The hallmark symptom of POTS is a significant increase in heart rate upon standing. However, POTS can also lead to symptoms in other bodily functions, as explained by PoTSUK. POTS symptoms can be divided into orthostatic (the ones that happen when upright or standing), non-orthostatic, and general symptoms. Aside from the increased heart rate or palpitations, orthostatic symptoms can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, breathlessness, shakiness, excessive sweating, and sometimes fainting, a common and potentially dangerous manifestation that can affect up to 60% of people with POTS. These symptoms are characterized by resolving when lying down.
As for non-orthostatic symptoms, these often include gut issues such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, bladder problems (e.g., pain above the pubic bone, incontinence), blurred vision, and trouble circulating blood, which leads to peripheral acrocyanosis (a blue-ish purple discoloration of the hands and feet). Lastly, general POTS-related symptoms include brain fog, exercise intolerance, poor sleep, headaches, and chronic fatigue. Symptoms of POTS can vary from person to person. Some patients may experience only mild symptoms that are easily managed, while others may be severely affected and have difficulty performing daily activities. For example, people with POTS report ditching plans with friends or forgetting work responsibilities due to excessive fatigue or brain fog.
Moreover, the severity of symptoms can be influenced by factors such as hot temperatures, stress or sickness, physical activity, drinking alcohol, dehydration, diets rich in refined carbs, and menstrual cycle.