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing and heartburn, all due to changes in digestive function.

Sexual difficulties

Sexual difficulties from ANS impact both men and women, including problems achieving or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction) or ejaculation problems in men and vaginal dryness, low libido and difficulty reaching orgasm in women.

Neurogenic bladder

Symptoms are related to urinary problems, such as difficulty starting urination, incontinence, difficulty sensing a full bladder and inability to completely empty the bladder, which can lead to urinary tract infections.

Sweating abnormalities

Sweating is the way that human body takes to regulate normal body temperature. Abnormalities in sweating lead to too much or too little sweating, and then cause disorders in maintaining normal body temperature.

Sluggish pupil reaction
The autonomic dysfunction makes it difficult to adjust from light to dark and seeing well when driving at night.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.