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What is Dysautonomia?

Dysautonomia is an umbrella term used to describe dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) of the brain. The ANS is comprised of the sympathetic nervous system, often called the "fight or flight" system and the parasympathetic nervous system known as the "rest and digest" system. This part of the nervous system controls the automatic responses of the body, including heart rate, blood pressure, temperature control, digestion and urination. 

The dysfunction arises when the "flight or flight" system goes into overdrive and the "rest and digest" system becomes under-active, creating an imbalance. In this dysfunction the blood no longer effectively travels around the body providing nutrients and oxygen to the organs and tissues. All of the blood stays around the heart and lungs to keep the heart pumping. This is thought to be an ingrained survival mechanism, which is useful in short terms stress and was useful to the body in prehistoric times when humans may have had to run from animal predators. However, when the ANS is in overdrive for too long this can lead to several different medical conditions such as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Orthostatic Intolerance, as well as high levels of inflammation. 

It is thought, dysautonomia is interconnected with EDS through the overactive "flight or fight" response. Dysautonomia can also occur as a result of physical or psychological/emotional stress including trauma without EDS, POTS and OI. 

What are some of the symptoms?

Individuals may experience all or just a few of these symptoms:

  • Inflammation, chronic pain, increased pain sensitivity fatigue

  • Brain fog, reduced memory and recall

  • Mood fluctuations/disturbances, anxiety and depression

  • Sleep disturbances, insomnia and hypervigilance

  • Heart palpitations and rapid heart rate

  • Dizziness, light headedness, headaches, migraines, light sensitivity and fainting

  • Temperature sensitivity, cold intolerance or heat intolerance

  • Urination fluctuations

  • Appetite level fluctuations

  • Digestive disturbances including irritable bowel syndrome, unbalanced digestive microbiome, slow or fast motility and nutrient malabsorption syndromes

  • Menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain and low libido 

How can I assist you with Naturopathy, Western Herbal Medicine and Nutrition in managing dysautonomia and associated conditions? 

A well balanced nutrition program, western herbal medicine and/or nutritional supplementation can assist with:

  • Systemic and local pain management and reducing sensitivity 

  • Inflammation reduction to reduce pain and symptoms

  • Reducing the imbalance of the autonomic nervous system 

  • Improving blood circulation around the body to reduce temperature and heart rate symptoms, urinary fluctuations and menstrual irregularities

  • Reducing anxiety and mood disturbances associated with dysautonomia

  • Improving sleep quality and quantity

  • Reducing digestive conditions and malabsorption

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