About Small Fiber Neuropathy
The nerves throughout your body are each responsible for sending different types of information to your brain. Small nerve fibers located in your skin sense pain and temperature. In small fiber neuropathy, these nerves become damaged, which affects the signals your brain receives. As a result, you may experience pain, decreased sensation, or abnormal sensation with no other apparent cause. These nerves also play a role in how your body regulates its own functions, such as sweating, so these activities are often affected by the condition.
Symptoms of Small Fiber Neuropathy
Symptoms of small fiber neuropathy can begin in one part of the body and spread elsewhere over time.
Symptoms of small fiber neuropathy may include:
- Abnormal sweating or changes in sweating
- Bradycardia (slow heart hate)
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Dry eyes or mouth
- Exercise intolerance (decreased ability to perform physical activity)
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or acid reflux
- Orthostatic intolerance (difficulty remaining upright)
- Pain, tingling, dulling of sensation, and/or sensations of vibration in the body
- Tachycardia (elevated heart rate)
Risk Factors for Small Fiber Neuropathy
Risk factors for small fiber neuropathy reflect the condition’s different underlying causes.
Risk factors for small fiber neuropathy may include:
- Comorbid conditions: Diabetes, HIV, celiac disease, autoimmune conditions, viruses, and other health conditions are associated with small fiber neuropathy
- Health history: Chemotherapeutic and antiretroviral drug treatments have been linked to the condition, as have vitamin deficiencies and alcoholism
Treating Small Fiber Neuropathy at UT Health Austin
The first step in treating small fiber neuropathy is understanding your condition’s underlying cause. Once this cause is identified and addressed, you may be prescribed medications such as analgesics or antidepressants to alleviate your pain. Lifestyle modification and Physical therapy are also used to help heal and retrain the nervous system. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of treatment.
Care Team Approach
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines. The Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center care team includes neurologists, advanced practice providers, social workers, registered dietitians, nurses, and more who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.
We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to identify new therapies to improve treatment outcomes. We are committed to communicating and coordinating your care with referring physicians and other partners in the community to ensure that we are providing you with comprehensive, whole-person care.