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Abdominal pain, dropping blood pressure, lost control of bowels. Colonoscopy normal, 60 year old. Can I take a flight ?

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I have abdominal pain and my blood pressure drops. A few times I have passed out, but most of the time I am on the floor in a dream like state. Recently I have lost control of my bowels. I have been told is it a vasalvagus response to pain. Sometimes the response triggers the abdominal pain with no cause for the adominal pain. I sweat, cold, weakness and extreme lower adominal pain. I know any type of laxative can trigger the reacation as well as waking suddenly in the middle of the night. No luck with my nuerologist who just told me I was not having seizures. I also had a severe spell years ago when I had an IUD inserted. As I age it is getting harder to bounce back from these spells and they can be very embarassing also. My colonoscopy was normal. I am 60 years old and the attacks seems to be coming more often now. I have also seen a heart specialist years ago and passed the tilt test and heart monitor test. I ate vegetables with olive oil last week and I think the olive oil may have worked like a laxitive and I had multiple bowel movements and extreme pain and low blood pressure again. I layed on the bathroom floor at work until it passed. I do not have vomit, but not always. I actually passed out cold driving, but my husband was able to stop the car. I then proceeded to have to empty my bowels in the car - very sad. There was not previous warning that I was going to have this problem. I am getting ready to fly on a plane and I am in a panic that it might happen on the plane.

I don't know where to go from here.
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 6 hours later

Thank you for sending your question.

Your question is a good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations regarding the symptoms you are experiencing.

From the clinical details provided, abdominal pain, low blood pressure, vasovagal spells and abnormal bowel movements indicate the clinical possibility of autonomic dysfunction in you. However normal tilt test and holter monitor are against it. Other causes which can be easily missed are porphyria's.

My recommendation would be for you to see your Neurologist and discuss the possibilities and proceed for the work up to exclude these possibilities. As you did not have any warning signs before the bowel movements I request you to be prepared for the worst during your flight journey.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you have found my response to be helpful. If you have additional concerns I would be happy to discuss them with you.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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