Last Modified on May 07, 2014
Vasovagal syncope (sometimes called cardioneurogenic syncope) is the commonest form of syncope, that is--fainting. Vasovagal syncope is an autonomic response where some external trigger causes your blood pressure to drop and your heart rate to slow suddenly. This briefly cuts the bloodflow to your brain, and as a result you lose consciousness.
Vasovagal syncope isn't a serious condition or evidence of any other more serious health condition. Obviously though, it can be very disruptive and the potential for a harmful fall is definitely there. (If you aren't sure about the diagnosis, definitely see a doctor. Other forms of fainting can indeed be symptomatic of more serious health conditions). You may also experience nausea, tunnel vision, buzzing in your ears, or a change in body temperature.
Natural Remedies: If you feel an episode of faintness coming on, first lie down and elevate your legs. This will help keep the blood going to your head. Other approaches to vasovagal syncope might include gingko biloba or other natural remedies that either raise or lower your blood pressure to help maintain your circulatory homeostasis.
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 01/05/2010: Sarah from Chapel Hill, Nc: "I was admitted into the hospital in Oct. for excessive bleeding after fainting in the shower. I found this website the following week. I began drinking a shot-glass of apple cidar vinegar daily immediately. I also ordered the blackstrap molasses tablets, which I've been taking daily for 2 months. So I would say I started seeing positive results during my Nov. and Dec. menstral cycles. I just received my shipment of ACV tablets. Good Luck!"
06/16/2008: Jill from Ft Laud, FL: "Janet, over 10 years ago I was diagnosed with fibroids and told that eventually I'd have to have a hysterectomy. I refused then and every dr I went to over the years. They got larger and larger till finally I found myself fainting and being taken from work in an ambulance twice. My iron fell so low that I needed 3 blood transfusions in one night before I agreed to consider surgery, but I still refused a hysterectomy. My new Gyn told me about a fertility dr that does not accept insurance and I consulted with him, who said that he could remove the tumor without a hysterectomy. I told my insurance company, who then reimbursed me for that visit and found a Reproductive Endocrinologist that gave me an injection of Lupron to stop the bleeding, then a quick, sometimes outpatient surgery called a Myomaectomy (?). My total out of pocket cost was under $500. That was 3/31/03 and I haven't had a cramp or a period last more than 2 days since! I haven't been doubled over in pain ONCE since then! I feel like I was reborn that day. You should consider it."
[YEA] 08/03/2013: Masii from Richmond, London: "Hi everyone, for 2 years, I suffered from light headedness and giddiness and once I fainted so badly.... So after many tests and MRI and sending me to all sorts of tests by Doctors and specialists, they found that I was deficient in B vitamins especially B12, and so when my doctor saw the results of my blood test, he immediately gave me a B12 injection and I had to go every wk and then every 2 wks and eventually less and less... But as soon as he gave me the B12 Injection, I was alive again, and for the last 2 years before that I could hardly walk to town as I was very giddy, by the way I am vegetarian, but apparently many meat eaters are also defficient in B vitamins especially B12..... so now I just buy the B12 drops or B12 Sprays and I am so happy, make sure you buy a good quality product, by going to a local health shop.
I wish all of you the best of health and thanks to our Earth Clinic family around the world,
Much love to everyone xxx"
[YEA] 01/17/2013: Vasalguy from Dallas, Tx: "I suffer from Vasovagal Syncope. It gets the worst when I drink excessive coffee. I've learned that I'm at risk of fainting if I have feelings of extreme light headness when standing. Some people say it's normal, if you stand up quickly which is true. However after one instance of having it and getting out of the hospital where they added two saline water fluid packs via IV drip in my blood to add water/fluids, I was able to get up quickly and move around and felt 100% great.
When they pulled blood, they said my blood was surprisingly thick. They struggled pulling blood, which I think is the ultimate problem with blood not flowing properly to the brain. Not enough fluids. The first thing to consider if you end up in the emergency room or in an ambulence is ask them to add fluids because you think it might be related to dehydration. I had them add it in the ambulence once. Your blood pressure will continue to drop and you may even feel a little cold as they add fluids but you will feel 100% better afterwards.
It is imperative that you cut out all diuretics including coffee. This has been the hardest thing for me because I am so addicted to it. I drink 3-5 cups a day sometimes. It's possible this is contributing to exaustion of the adrenal glands as well that leads to stress and not enough rest to increase the risk of it occuring.
What I have realized is that drinking water is not enough. I in the past have been a big drinker of lots of water and it helps to a point, but I've learned that the water just goes straight through you and sometimes isn't absorbed. Water in nature has electrolytes to improve its absorption. I read in parts of the world where drought is common, there have been kids dying of thirst and in would come the city water trucks and they'd take two handfuls of sugar and a pinch of salt and add it to the water and give it to the kids and they'd be up and running around within 24 hours. Without those, it did not help them.
I later learned that G____ was actually made after the Florida gators football team was having problems with people fainting during practice in the humid 90 degree heat. They were given water but they still fainted. _____ formulated it's original drink based off that and it got rid of the problem for them. I always thought the excessive sugar in the drink was bad, but in extreme dehydration states, it's actually very important.
After getting out the hospital, I continued drinking ____ [electrolyte drink] and whenever I feel syncope coming on related to dehydration from excessive coffee, I find even just one will severely help. Early signs of it for me include extreme shivers. I'll get out of the restroom from going #2 and have the shivers because when you use the restroom, your intestines pull all your fluids and flush them out.
