Q and A On Dysesthesia

What is Dysesthesia?

Dysesthesia means unpleasant or abnormal sensation. The word dysesthesia comes from two word dys and esthesia. "Dys" means unpleasant or abnormal and "esthesia" means sensation in Greek language. Dysesthesia is the medical terminology used to describe unpleasant or discomfort sensation.


What Are The Different Types Of Dysesthesia?

Dysesthesia or unpleasant sensation is classified into somatic or visceral dysesthesia. Somatic dysesthesia is often observed over face, lips, chest wall and extremities involving skin, muscles and bones. Visceral dysesthesia is observed over abdomen or chest.

Describe The Somatic And Visceral Dysesthesia?

Somatic Dysesthesia Is Described As Follows-

  • Burning pain
  • Itching
  • Electric shock sensation

Visceral Dysesthesia Is Described As Follows-

  • Dull
  • Squeezing
  • Continuous pain.

List The Diseases Associated With Symptoms Of Dysesthesia

Symptoms Of Dysesthesia Is Observed In Following Diseases-

  • Cutaneous Dysesthesia
  • Occlusive Dysesthesia1
  • Peripheral Neuropathy2-
    1. Diabetic Dysesthesia
    2. Guillain Barre Dysesthesia3
    3. Polyneuropathy
    4. Chemotherapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Gangliosidosis
  • Alcohol Withdrawal
  • Spinal Cord Injury4
  • Phantom Pain

What is Cutaneous Dysesthesia?

Cutaneous dysesthesia causes unpleasant sensation over the skin. Patient describes unpleasant sensation as burning pain. Pain is often neuropathic in nature. Patient feels severe pain following light touch or touch by cloth. Cutaneous pain can be mild to severe pain. Scalp dysesthesia is often associated with tingling and numbness.

What is Occlusive Dysesthesia?

Pain is spread over tooth and gums. Patient feels severe pain during eating food or swallowing liquid. Character of pain is burning and often patient feels pain may be caused by oral ulcers. Examination of oral cavity does not show any ulcer.

What Are The Associated Symptoms With Somatic Dysesthesia?

Associated symptoms with dysesthesia are numbness, tingling, decreased ability to recognize extreme temperature changes and sharp stabbing pain.

What Causes Dysesthesia In Patients Suffering With Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral nerve is divided as sensory and motor nerve. Sensory nerve abnormality results in peripheral neuropathy. Abnormalities observed in peripheral nerve are as follows-

  • Axonal Degeneration
  • Segmental Demyelination
  • Wallerian Degeneration

What is Axonal Degeneration?

The axon is the peripheral nerve covered by myelin sheath. Degeneration of axon or myelin sheath causes peripheral neuropathy and malfunction of sensory nerve resulting in symptoms like somatic dysesthesia.

What is Segmental Demyelination?

Segmental demyelination is degeneration of myelin sheath. Axon and nerve fiber remains intact. Symptoms are often seen as visceral dysesthesia.

What is Wallerian Degeneration?

The peripheral nerve and axon degenerate following nerve injury or separation of the nerve from nerve cells. Wallerian degeneration causes both somatic and visceral dysesthesia.

What Causes Dysesthesia In Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that affects nerves in brain and spinal cord. The disease causes structural damage of insulating cover of the nerves. Symptoms suggest abnormality of sensory and motor nerve.

What Causes Gangliosidosis and Dysesthesia?

Gangliosidosis is abnormal lipid storage disease. Ganglioisides is a lipid, which is deposited over peripheral sensory nerve resulting in symptoms like dysesthesia.

Why Dysesthesia Is Observed Following Alcohol Withdrawal?

Regular alcohol consumption causes cirrhosis, abnormal calcium channel receptor and magnesium deficiency. During alcohol withdrawal magnesium deficiency triggers sensory symptoms because of irregularities in NMDA receptors and sensory impulse transmission.

Is Dysesthesia Common Following After Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injury causes severe damage of spino-thalamic tract. Spino-thalamic tract carries pain impulses to brain. The damaged spinothalamic tract generates abnormal sensory impulses resulting in dysesthesia.


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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: March 24, 2014

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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