ZocdocAnswersWhy have I fainted ever since I was a child?

Question

Why have I fainted ever since I was a child?

I am a 38 year old housewife with one child.I have fainted ever since I was a small child. I faint several times a year, in different seasons and temperatures. I usually faint for five to ten minutes then wake up but can't see for a couple of minutes. I have a twin sister who has fainted too but she has only fainted a couple times and it wasn't until she in her late twenties. My mother is a nurse and she thinks it is a hormonal imbalance but I think it's neurological.

Answer

The details you have given me are not quite enough for me to tell which type of doctor will be best to treat your spells, but I think I can give you some information that can help. For example if you faint while sitting still without any provoking stimuli, then you may have a central neurologic issue that needs looked into. If you stand up quickly and feel lightheaded, then faint, this is more likely to be a peripheral neurologic issue or a cardiovascular issue. Some individuals have what we call vaso-vagal syncope (syncope meaning fainting). This is a situation where a stimulus such as seeing blood, being frightened, or even urinating can cause a short but significant drop in blood pressure which causes someone to pass out. The syndrome is not dangerous except that people can get injured when the fall. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a more detailed history of your fainting spells and perform a thorough physical exam. From there, your doctor should be able to tell what major organ system is the culprit, and either treat you or refer you to the right specialist. Good luck.

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