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Dizziness,bowel movement,unconsciousness

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Practicing since : 2002
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I am and 80 year old male, and for about three to four months I have a dizziness when I go to the bathroom, I feel lije I'm about to pass out. Also, whenever I eat a meal.
Posted Wed, 11 Apr 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 31 minutes later
Hello and thanks for the query.

Your question is a very good one and I will try to provide some excellent information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

You have described symptoms of almost passing out while going to the bathroom or during other situations. I am convinced that this is a reflection of what we refer to as a vasovagal phenomenon. What this means in layman's terms is that your central nervous system becomes activated during the process of having a bowel movement or emptying the bladder. This can cause your blood pressure to drop and can create a sensation like you might pass out. This is often something that we see in older patients. Of course it is also important to make sure that your heart function is optimized.

I think it certainly is necessary for you to visit with your primary care provider to have a thorough assessment. Often times with symptoms that you described. We check other things including the heart via and echo cardiogram. This will give your doctors a good idea of how efficient your heart is at pumping blood.

Also when you eat a meal it causes a significant amount of blood to be sent to the gastrointestinal tract. This takes away a bit of blood flow to the brain and can cause the sensation of dizziness and or the sensation of almost passing out. This maybe something that you need to keep in mind and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

For now I recommend that when you go to the bathroom you pause after completing your bowel movement or emptying your bladder and wait for at least 30 seconds to 1 min. before standing up to leave the bathroom. This will give your central nervous system some time to adjust the blood flow and blood pressure. Also after eating a meal It is important that if you are going to stand up that you take your time and that also you maintain good hydration.

Again I recommend that you visit with your primary care provider to discuss the symptoms as it is important that you obtain a good federal assessment physical examination and consultation. I am not concerned that you have anything life-threatening going on but it is certainly something worth investigating.

I hope you found this exchange to be helpful. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert.
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