Hot flushes, bowel and bladder issues, bloating, might be autonomic neuropathy

Asking if anyone knows about autonomic neuropathy.  This can be caused by chemotherapy and affects temperature control, bowels, bladder, digestion, eyesight, blood pressure, skin function and even sexual function. Autonomic neuropathy is when the nerves that control automatic bodily functions are damaged.

I have had a lot of issues following chemotherapy that I was told were down to menopause, or were too random for me to think they could be linked to my treatment or were just ignored (I was unfortunate in not seeing the same oncologist each time) Over 2 years down the line and still suffering, I finally found out about autonomic neuropathy, and was shocked to find all my issues on the list. Oddly, I did have some peripheral neuropathy but it was late onset and manageable.

Autonomic neuropathy affects your eye reactions to dark and light, making your pupil reactions slower.

It also lowers your blood pressure. This can result in dizziness or fainting when getting up too quickly. I have always had high blood pressure and mentioned this to my herceptin nurses, they always said, no your blood pressure is just fine, and it was. I was puzzled but thought nothing of it. 

Bowels and bladder are affected, your body may no longer recognise when either needs emptying or just not emptying correctly, causing incontinence and incorrect emptying of bladder, urgent bowel movements and issues with needing to empty bowels during the night. Also causes constipation.

Temperature control issues leading to overheating and sweating when encountering a change in external temperature, also, rather oddly, when consuming food. Very disruptive at night as once getting into a warm bed you gradually begin overheating until you are uncomfortable and sweating. I also have very hot hands and feet, which is probably left over from peripheral neuropathy and does not help with the temperature issue.

Digestive issues with slow digestion and constant bloating, feeling full when you have only had a small amount of food or being hungry straight after eating.

Dry skin. Hands and feet (and scalp) in particular with me are so dry I find it hard to hold small objects. Great if I want to turn to crime as my fingerprints are virtually non existant.   

There are probably more symptoms but I can find out very little about this. I would be interested to hear from anyone else who has these issues or has even had it mentioned by an oncologist or doctor. 

Hi @Holeinone , thank you for your question.

I cannot find anything on our website about this, but if any of our Forum members have experienced this, this is the right space for anyone to share their experiences.

If you find that nobody has experienced this, you may wish to speak to one of our breast care team, who may be able to help with clinical advice. You can reach us on freephone 0808 800 6000 (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm; Sat 9am-1pm).

Sending all our love