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Neuropathy is a term used to describe symptoms that develop as a result of nerve damage. These symptoms often include pain and numbness, particularly involving the hands and the feet. Symptoms of neuropathy may include pain, numbness, sensitivity to touch, or difficulty with balance or coordination. While there is no cure for neuropathy, prescription medications can often help to relieve some of the symptoms.
Pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of neuropathy. This pain may be described in many ways, depending on the nerves that are affected as well as the amount of damage to the nerve. Burning or shooting pains are common. Some patients describe the pain as feeling like sharp electric-type pain. This pain usually comes and goes randomly, although the pain may be constant in some cases. Some patients have reported that the affected area feels like it is either freezing cold or burning as if it were on fire.
Numbness and tingling are common symptoms of neuropathy. The patient may sometimes feel like something is crawling on the skin, although nothing is there. Balance and coordination problems may develop, making it difficult to perform normal, everyday tasks. Walking may even become difficult or impossible in some cases. The pupils of the eyes may not adjust properly to a change between light and dark environments, making driving at night a difficult task.
Dizziness or fainting may develop as symptoms of neuropathy. This is believed to be due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. Exercise may become difficult for some patients if the heart rate does not change when switching between active and resting modes. The body may have difficulty regulating body temperature, leading to increased or decreased abilities to sweat.
Urinary or sexual difficulties are among the possible symptoms of neuropathy. It may become difficult to completely empty the bladder, leading to an increased risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Sexual problems may include erectile dysfunction in men or vaginal dryness in women. Both genders may begin to have difficulty reaching orgasm.
Digestive disorders are often among the symptoms of neuropathy. A condition known as gastroparesis is the most common digestive problem stemming from nerve damage. In this condition, the stomach is not able to empty as quickly as it should, leading to a loss of appetite, constipation, or abdominal pain and bloating. Some patients may also develop heartburn, nausea, or vomiting.