Syncope: What Really Happened When You Fainted
Syncope is the medical term for fainting or passing out. Losing consciousness is very scary and may be caused by many different reasons. The most important part about making the right diagnosis with your doctor is to provide a good history of the incident. This may be difficult because you might not remember all the details due to fainting. If possible, make sure to talk with those around you who witnessed the episode to hear what they observed.
Before seeing the doctor, prepare your answers to these questions:
- What were you doing immediately before the event?
- What symptoms did you have immediately preceding the event?
- Did you injure yourself?
- Any past history of fainting?
- What medications are you taking?
Syncope is defined as having the following features:
Syncope is commonly mistaken for seizures. Differentiating between the two may be tricky and has major implications for treatment. History is key!
Syncope is due to a drop in blood pressure and decreased blood flow to the brain. People fall to the ground or slump over in a chair and subsequently regain full consciousness in a short period of time because of the return of blood flow. Syncope is very common one out of every three people will experience it in their lifetime .
Other causes of syncope include:
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Try Simple Measures First Like Using A Fiber Supplement And Treating Underlying Conditions
Nobody wants to talk about or even imagine it. But loss of bowel control known as fecal incontinence is a problem for millions of adults in the United States, especially women.
“It becomes more common with age. It’s socially isolating and takes away your dignity. You live in fear that you have stool in your pants and people can smell it. Some people won’t even tell their doctors about it,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Risk Factors For Urinary Incontinence
The following factors may put you at higher risk for developing UI.
Being female Women experience stress incontinence twice as often as men. Men, on the other hand, are at greater risk for urge and overflow incontinence.
Advancing age As we get older, our bladder and urinary sphincter muscles often weaken, which may result in frequent and unexpected urges to urinate. Even though incontinence is more common in older people, it is not considered a normal part of aging.
Excess body fat Extra body fat increases the pressure on the bladder and can lead to urine leakage during exercise or when coughing or sneezing.
Other chronic diseases Vascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions may increase the risk of urinary incontinence
Smoking A chronic smoker’s cough can trigger or aggravate stress incontinence by putting pressure on the urinary sphincter.
High-impact sports While sports don’t cause incontinence, running, jumping, and other activities that create sudden pressure on the bladder can lead to occasional episodes of incontinence during sports activities.
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Living With Bowel Or Bladder Incontinence
There is no single, right way to cope with bladder or bowel incontinence. The challenge is to find what is best for your situation, so you can get the help you need and return to a normal daily life. Talk with your health care team if you notice a change in bowel or bladder habits, and about the best ways to manage incontinence, if it is a problem. You might find it helpful to talk with other people who are dealing with incontinence, too. Ask a member of your cancer care team about support groups in your area.
Here are some things you can do that may help make incontinence less of a problem:
- Empty your bladder every 3 to 4 hours while awake, to avoid accidents.
- Empty your bladder before bedtime or before strenuous activity.
- Limit drinks with caffeine, or and avoid alcohol and citrus juices, which can irritate the bladder and make you have to go more often.
- Avoid hygiene products that may irritate you Women should avoid feminine spray or over-the-counter vaginal suppositories.
- Because belly fat can push on the bladder, avoiding weight gain or losing needed weight sometimes helps improve bladder control.
- Avoid tobacco use which can cause coughing and bladder irritation due to harmful substances in tobacco products.
- Talk to your doctor about all medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements youre taking. Some may affect urine control.
Why Bowel Incontinence Happens
Bowel incontinence is a symptom of an underlying problem or medical condition.
Read more about the causes of bowel incontinence.
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Loss Of Bladder And Bowel Control
Bowel incontinence means you lose control over passing stool, whereas urinary incontinence refers to a condition that involves unwanted passage of urine. When you have bowel or bladder dysfunction, you are likely to experience other problems as well with voluntary urination and bowel movements. Not only can these problems cause pain and discomfort, they can be a source of embarrassment as well. While you may not feel comfortable with the idea of seeking medical help, you should not waste time and talk to your healthcare provider to find a treatment option to deal with loss of bladder or bowel control.
Symptoms Of Lack Of Bowel Control In Dogs
The inability to control bowel movements stems from a lack of communication of sorts between the brain and the colon. There can be various explanations for the problem, and the veterinarian will be able to diagnose the problem. Take note of the following signs, and relay them to the veterinarian at your clinic visit:
- Lack of anal tone
- Scooting hind end along floor
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How Is A Blackout Diagnosed
A psychogenic blackout can be difficult to diagnose. Most often it occurs in young adults as a result of stress or anxiety. However, the link between blackouts and stress may not be obvious.
