Hyperesthesia – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Hyperesthesia can be known as rare sensitivity disorder in which the affected person would have increased sensation of all senses. Sensitivity can occur in vision, smell, hearing and touch. Hyperesthesia includes comprehensive sensitivity disorder including touch sensitivity (tactile), auditory sensitivity, vision sensitivity and smell sensitivity.

Hyperesthesia gets resolved within few hours and the patient is recommended to take complete rest in a quiet place. Outside stimulus may or may not be present in some cases, but still the patient would feel increased sensitivity. The nerves involved are stimulated to large extent causing hypersensitivity. Stimulation occurs in the brain and spinal cord in the cortex and medulla region. Treatment is based on the underlying cause. The patient should be freed from stress and practice yoga techniques to prevent repeated episodes of hyperesthesia. Anti-seizure drugs and anti-anxiety medications can help in overcoming the symptoms.

Hyperesthesia Causes :

  • Not one cause can be attributed for hyperesthesia. Sometimes external stimulus can be the original cause and other times it may not.
  • Drinking excess of alcohol or coffee can result in over-stimulation of nervous system. Some experts are of view that this phenomenon occurs as a result or overstimulation of cerebrum and cortex region of the spinal cord. Cerebrum stimulation can cause increased sensitivity for short period.
  • Tactile sensitivity is related with conditions of skin rashes or shingles which is a viral infection. For some people increased blood sugar level can cause peripheral neuropathy, thus damaging the nerves.
  • Nerves are partially or completely impaired in patients with radiculopathy causing sensory stimulation.
  • Children with autism and fragile X syndrome or ADHD disorder can develop tactile sensitivity in due course.


Symptoms Of Hyperesthesia :

  • Increased sensitivity is the common symptoms of hyperesthesia. It can be touch sensitivity, hearing or vision or smell sensitivity depending on the case.
  • Signs and symptoms vary from one person to the other. Similarly some people respond in particular manner to specific stimulus in increased arousal of senses.
  • It can cause severe pain when the nerves are triggered in touch sensitivity. Loud noises are heard leaving large impact on the brain when in reality there is no such noise.
  • People with smell sensitivity can smell and report range of smells in the absence of such stimulus.
  • For some people it can affect the nervous system causing seizures, and inflammation of nerves.

Diagnosis :

There are no concrete tests to diagnose hyperesthesia. Your doctor will listen to the symptoms and request for suitable test to identify the cause of nerve pain. He would also ask whether you are taking alcohol regularly and in what volumes. Blood culture is to be done for assessing the levels of blood sugar and vitamins. Imaging tests like X-rays, MRI scan are done for analyzing the root cause of the problem in the brain. Nerve conduction test can also be done for checking the function of nervous system.

Hyperesthesia Treatment :

  • The affected person may be tensed and anxious due to increased sensitivity. He/she should be calm down and taken to separate room and assured that everything will be alright in few hours.
  • It is recommended to practice specific breathing exercises to relieve from anxiety and stress. It also helps in restoring oxygen levels in the body.
  • In case of moderate to severe pain due to hyperesthesia, physiotherapy can be helpful.
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy CBT is highly effective in reducing the adverse responses caused by the stimulus and relaxation techniques will help in keeping the person calm.
  • Underlying problem in the brain and spinal cord is to be assessed and treatment is given accordingly. Anti-convulsive drugs are given for epileptic patients and anti-anxiety pills are prescribed for reliving the fear and anxiety.
  • The patient should take balanced diet with rich antioxidants.

Tips For Prevention :

  1. Quit drinking. In case that is not possible reduce the consumption of alcohol considerably.
  2. Practice yoga and meditation regularly.

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