Vaso-Vagal Discussion

[ Home | Contents | Search | Post | Reply | Next | Previous | Up ]

Vasovagal Syndrome Episode

From: Terry



I am a female in my late 30's and I am writing because I experienced a very scary Halloween night in 2003, where I had an episode of Vasovagal Syndrome occur at around 3am. It started with a SEVERE case of nausea that actually WOKE ME UP from my sleep.

At the time I did not know what it was, or what was causing it, all I knew was that I woke up in the middle of the night feeling extremely sick to my stomach (with cold sweats), and as I tried to walk to our bathroom, I lost consciousness. All I remember was seeing the doorway, then feeling like my legs were jelly...and as I grabbed for the counter, I could not reach it in time and I fell backwards as my legs collapsed under me.

When I came to, I had no idea that anything except fainting had occurred, but my husband was on the phone with 911, and he and my 17 year old stepson both said I had been exhibiting some kind of seizure-like movements, including clenching my teeth (I chipped a tooth), clenching my fists, making growling sounds, and I also experienced a loss of bladder control.

I am telling this story because if anyone else has had these symptoms, they may not know what they had. At first, no-one knew what it could be, but after I went through several tests, they narrowed it down to something in the cardiology field, and then finally to this.

Looking back, I'd had a similar episode when I was 16 years old and it was misdiagnozed at the time (I am 28 years old now). Anyway, after the first episode, I had refused treatment (by the 911 paramedic that responded...he is our neighbor) and said I was fine, BECAUSE I thought I had just fainted. Then after he left I was told of the other symptoms and that I had (at one poine) stopped breathing (or so my husband and stepson thought). But I must have begun breathing again, because everything turned out OK.

The doctor said that with a REAL seizure, usually you do not remember much when you first come to, but with this condition, I was able to recognize everyone and remember everything that happened upon awakening.

So, I got cleaned up and went back to bed, but about 3-4 hours later it happened again. This time I did not get up, I just woke my husband up and told him I was feeling nauseous again, and as I said it, I went out. No seizure-like activity that time, but I was out cold for about a minute or two. When I woke up, I decided to go to the emergency room.

Unfortunately our emergency room was not much help, but they did give me a couple of bags of IV fluid, and something to stop the nauseous feeling I was having. I was released in about 4-5 hours.

I felt very "disconnected" for a couple weeks after that, and though I got better each day, I felt rather foggy for about two months afterward. I have not had another episode since. The doctor says that they are very infrequent usually, and that it is nothing to worry about or put your life on hold for, so...I guess I'm good for another 20 years or so at this point!

I hope this account helps someone else that may have had this happen to them. I was very nervous that perhaps there was something more serious wrong with me (neurologically or otherwise), and my doctor agreed that testing was in order, (I had a lot of tests run - MRI, EEG, EKG, etc.), but in the end it all came down to Vasovagal Syndrome.


This web site is not a substitute for a thorough medical evaluation and diagnosis of your vaso-vagal type symptoms.  Medical treatment and diagnosis is the only acceptable initial response to these serious symptoms since they might present from any number of life threatening and treatable illnesses. It is for you and your physician to rule out more serious illnesses; Please don't use this online forum as an alternative to getting responsible medical attention and being under the care of a physician for the duration of any unknown, suspected or dangerous vaso-vagal syndrome symptoms.
Last changed: June 22, 2007