Vaso-Vagal Discussion

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Vaso-Vagal Episodes

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From: Susan


I have just recently been told about vasa-vagal problems by a physician's assistant and then also by the medical doctor in the same office. I am so amazed because I have suffered these attacks since I was very young - perhaps since I was in 2nd grade! That is the first time I remember fainting in my classroom at school. They called my parents and daddy took me right to the doctor who diagnosed me with worms!!This was 1954 and worms were quite possible for country kids to have. The next time seemed to be when I was a sophmore in high school and was associated with menstral cramps and passing alot of stool. These attacks have continued through my life and are always associated with severe abdominal cramping and very often with a menstral period. I have passed out on numerous occassions, sometimes sitting on the bathroom stool, sometimes all alone and sometimes when I have someone with me. Like everyone that has this sort of episode it can be quite terrifying and of course makes you think you are dying. I have some heart problems, so I always thought my heart was just going to quit and I would pass out and be gone! However, through the years I realize that when I passed out and came too again I would be over the attach and feel much better -- usually. Sometimes it would take a day or two for me to get completely back to normal--exhaustion seemed to be a side effect of having a severe spell--whether I passed out or just felt like I was going to pass out! When I was 40 I had my gall bladder out and at that time the surgeon checked out my intestines good and claimed he didn't see anything wrong. I have had doctors mention a bowel spasm type problem before and when I was younger I did have a barium enema that looked completely normal. I had terrible gallstones that made me sick some, but I never had attacks -- just chronic pain and some nausea and some pain in my gallbladder area. My vaso-vagal episodes I think have always occured with the abdominal cramping that comes on out of the blue and very fast!! Sometimes now though I do feel that my bowels have been sluggish and full-like they are not emptying completely when I go to the bathroom. I have had to call 911 on three occassions now. When I am alone. All three times I have gotten over the severe part of the attack before or shortly after they arrive. I have never gone on to the hospital with them. Because I have had this for so long I know it is not connected with some worsening condition. However, I am so thankful to find out what it seems to be and that it has a name! I am also looking very forward to reading more of the postings on this discussion page. I am almost 60 years old now and I have made it through so many of these attacks! I have tried to do relaxation and breathing techniques to keep from passing out, but it seems the best thing is for me to just keeping working to understand my body and to work at staying healthy and keeping my bowels working as good as possible. I also know though that no matter how good I am doing, I might have one of these spells at any time. It has been scary and frustrating, but now I'm anxious to hear and learn more about vaso-vagal!

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