Have a tendency to faint when you stand on your feet for a long time, experience pain, see blood, are in extreme heat or when emotions run high–and your doctor says it’s due to your blood pressure and heart rate dropping suddenly?
This condition–called vasovagal syncope–is more common in women than men. And now new research in the Cardiology Journal reveals that premenopausal women who have this condition are more than twice as likely to faint during the first half of their monthly cycle (spanning the first day of your period through ovulation) than the second.
The reason? Rising estrogen prompts a higher production of nitric oxide, which makes your blood vessels to dilate more readily, which leads to more blood pooling in your legs, triggering a fainting spell. And a higher level of noradrenaline in the second half of your cycle may help keep blood vessels from dilating too wide, reducing your risk of fainting.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU’RE A FAINTER?
If you’ve got vasovagal syncope, try to avoid triggers that lead to fainting (such as prolonged standing and saunas) during the first half of your cycle.
And ask your doctor about ways to lower your chances of fainting on high-risk days in your cycle, such as wearing compression stockings, which help improve circulation.
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Gabrielle Lichterman is a longtime women’s health and lifestyle journalist whose articles have appeared in dozens of major magazines and newspapers around the globe including Cosmopolitan, CosmoGIRL, Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Daily News and Woman’s World. Gabrielle began developing Hormonology® and the Hormone Horoscope® in 1999 and has been sharing menstrual cycle-related research and tips through her apps, blog, book, newsletter and magazine articles ever since.
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