Fainting, or syncope, is a decreased flow of blood to the brain which causes loss of consciousness and posture for a brief moment.
There are many possible causes of fainting. Among those are heart problems, such as irregular heartbeats, seizures, anxiety or panic attacks, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, anemia, and nervous system problems that affect your blood pressure. Apparently healthy people sometimes pass out, and it is important to know when one must see a doctor. However, there are situations in which people pass out from extreme pain, let's find out why it happens and how to deal with it.
The causes of fainting may be multiple. A vasovagal attack or a nerve-related syncope is a simple episode, which is the most common cause of fainting. This mostly occurs in children and young adults. It is due to a sudden drop in blood pressure, which lessens the amount of blood passing through the brain and causing a loss of consciousness. Before the attack, the victim will feel a sensation of warmth, lightheadedness, nausea, and what is referred to as a visual gray out. Normally, the attack happens while one is standing. A seizure can be triggered if fainting is prolonged.
Your blood pressure and heart rate are regulated by your autonomic nervous system. When sudden pain occurs, your blood pressure and heart rate can dramatically decrease, affecting the amount of blood flow to the brain. Fainting is the result of this stress on the body, chiefly the abrupt decrease of blood flow.
There is no scientific evidence supporting the idea that a person’s pain threshold is related to fainting, although every individual has a different pain tolerance level. The reason why pain tolerance differs from one person to another is still unclear. Certain studies suggest that some people can endure more pain than others because of an underlying genetic component.
Passing out is one of the body’s self defense mechanisms. Passing out puts the brain in a calmed state and causes it to shut down for a while or black out. In the process, brain chemicals or neurotransmitters such as serotonin and endorphins begin to accumulate in the brain. The adrenal glands also begin to work to produce hormones that help you recover from fainting. A very important note is that if this happens often, remember to keep tabs on how often you experience fainting in order to avoid anything more serious.
“I’ve been in pain for the entire weekend; there was a heavy feeling in my side. I was in a lot of pain the other day and when I stood up, I was in so much more pain that I passed out for about ten minutes. I was just lying down on the floor for a couple of hours until my sister found me after wondering why I wasn’t replying. I have endometriosis. I was supposed to visit the doctor in five days but he rescheduled until after Thanksgiving then changed it again saying it’s on the second week of December!”
“I had a severe headache with sharp pain and I passed out after what felt like forever. When I regained consciousness, I couldn’t speak and I had a really bad pain in the neck. I’ve been having a bad headache for the last two days. The doctor says I fainted because it was a “typical migraine”. Do other people also pass out? I’ve been doing it 4 times in the last couple weeks. My blood pressure and everything else came out normal, so the doctors say it is just “stress”.
Call 911 if the person:
If you faint often, have never passed out before, or have new symptoms with fainting, you should see a doctor even if it is not an emergency situation. Arrange an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Besides passing out from pain, most people pass out have no underlying heart, nerve, or brain problem. You could be suffering from a simple fainting spell because of pain. Fainting can happen during or after you:
Fainting can also be associated with:
Other causes of fainting:
Heart disease, a heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and stroke are less common, but more serious causes of fainting. However, these are more likely in people over the age of 65 years old.