Psychogenic does not mean that people are putting it on. In most cases a psychogenic blackout is an involuntary reaction of the brain to pressure or distress. Psychogenic blackouts sometimes develop after people have experienced ill treatment or trauma. They are sometimes a reaction to a horrific experience in the past which a patient has not able to come to terms with.
Specialists in treating blackouts can sometimes make a clear diagnosis when you, or someone who has seen an attack, describes it in detail. Although a psychogenic blackout does resemble an epileptic seizure or reflex syncope, there are small but important differences between these types of attacks:
- Psychogenic attacks tend to be numerous, often occurring several times a day, or at the same time each day. This differs from reflex syncope which is typically no more frequent than four or five times a year.
- During an episode, the eyes may be tightly closed with a lid flutter, whilst during reflex syncope or epilepsy the eyes are often open.
- Patients can experience psychogenic syncope when they are lying on their back.
- Typical symptoms associated with reflex syncope, such as looking pale or becoming sweaty, maybe absent.
- A psychogenic blackout often lasts much longer than reflex syncope.
When To Seek Medical Help
Any instance of incontinence is reason to seek medical help. It may be a symptom of a more serious condition that needs to be treated.
Even if the underlying cause isnt serious, incontinence can be a major disruption in your life. Its important to get an accurate diagnosis and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
In some cases, incontinence is a sign of a medical emergency.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you lose control of your bladder and experience any of the following symptoms:
- trouble speaking or walking
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What Are Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises, also called Kegels or pelvic floor muscle training, are exercises for your pelvic floor muscles to help prevent or reduce stress urinary incontinence. Your pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
Four in 10 women improved their symptoms after trying Kegels.9 Kegels can be done daily and may be especially helpful during pregnancy. They can help prevent the weakening of pelvic floor muscles, which often happens during pregnancy and childbirth. Your pelvic floor muscles may also weaken with age and less physical activity.
Some women have urinary symptoms because the pelvic floor muscles are always tightened. In this situation, Kegel exercises will not help your urinary symptoms and may cause more problems. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your urinary symptoms before doing Kegel exercises.
Causes Of Loss Of Bladder And Bowel Control
Certain nerves in your body control those muscles that allow the bowel and bladder to function properly. These nerves allow muscles in the body to contract and relax properly, which is important for feces and urine to be eliminated from your body. The nerves in your spinal cord receive signals from the brain and send them to the sphincter and bladder muscles to control their movement. There are muscles in the anus and rectum that control your bowels, whereas sphincter muscles release and control stool. It means that problems with these nerves can lead to problems with bowel and bladder function.
Causes of Bowel Incontinence
Any damage to the muscles around the anus may lead to bowl incontinence. This damage could be the outcome of vaginal childbirth this may also affect the nerves in this area. It is due to this particular reason that women are twice as likely to develop bowel incontinence as compared to men. Anal surgery may also damage the anal sphincters and nerves in this area.
Causes of Urine Incontinence
It is not always necessary to have a noticeable cause of loss of bladder and bowel control, but your doctor can help you identify the best treatment in this case. Certain conditions can cause urinary incontinence. For instance, it may happen due to poor overall health, vaginal childbirth, and any damage to the nervous system.
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Loss Of Bowel Control
Bowel incontinence the inability to control bowel movements can occur when you are unaware that your rectum is full. If you cant feel the sensation that you need to empty the bowel, you may pass stool without knowing it.
Sometimes a bulge in an intervertebral disc in the lower back irritates a nerve. When this happens, bladder and/or bowel dysfunction can occur along with pain depending on which nerve a herniated disc irritates.
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Common Causes Of Back Pain
The back undergoes a lot of wear and tear due to twisting, lifting, and supporting a personâs body weight.
There are many possible causes of back pain. They may occur at the same time as urinary incontinence, though the two symptoms are not always related.
When incontinence and back pain arise due to a single underlying condition, they are not usually symptoms that a person can treat at home.
However, a person can try the following steps to try to improve their symptoms:
- Avoid substances that worsen incontinence. These include caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
- Try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These include ibuprofen and naproxen. NSAIDs can help relieve pain and reduce the inflammation that can lead to discomfort.
- Apply a cloth-covered ice pack to the back for 10 minutes at a time. This can help relieve irritation and swelling that can cause back pain and discomfort.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking is a known risk factor for incontinence and can also contribute to the development of conditions that cause back pain.
A person can also review the medications they currently take with their doctor. However, they should not stop taking any medications without a doctorâs approval.
