MSA Trust

Symptoms of the Brain Stem area

Symptoms due to damage in the brain stem area are also known as autonomic symptoms. Examples of the bodily functions the brain stem controls are:

  • The sensation of getting warning when we need to use the toilet, and enables us to ‘hold on’ if we can’t immediately get to a toilet
  • Adapting our temperature according to the environmental conditions – shivering to warm up if we’re cold and sweating to cool down if we’re too hot
  • When we stand up the brain stem sends messages to keep the blood flow to the brain so we don’t faint
  • Controls our breathing pattern
  • Affects our sleep pattern.

When someone has MSA any of the above may not work so well.