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"While I was washing my hair I began to feel nauseous and light-headed. What could have caused this?"

ZocdocAnswersWhile I was washing my hair I began to feel nauseous and light-headed. What could have caused this?


This morning while I was washing my hair (which is very time consuming as I have a lot of hair), I started to notice I was feeling nauseous and very light headed.My vision started to fade until I couldn't see, and then my hearing started to fade as well. I could hear the sound of the water get quieter until I didn't hear it anymore. I ended up collapsing, and I stayed down until my vision and hearing came back. This was the second time this happened, but the first time it was only light headedness and temporary sight loss. The first time was also after washing my hair. What could have caused this to happen? Could it possibly be from holding my arms up for a long time?


Thanks for your question. I recommend that you speak with your doctor. Yes, the symptoms that you are describing could be due to holding your arms up for too long. There is a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome, or TOS, that can often manifest itself for the first time in this fashion. This syndrome is caused by compression of the blood flow that comes out of your chest (as it leaves your heart) and ascends to supply your brain. When your arms are raised, it compresses the vessels that carry this blood, and decreases blood flow to your brain. The natural response to this is to cause you to pass out or lie down, which allows gravity to take over and increase blood flow to your brain again. Many different things can cause thoracic outlet syndrome, and some people have either an extra rib, or a history of a collar bone fracture that can pre-dispose them to having this condition because the space where the blood vessels flow is relatively smaller than that of other people. There are other things that could also cause the symptoms that you are describing, however, and so you need to be seen by your doctor and discuss this. Again, please speak with your doctor.

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