Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Fainting episodes ~ scared to see the doc.

From: Reyzl


Hi, good to find this site! I am a 33-year-old woman and, since the age of 10, I have been experiencing a lot of the symptoms I’ve read about here. Fortunately, for me it hasn’t been a huge problem because my triggers are very specific and not things I encounter everyday, so I have never really addressed the issue with my GP. Mostly it is to do with pain or blood ~ if I cut myself by accident, or if I have to go for some kind of painful medical procedure, and once when I sprained my ankle, but also occasionally it has happened after a hot shower or getting out of bed too quickly. (Strangely, it never happened at the dentist!) I usually manage to sit or lie down when the symptoms start and avoid a complete faint. I have only fully fainted once when I didn’t get to sit down in time, about half an hour after a blood test. When it is happening, it is sooo scary, like I’m going to die. It’s a feeling of being totally alone and cut off from those around me ~ it starts off where I feel hot and very nauseous, then my hearing starts to go, my vision blurs to a kind of TV fuzz and my body feels like a lead weight. I’m told I get very white and sweaty. It has happened maybe about 16-20 times so far in my life. It terrifies me so much and is so embarrassing that I have spent many years avoiding anything that might trigger it ~ I stay away from my doctor unless I’m sure there’s no chance of blood tests or any other painful procedure that could put my body into shock (even though I have had blood tests, etc where it has not happened). If I cut myself I panic because I know what will happen ~ in the past I have usually slunk off and hid somewhere to “faint” in private (!) because I was so ashamed to be such a “wimp” and then I wish I’d told someone! But I feel less critical of myself now, especially since reading your posts here. I can see that it is just a physical reaction that some people get. Well, last year I decided to try donating blood for the first time ever. It was always something I said I’d never consider because I was sure I would faint. But I hoped it would make medical things a little easier for me, if I could make myself get through it. It went a lot better than I’d anticipated. Even though I was hysterical with nerves and shook from beginning to end, I only got a little faint after the donation and they caught it before it got too bad. In a way it has made me feel braver about other triggers, but now I’m facing the prospect of having a small lump removed from my wrist at my GP’s surgery, under local anaesthetic. I am trying to tell myself that getting faint isn’t the end of the world and that I will recover and be okay, but I feel so panicked about it. The worst thought is that it will wait until I am half way home and then come on when there’s no one to help me. Does anyone have any advice for how to avoid an episode coming on, or to minimise it if it does? Right now I’m just not sure I can go through with it. Thanks for reading.

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