Menstrual Period Fainting

Some women will actually experience fainting during their menstrual period

1. Vasovagal syncope (VVS) is a medical problem of fainting, it can be due to a number of factors both neurologic and cardiac and is also known as the ‘common faint.’

When you faint you might have vision changes, hearing changes, thoughts or thinking slows, and then you loose consciousness.

To be diagnosed with the actual condition of VVS you have to have recurrent fainting, and it is mostly seen in young women of reproductive age but is also commonly seen in athletes. Stress and other physiologic triggers exist.

2. This is not a condition of painful periods,, although it is possible that pain could cause fainting. Vasovagal syncope or VVS is a condition of fainting from other conditions. Some women only have, or have worsening, fainting or almost fainting: syncope and presyncope in medical jargon, around menstruation.

3. The medical cause is not fully understood. The condition is perplexing, it seems to be due to lack of enough blood getting to the brain. It doesn’t seem to be related to being on oral contraceptives or other hormonal treatments specifically.

4. Here’s what to look for if it happens to you.

For some people it’s the sensation of lightheaded feeling that you can get if you spring up too fast from siting or lying to standing quickly. Several studies have shown that some women have more episodes during menstruation.

5. Here are some things to try if this happens to you. Fainting could be due to the lack of fluids, being anemic from heavy bleeding, blood sugar changes, or to passing clots (even relatively small ones) through the cervix.

6. Research is ongoing, and here’s what we might check if you are experiencing these symptoms.

So to study this patients were asked about the assessed the effects of the menstrual cycle on lightheaded episodes and compared the gynecological and pregnancy history of women with VVS patients to healthy subjects. These authors couldn’t specifically study fainting so they studied lightheaded women and to try to look at symptoms during menstrual periods. And women with VVS and normal women actually had similar numbers of episodes of being lightheaded or fainting in the premenstrual and menstrual times. Often women wonder if these hormonal symptoms mean hormonal imbalance or fertility issues. Most likely it is an abnormal response to normal menstrual period levels of hormones, and it has no direct relationship to whether a woman is infertile.


Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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