I had a severe syncope once when I was on enemas for constipation. That's when I realized it was definitely related to dehydration. After drinking 3 g____s a day for a few days, the constipation completely went away and so did the syncope.
Drink water and ____, the full sugar one, salt sugar increases absorption, proven in countries with drought. Likely an electrolyte imbalance... Blood flows on water... I had 2 saline water bags added in me in the emergency room.. Felt instantly better for months. It's a problem with not retaining enough fluids. Water alone is not enough during extreme cases. May be triggered by heartburn too, although some doctors think heartburn is dehydration related as well because your stomach draws fluids into your stomach to mix with your stomach fluids to digest. Another reason why you may feel more lightheaded after eating a big meal if you suffer from syncope.
Don't overfill your stomach. The natural instinct is to down as much gatorade and water as possible quickly. Drink it slowly and get a feel for your stomach so you are never near 100%. Just pour a little in at a time.
I find that water with a tablespoon of apple cidar vinegar helps because it can cause you to burp and reduce gas pressure that might be preventing you from relaxing or drinking more fluids properly. Water and lemon also can help. In severe gas situations, I'd drink water with some apple cidar vinegar and take 500mg of magnesium. I bring this up, because heartburn/coughing can trigger it and I've learned that heartburn can be tied to gas putting pressure to push it back up and you cough and syncope.
Ideally you could get more electrolytes by eating more fruits and vegetables to absorb more fluids from natural foods.
If you ever feel light headed at all, sit down immediately. You can save yourself a trip to the emergency room or a concussion by doing this.
I hope this helps others out there suffering from it."
09/05/2007: Joan from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea: "I wish I knew what I was suffering from for 10 years then I would have gone on herbs but I was past that as I was fainting from lack of blood from severe bleeding and my womb prolapsed with the fibroids. I thought I had a heart problem as the symtoms was high blood pressure. I am now well and living with my scars as I also had T/L. So it is healthy living and stress free life for me."
05/22/2009: Sue from Melbourne, Australia: "I was always prone to fainting as a child but this disappeared with adulthood. However, in the last few months I have suffered frequent dizzy spells and have lost consciousness on a couple of occasions. Blood tests taken by the doctor have come back as ok. I have also experienced palpitations and 'dreamlike' feelings, particularly when driving, and have self-diagnosed panic attacks. I don't want to go down the line of prescription meds so last week started to take a magnesium tablet once a day (to reduce adrenaline) and 1 tsp acv daily (for anxiety/ general health). I fainted just this morning. My diet/ water intake is pretty healthy. Are there any other remedies I could try? Many thanks in advance for any advice."
[YEA] 07/26/2012: Link9891 from Latrobe, Pa, United States: "A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a condition called vasovagal syncope. To describe this condition as simply as I can (since most people have never heard of it), this condition causes episodes where you will pass out if not handled properly. Bascially, your body reacts to some kind of trigger which is unique to each person. Some have specific things such as needles, blood or other visual stimuli, others can be caused by stress, a rapid change in position/elevation, other stimuli, or (what I am "lucky" to have) no actual known trigger, so thus it happens pretty much whenever it wants. I noticed that this site doesn't have anything listed for this particular condition despite it being a surprisingly common condition. So I figured I would submit a few remedies I have found thanks to my doctor.
How "natural" this particular remedy is can be debatable, but it certainly helps. From what my doctor tried to explain, the ingredients in sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, or other sports drinks (organic products included), particularly high amounts of electrolytes, can help to try and prevent an episode from taking place. His recommendation was to drink at least 1 bottle (or 8 oz glass if you use a mix) a day and it does seem to help hold them off. Of course, it isn't fail-proof as there is no real way to completely prevent episodes from happening, but it will at least lower the chances of one happening.
Laying Down with Feet Elevated
This one isn't preventative, but more of "I'm having an episode and I would like to not pass out" and is the best possible treatment to do so. To understand how this particular remedy works, you need to have a better understanding of what this condition does to your body. After the event has been triggered, your heart slows down and your blood pressure drops. Because of this, blood stops being able to reach the brain. In order to get blood back to the brain, your head needs to be in a position in which blood can flow back to it. So, the only way your body knows how to make this happen is to make you pass out and fall to the ground, making your head level with your heart. As I'm sure you have already figured out, this isn't exactly safe and can lead to further problems (I've gotten a concussion or two from fainting during an episode - it's not fun in the least). In order to stop your body from getting to the point of fainting, the single best thing you can do is lie down and elevate your feet on some cushions, a chair, or anything else you can get to. This will naturally allow the blood to flow back into the brain and keep you conscious. At absolute minimum, this will ensure that if you do happen to black out, you're already on the ground and thus won't fall and hurt yourself.
I hope that both of these remedies may help someone else who suffers from vasovagal syncope to find some relief and potentially make episodes much less frequent and much safer."Replies
11/16/2012: Ben from San Diego replies: "I would be careful with the sports drink remedy. My girlfriend had her first syncopy episode brought on by only hydrating with gatorade. The elecrolytes they speak of include large amounts of potasium. In her case the vasovagal syncopy was triggered by hyperkalemia(high potasium). And it also caused an extended Q wave in her heart rythmn. She was in the hospital for a night and had to endure alot of poking, prodding, and test to find out what caused the fainting. It's scary to see someone you love in a hospital bed. So just be wary to not over do it with the sports drinks."