We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Vasovagal Response?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The vasovagal response is a complex signaling of the brain that dilates the blood vessels in the legs, slows the heart rate, and very often causes fainting, which is also called vasovagal syncope. This signaling begins with some outside stimulus such as being injured, seeing blood or getting an injection. People in the midst of an episode have similar symptoms, such as paleness, extra perspiration, and fainting. Some techniques used to manage an episode might help reduce fainting. Additionally, there are treatment options for people who often experience this problem.

In order to experience a vasovagal response, the body is first triggered by a stimulus, which awakens nerves that supply the vasomotor section of the brain. When the brain is activated, it signals the large veins in the legs to pen fully, which results in blood collecting in the legs at an abnormal rate. his draining of the blood also causes the heart rate to drop below normal. Once the process is complete, it's not at all uncommon for people to faint, and vasovagal syncope is believed to be the most common cause of fainting.

The types of stimuli associated with a vasovagal response are highly varied. Sight of blood is a common cause, but other triggers might be much more complex. People who have experienced trauma might have this response in any situation that reminds them of that trauma. These episodes are more likely to occur in dehydrated or recently ill individuals, and smokers may experience them more frequently. In some people, they may also happen right after exercise.

It’s relatively easy to recognize the symptoms of a vasovagal response in other people. Individuals are likely to look pale, have clammy skin and may perspire. Other symptoms people having a reaction may notice are faintness, nausea, and restriction of the vision or hearing.

If a person appears to be having a vasovagal reaction, it’s quite likely he may fall and sustain injury. Getting the affected individual to lie down with the head turned to the side may help restore some of the blood flow and prevent fainting. Lifting the legs, such as onto a chair from the lying down position, is also advised. Placing the head between the knees while sitting is an alternative position that may be of use.

Many individuals only have a vasovagal response a few times in their lives and don’t need any form of treatment for it. Some people may experience these episodes frequently, however, and might require help. One way to address this problem is psychotherapy to deal with the response to triggers or stimuli. Therapy is particularly important for those suffering from conditions like post traumatic stress disorder or specific phobias. Medications like antidepressants and beta blockers have also been shown to be useful for this condition.

In some patients the condition is so severe that their slow heart rate, known as bradycardia, must be treated. Doctors may consider pacemaker implantation in this case. A pacemaker can help reduce bradycardia episodes and thus prevent fainting.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.