Dysautonomia / POTS
2014 started with many promises and possibilities; I felt I was on the right track with my health and exercise, and this would surely be the year that I would fully recover. I had a new focus on healthy eating, so was really happy with the direction I was going in.
Then I began to get some symptoms that I didn’t normally experience; nausea, bloating, dizziness, heart palpitations and severe abdominal/pelvic pain that occurred almost everyday. I was overly sensitive to the heat and cold - the heat made me feel dizzy and sick, while anything cold felt painful and felt like it would make my body just shut down. My acid reflux worsened, and stopped responding to medication. Often at night time I would become excessively thirsty, and had trouble sleeping due to severe headaches. Sometimes it would be hard to think properly or remember things that had just happened, like I had ‘brain fog’. For a while I again felt like I had no solutions, and no one could explain to me what was happening to my body.
It was unusual that all of these symptoms would appear around the same time without a correlation to each other, so we began to look into what linked them together rather than treating each new symptom as separate.
The link between these new symptoms, and also my pre-existing ones (fatigue, frequent headaches, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure) are that they are all linked to processes regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Sometimes, commonly in people with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, the ANS can begin to malfunction; a condition called dysautonomia / Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Due to this, the normal automatic processes in the body (digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, hot and cold regulation etc) don’t function as they should, hence the presenting symptoms.
The most severe symptoms were my abdominal/pelvic pain and heart palpitations so I had lots of individual investigations for each of these. The heart palpitations turned out to be ectopic beats, which I was told aren't anything to worry about. However I needed to have lots of tests to rule out anything more serious, which is always a good idea.
The abdominal/pelvic pain (along with my nausea and bloating) was linked to my digestion and some food intolerances I had developed. I discovered that there were certain foods that triggered those digestive symptoms, and I now manage them by following a low-FODMAP diet. It was a long process to figure out what brought on those symptoms, and my acid reflux flair up made this more difficult. More can be read on both of these in About me: my diet. More information of the low-FODMAP diet can be found in the Recipe & Diet section.
There are day-to-day things that I do to manage the other symptoms such as keeping my fuid intake up, compression wear, techniques/exercises to promote good circulation, and I am a strong believer of good nutrition as a way of healing. Everything that I've found that helps me I will put up my blog so that others can see gain ideas on how to help themselves.