5 Symptoms You May Not Realize Are Caused By Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a condition that affects your nerves. Most people who know about the disease think that all types of neuropathy damage the nerves in a way that creates painful sensations. In fact, nearly a third of patients have non-painful neuropathy.

If you don’t have pain, you might not even be aware that you need medical care and certainly aren’t aware that your symptoms are caused by neuropathy.

At St. Luke Integrative Medical Center, we want to make sure that everyone with neuropathy gets the treatment they need to live fulfilling lives, so we’ve made the following list of five symptoms you may not realize are caused by neuropathy.

1. Difficulty urinating

Damaged nerves can make it difficult for parts of your body to communicate with your brain. For instance, when your bladder gets full, signals telling you to urinate may not reach the brain.

The breakdown in communication can disrupt your cycles and cause you a lot of frustration. You know that you have a full bladder, but your brain refuses to get the process started. As a result, you’re left sitting on or standing by the toilet for several minutes wondering why you can’t get the job done.

Eventually, most people expel urine while in the restroom. It just takes longer than expected. If you have trouble urinating, though, you may experience some incontinence too.

2. Muscle weakness

It’s normal to lose some strength as you get older. Neuropathy, however, can cause significant muscle weakness. It can also cause your strength to deteriorate more quickly than normal.

Often, muscle weakness and numbness in your limbs happen at the same time. If you lose sensation in your arms or legs, then you should get checked for neuropathy. Our medical director, Dr. Charmaine Ortega, uses diagnostic tests to determine whether your weakness comes from neuropathy.

3. Rapid weight loss

Neuropathy can cause weight loss in several ways. Nerve damage can make you feel full even if you’ve eaten only a small amount of food. Many neuropathy patients also experience nausea and vomiting after meals, which prevents them from getting enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. Finally, nerve damage that affects the throat can make it difficult for you to swallow food. As a result, you may eat less than you normally would.

4. Sensitivity to touch

Some people assume that neuropathy causes pain at all times. For many patients, that isn’t true. Instead, they become extremely sensitive to touch. You may feel fine as long as you don’t touch anything. If you bump against a table or even shake hands, though, you could feel intense pain.

5. Poor balance

Poor communication between your brain and body can make it difficult to walk without losing your balance. Think about all of the things that need to happen for you to walk a straight line. You need to move your legs, adjust your feet to the terrain, and maintain balance even when the walking surface changes. Your brain has to coordinate these and other sensations to keep you upright and mobile.

Damaged nerves don’t necessarily prevent you from walking, but you may need to use a cane or walker. If the condition progresses, you could find yourself relying on a wheelchair.

Neuropathy responds well to many of today’s treatment options. At St. Luke Integrative Medical Center, we prefer to avoid medications and surgery. Instead, Dr. Ortega treats neuropathy by focusing on underlying medical conditions that cause nerve damage, teaching patients how to adjust their lifestyle, and using regenerative stem therapy techniques.

If you don’t like the idea of taking drugs or going under the knife, then St. Luke Integrative Medical Center may be the right option for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ortega. During your consultation, she learns more about your condition and suggests treatment options that would benefit you.

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