If someone has a herniated disk, there are several exercises that may help relieve pain. Gentle activities, such as swimming and yoga, can also be beneficial.
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Incontinence In Older People
In some cases, older people have a higher risk of incontinence because of a medical condition, which may be treatable. Medical causes of incontinence in older people include:
- urinary tract infection this is where bacteria get into the tube that empties pee from the bladder out of the body. This can lead to infection of the bladder or kidneys. Symptoms can include a sudden urge to pee, pain or a burning feeling when peeing, a fever and urinary incontinence. A urinary tract infection can usually be treated with antibiotics
- constipation this is uncomfortable and makes both emptying and controlling the bladder more difficult. Constipation is also a very common cause of faecal incontinence. When the bowel gets full of very hard poo which cannot be passed, liquid poo can leak out from around the edges of the blockage. It is easy to confuse this with diarrhoea
- prostate gland problems these affect men, and may be treatable
- side effects of medication the GP may be able to address these by changing the persons prescription or altering the dose
- other gut conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome .
Many people find it embarrassing to talk about these problems, and this can stop them from seeking help from health professionals. GPs and specialists deal with issues like these frequently and its important to get advice and support from them. Medical causes can often be treated or managed.
Related Conditions And Causes Of Urinary Incontinence
Fecal incontinence is light to moderate bowel leakage due to diarrhea, constipation, or muscle or nerve damage.
As described in the section above on causes of urinary incontinence, common conditions may contribute to chronic urinary incontinence, including: urinary tract infection , constipation, interstitial cystitis or other bladder conditions, nerve damage that affects bladder control, side effects from a prior surgery, and neurological disorders.
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Dietary Fiber Linked To A Lower Risk For Fecal Incontinence
When fecal incontinence strikes, increasing your dietary fiber with foods like legumes can help get you back to normal. And a Harvard-led study published last September in Gastroenterology suggests that eating a high-fiber diet over the long term is associated with a lower risk for developing fecal incontinence in older women.
Researchers looked at questionnaire responses from more than 58,000 women who were followed for more than 20 years. Women in the study who ate the most fiber had an 18% lower risk for fecal incontinence, compared with women who ate the least amount of fiber . The study is observational and doesn’t prove that eating fiber prevents fecal incontinence. But it’s reasonable that it should. “There are so many reasons why fiber can be helpful. It may help ward off heart disease and diabetes. A reduced risk for fecal incontinence adds another potential benefit,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, the lead author of the study and a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Treatment For Incontinence And Continence Problems
If you have incontinence or continence problems, you should seek help. There is a range of management options available. The treatments depend on the type of incontinence you have and what you hope to achieve.An incontinence management plan will usually include several of:
- adequate fluid intake of up to two litres each day
- incontinence aids such as pads, condom drainage or catheters.
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The Signs And Causes Of Fainting
Fainting occurs when ones blood pressure suddenly drops, resulting in a decrease of blood flow to the brain.
A number of things can affect blood pressure, from abrupt changes in posture , dehydration, and certain medications. Feeling faint can include dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea. Ones field of vision may even black out. This loss of consciousness triggers a loss in muscle control. Thats what causes the person to fall to the ground.
One of the most common types of fainting is caused by a sort of crossed signal between the brain and the vagus nerve, a large nerve that runs from the brain to the stomach. When this nerve is overstimulated, a person may faint. In such cases, you can usually figure out the reason maybe you were standing for a long time, fainted at the sight of blood, or due to some kind of emotional distress, trauma, or pain.
Some people faint because theyve suddenly constricted their carotid artery by turning their head abruptly or wearing a too-tight collar. Straining to make a bowel movement or even urinating can sometimes cause fainting, too.
Fainting can also occur in people who have hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, most common among diabetics because of fluctuating insulin levels. Dehydration can also cause fainting, particularly in the elderly. Certain types of medications, including
Possible Treatment Options: Bathroom Assistance
Depending on the exact nature of the injury, there are several treatment options available. Some of these include:
Colostomy: For those who have damaged their rectal sphincter, one of the options is called a colostomy. In this procedure, the bowel is detached from the anal opening and attached to the surface of the abdomen. People instead void into a bag that they empty periodically.
Catheterization: Individuals who have lost control of their bladder may be able to use catheters to void in private. This might sound unpleasant, but it does allow retention of privacy.
Depending on the exact nature of the injury, there could be alternatives available.
Watch YouTube Video: Bowel Dysfunction. This video explains how physical therapy can help patients with bowel dysfunction.
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