Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness due to a drop in blood flow to the brain. The episode is brief (lasting less than a couple of minutes) and is followed by rapid and complete recovery. You may feel light-headed or
A longer, deeper state of
Passed out; Light-headedness - fainting; Syncope; Vasovagal episode
When you faint, you not only experience
Fainting may occur while you are urinating, having a bowel movement (especially if straining), coughing very hard, or when you have been standing in one place too long. Fainting can also be related to fear, severe pain, or emotional distress.
A sudden drop in blood pressure can cause you to faint. Your blood pressure may drop suddenly if you are bleeding or severely
Certain medications may lead to fainting by causing a drop in your blood pressure or for another reason. Common drugs that contribute to fainting include those used for anxiety, high blood pressure, nasal congestion, and allergies.
Other reasons you may faint include
Less common but more serious reasons for fainting include heart disease (such as abnormal heart rhythm or heart attack) and stroke. These conditions are more likely in persons over age 65 and less likely in those younger than 40.
Review Date: 05/03/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.