Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Vagal episodes

From: Margaret


I am 29 now and have been having vagal episodes since I was 18. I usually have 2 strong episodes a year, and other instances where I feel them coming on but am able to somehow stop them, or they are really mild. I was told my blood pressure drops really low. But I've read other descriptions of these, and there doesn't seem to be any standard definition of what they really are. I recently had a bad one that reminded me of the first time I had one. When I feel them coming on, I try to get somewhere, like a bathroom, where no one can see me, because I get embarrassed and even when I try to explain what is happening, no one seems to believe me. I break out in a cold sweat, get nauseous, feel panicky, and sometimes my ears get burning hot. I usually lose hearing for a few moments, and sometimes my vision gets really blurry. Last night, I lost all vision for a few moments. I didn't pass out. I never have passed out. In fact, I was standing up, I just couldn't walk because I couldn't see anything. I just waited hoping it would pass. It didn't and I just felt my way to the bathroom. Having done all this in a crowded bar was not pleasant. It took me a particularly long time to recover from this episode, and I just felt incredible drained for hours after. No one has told me how to deal with these. They happen when I've eaten, and when I haven't. There's no rhyme or reason to them that I can figure out. Alcohol does seem to exacerbate the problem, but only when I drink a lot. I've heard that drinking caffeine when you are experiencing one helps. I've tried it, but can't tell if it helps or if the episode has just run its course. I usually just sit down, or squat down if no chair is available, resting my head on my knees and waiting until it passes. After this last episode, I'm going to the doctor. I've become afraid that maybe something is wrong, but I don't know what. And I want to see if anyone can tell me anything new about this nearly 10 years after I first talked to a doctor about it. You'd figure after a decade more might be known about it. My case seems to be mild compared to other's cases I've read about here. I can't imagine having to deal with this on a more frequent basis.

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