Autonomic disorders

Autonomic disorders are often considered functional conditions, meaning there is no medical explanation for the condition. However, these disorders usually are caused by the nervous system in the intestines.

Watch for these signs

Children with functional autonomic disorders may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of energy
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is an autonomic disorder that is much more common in teenagers than in younger children. The main symptom is orthostatic intolerance, a condition where a significantly reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after someone stands up from a lying position. Symptoms may include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Migraines
  • Sleep problems
  • Extreme lack of energy
  • Gastrointestinal problems (such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain)
  • Aches and pains all over the body that strike after an acute illness

Watch a POTS video series that helps answer the immediate questions about POTS and lifestyle changes that can be made to alleviate POTS symptoms.

Our team can help

The Children’s Hospital pediatric neurogastroenterology, motility and autonomic disorders program has one the few state-of-the-art pediatric autonomic laboratories in the country equipped to help diagnose children with autonomic disorders. Our team of experts includes an autonomic neurologist, sleep specialist, gastroenterologist and cardiologists.