I am a fifty-four year old female who had a pretty scary arrhythmia episode immediately following orgasm. Got really dizzy and felt like I was going to faint. Then felt extremely sick to my stomach and felt like I was going to vomit for about 45 minutes. Got very sweaty. Returned to normal with no further symptoms. Saw GP , who told me the latter symptoms due to vagus nerve kicking in. Had the treadmill test and was able to do maximum with no symptoms. Cardiologist who did the test told me the arrhythmia was not likely to happen again. Bit of a downer for further sex- husband and I are now too scared and are wondering if it will happen again with worse results. Any thoughts?
It sounds like you've gone through the battery of tests to rule out heart attack, and that is wonderful news!!! It also sounds like you suffered a vagal episode (having ruled out the heart attack). I get those, usually with a sudden drop in blood pressure. I have a couple of questions for you...
1. Have you had fainting spells in the past?
2. Have you ever had a work-up for the vagal reflex? That is, a tilt table test? If indeed you are having vasovagal responses, this can be determined with a simple test that puts you at a 45 degree angle and the docs wait for you to faint so they can see your body's reaction. They can then determine the best course of treatment. Sometimes it is a simple as salt tablets!!!
3. If (and I apologize for the descriptors here) your husband had his weight on you for a large portion of the decribed encounter and then suddenly shifted his weight, that can cause a sudden and dramatic shift in blood pressure...resulting in the symptoms you describe. You may want to test the results of an orgasm without his weight pressing on you (different position, or self induced).
I guess #3 was not a question :-).
I am sorry this happened to you. I have experience with vagal responses, and they are no fun. And I can definately understand the fear of returning to the activity that precipitated the event. I hope you find a compromise between "none" and "different."
I'm not sure, but I don't really think so. The vagus causes suppression of adrenaline...it's the reverse affect from "fight or flight." It's always caused bradycardia in me...to the point of causing the fainting. And when it does, I get shaky, sweaty, and nauseous, then sometimes pass out.
i know it probably sounds trivial but, try not to assume it was an arrhythmia right now, if it wasnt confirmed on a monitor, theres no way to decipher if it was a regular tachy rhythm, a slow heart rate, or actual arrhythmia.. Have you ever experienced this near fainting before??? Since?? Ide ask for a holter monitor, and if that yields no results, and event monitor just to be on the safe side... I agree with dolfnlvr as well, sounds like it might be vagal..
No way to be G-rated on this topic so here goes... I get PVC's during and after orgasm on occasion, mainly if we use a woman-on-top position. I've found that PVC's for me can be very body angle or body position related when in a horizontal position, be it while lying down in bed to sleep, watching tv lying down, etc. It used to be that lying on my left side was a good way to minimize the chance of PVC's or if PVC's were cropping up while trying to fall asleep for instance, shifting onto my left side would help reduce the frequency. Lately, though the situation is reversed and lying on my right side seems to be the best chance of no or fewer PVC's. Lying face down on stomach also for me seems to reduce the chance of PVC's or mitigate them if having PVC's. Talking regular laying down here, not sexual activity. But as mentioned if I'm going to get PVC's during or after sex its usually if I'm on my back, so my wife and I don't use that position a whole lot.
Thanks so much everyone for replying. Now, I have never in my entire life ever fainted or even come close. I am 5'4'' tall and weigh 120 pounds, am active physically, outdoor person, rarely sick even with a cold or flu, and in pretty good shape. I have not fainted since this episode but I have not had sex either. Never had the tilt table test- I will suggest that to my doctor. Re: position- yes husband was on top. The thing is I started to pass out after he got up to go to the bathroom. I was still lying in bed and as I also started to get up, I felt myself losing consciousness and called to him- he came running and then I got really ill. Your take on the shifting in blood pressure sounds sensible. I agree "different" sounds a whole lot better than "none." It's hard to face this fear, because the whole episode made both my husband and I feel I was very close to death and of course, that's not something we want to repeat.
College Girl, the reason I say arrhythmia is that this is what my GP felt it was. But you're right, that is not certain. I do know that my blood pressure was very low during this period of extreme illness because my husband took my pulse every few minutes and said it was very slow. Holter monitor is also a good suggestion. Still, perhaps I am way off base with this, but aren't arrhythmias notoriously hard to track with the holter monitor?
Low pulse and low BP are typical of a vagal response, or simply a sudden drop in blood pressure that could have been a one time thing. Halter monitors track your rhythm for 24-48 hours and are useful in determining whether you have ongoing arhythmias, or if your heart functions "normally" during that time. It's a nice test to get even if everything is fine, because it puts your mind at ease that all seems to be working correctly. Unfortunately, in cases of episodic arhythmia the halter is a poor test, because the likelihood of you having an episode in the 24 hours you are wearing it are often slim. In that case, they often prescribe an event monitor, which works by having you hit a record button WHEN something begins to happen to you. You wear an event monitor for about a month on average. Both are painless. I will say however, that both would be quite annoying during intimate relations.
Keep in mind, this may not have been an arhythmia at all, or at least not a repeating one. If you had not eaten in awhile (low blood sugar) and then excited your body, then relaxed...then when you rose from the bed, the sudden drop in BP could have caused the reaction. This happens to many people..you've heard them say "Whoa, I must have gotten up too fast." Usually it's a small drop that equalizes quickly, but it sounds as though in your case it was more dramatic therefore, more scary.
There are so many factors that could have combined to cause this episode. I'm not sure that the relations were the cause...at least not in and of themselves. More likely there was a culmination of several factors that led to the event.
Sorry to hear about your experience, it sounds alot like what I go through, especially after sex or when I'm rising from bed and like others have mentioned, there's numberous things that can cause it. Mine is caused from BPV (Benign Positional Vertigo) and is caused by a disturbance within the balance organs of the inner ear. People often describe their first experience occurring while turning their head in bed or upon rising from bed. Severe BPV is often followed by nausea and vomiting or a feeling of it.
The most common causes of dizziness are: orthostatic hypotension (anemia, volume depletion, antihypertensive medications), cardiac disease (cardiomyopathy, dysrhythmias, aortic stenosis), vasovagal episodes (or neurocardiogenic syncope), and hyperventilation.
The most common cause of vertigo is BPV. Sometimes it's just a process of elimination and perhaps this was just a one time event.
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