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Help, I'm feeling sick!

Behind this strange word hides a cascade of reactions that can lead to syncope. Rather banal and often benign, know how to recognize it to have the right reflexes when it occurs.

Sudden feeling of weakness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), sweating, headaches, black veil in front of the eyes... Be careful, you may be the victim of vagal discomfort!

Sudden awakening, intense pain, strong heat... Multiple causes

"Vagal discomfort is linked to vagal nerve dysfunction; also called the pneumo-gastric nerve, it manages the autonomic nervous system, the one that regulates the heart rate, digestion and certain hormonal secretions", explains Dr Rania Ouddane. When it is over-stimulated, it can cause an imbalance between the systems sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous… and the famous malaise in stride.

What are the causes ? "They can be multiple, specifies the general practitioner:in the event of strong heat, especially if the patient is dehydrated, in a confined atmosphere (in particular in claustrophobic people) or following violent pain." Vagal discomfort can also appear during a sudden awakening or a sudden transition from a lying position to a standing position. The body then does not have time to get used to the change in position. Other causes include low blood sugar, sudden physical exertion, and pregnancy.

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What are the warning signs of vagal discomfort?

When the vagal nerve is overstimulated, it triggers the secretion of acetylcholine. The hormone then generates a cascade of reactions. In the lead, the slowing of the heart rate and the drop in blood pressure . The brain finds itself less irrigated in blood, therefore in oxygen, for a short time. muscle weakness may result in falling , or even loss of consciousness – also called syncope.

The professional wants to be reassuring:"This is a malaise generally not serious , but it can be very impressive." Side signs, the victim becomes very pale - the blood vessels of the face being less irrigated, and it can collapse like a doll. Those who experience vagal discomfort sometimes have the impression of experience a heart attack.

It can cause relaxation of the sphincters and urination. "After a few questions about the symptoms, they are reassured, explains Dr. Ouddane, but if the discomfort recurs, the patient must be referred to a cardiologist for an assessment."

Good gestures when faced with a victim of vagal discomfort

When there is discomfort and a fall, the victim's head may hit a blunt object, with the possibility of brain trauma and hemorrhage.

At the first symptoms of vagal discomfort, there is no point in panicking. The procession of warning signs gives you time to sit down immediately – even on the ground – or to stop your vehicle if you are driving.

"If a close person shows signs of discomfort, just help them lie down and raise their legs to 90° , specifies Dr. Ouddane, by leaning them on a wall or a chair to facilitate venous return and the sending of blood to the brain."

In case of unconsciousness, spray the face with cool water and lay the victim on the side, in the recovery position. If she is slow to come to, in case of diabetes or heart failure, call for help.

How to prevent it?

Avoid vagal discomfort by drinking a lot when it's hot, getting to know yourself better and... staying cool:"this phenomenon happens especially in people prone to stress or phobics" says the doctor.

"It is sometimes a symptom of somatization in the particularly anxious profile or an alert for very tired metabolisms." Grounds conducive to spasmophilia are also exposed to dysfunction of the vagal nerve, because the latter can be compressed by a particularly intense intestinal spasm.

Relaxation practices or therapy may help.

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