335728 tn?1331414412

Losing Conciousness and control of bowel and bladder

My sister in law has been having a few "episodes" in the last few months.  Night before last was the worst in that she had been driving at the time.  Thankfully she had a warning that allowed her to pull into a parking lot and put the car in park prior to passing out.
She did have some warning signs prior to losing consciousness:
Apparently she was unconcious for about 5 minutes but at one point had her eyes open which caused her son to think she had perished.  The ambulance attendants arrived and they packed her off to the hospital.  She is now waiting to have an MRI, Echocardiogram and possibly a stress test.  She did lose control of both her bladder and bowel when she became unconcious and was mortified to say the least.  
We have noticed in the last year or so how easy it is for her to fly off the handle at the kids.  Her memory has become dicey at best...her short term memory is almost non existent.  She just doesn't seem too stable at all and we are all very worried.
I have MS myself so I can relate to some of her symptoms but I can't help but think that she may be have some sort of seizure.  My question is, can people lose conciousness in a regular fainting spell and lose control of her bladder and bower without it be a seizure?
I appreciate any help you can offer.

5 Responses
335728 tn?1331414412
144586 tn?1284666164
Sweating and nausea, followed by unconsciousness are hallmarks of cardiac ischemia. The heart isn't pumping well and is in need of oxygen. Although a siezure may develop this is not a "siezure" problem treated by seizure meds.

Losing control of bowel and bladder under such circumstances is common.

A stress test is mandatory. An EKG may or may not show abnormalities.

There is an extreme liklihood this was a cardiac event. It is consisting with angina despite absencfe of pain.

It is now up to the hospital to determine the reasons for this event. Could be a clot. Could be narrowing of the blood vessels. Could be due to damage to the pacemaker.

I'm sure they will figure it out.

Inappropriate anger is common when there is insufficient oxygen to the brain. A person in a car accident who has lost blood will punch your headlights out and curse the ER nurse, and when he is on oxygen and a blood transfusion brings his hematocrit back up he becomes "Saint Terresa". Sweet as iced-tea with maple syrup.
335728 tn?1331414412
Thank you so much for this information!  We were out for Mother's Day yesterday and at first she was in incredibly pale but regained her color after about 15 minutes.  However, she did have an inappropriate outburst when my brother offered her his teaspoon to eat dessert rather than having her wait for someone to bring her a fork and she yelled "I am NOT going to eat my cake with a spoon!  What are you thinking?" and we were all sitting in stunned silence afterward.

I am worried about her driving however.  It seems strange to me that her doctors in ER didn't tell her to not drive until this is diagnosed and under control!  I have seizures and was told to not drive AT ALL until my problem was under control for a whole year!  My sis in law seems to be in denial and doesn't think this is anything serious, she thinks it's hormonal!   Do you not think that her driving is not appropriate until such time as they figure out what is going on?

144586 tn?1284666164
The relationship between low oxygen levels and anger is not recognized by ninety-nine percent of physicians, but it noted by ER nurses and EMT's.

I have a theory.

When the body enters a life-threatening situation, there is survival value in verbal aggression. What I found amazing was how quickly a person's temperment could improve with oxygenation or a blood transfusion.

It is likely if she is given a "chemical stress test" where a substance is injected to stimulate the heart, the problem will be identified.

Please post back with the results.
Avatar universal
Hello, I'm sorry I cannot offer concrete answers but to your specific question of whether it's possible to have loss of consciousness (LOC) and incontinence simultaneously withOUT being a seizure- yes it is possible.

I am going through diagnostics right now for similar things. I haven't had (to my knowledge) angry outbursts but I've had simultaneous LOC/incontinence, dizziness, a balloon type head pressure, pale face, sweaty hot feelings (age 35),  moments of extreme confusion and disorientation, decreased focus ability, decreased exertion capacity, bad short term memory and sometimes trouble walking. Also constant tinnitus, since my LOC. Constant, but varying in volume.

I just went through an intense testing/observation with continuous EKG and EEG with video recording, and when I did have a dizzy/confused spell it was my heart that sent alarms off. So epilepsy has "90-100%" been ruled out. They told me that seizure is not the only thing thing that makes that combination of LOC/ bladder control.

I am going to a cardiologist next, and hope to get a Dr. that won't blow off my concerns.
Have you ever had an mri of your brain?  
All of your symptoms are consistent with a chiari malformation. It is usually found on mri by accident. Do you have a certain type of headache often?
Hello thank you for your response Katcc87, I'm sorry I'm late in responding, I didn't see my emails, they were going to spam.

I have had a brain MRI but it showed nothing abnormal except what they said was "proof of headache." Yes I get headaches, mostly when I'm sleep deprived, skipped a meal, stressed, or with light exertion or standing for 10+ minutes. I gave up sugar in March and have had much less headaches since. Perhaps a more comprehensive list of my symptoms will help.

Oh also, I've had several, several covid tests and they are always negative. My husband is tested daily since last July and has always been negative. I don't know for sure but I do believe I had covid in November of 2019 and didn't feel better until January of 2020.

On the day of the LOC/incontinence 10/26/2020 I went to the ER and had a CT scan, EKG, full metabolic panel, blood sugar, and urine tested and all normal. 2 weeks later I had an ultrasound of my neck arteries, which were also normal. My husband was in nursing for 18 years so at home he took my bp, sugar and pulse before ER and I was laying down, it was 117/75, 82 sugar, and 73 pulse. I was confused and disoriented, nauseated, alternately hot and cold, weak and shaky for 6 hours after LOC.

I have a congenital condition of the eyes called Duane's Syndrome, I can't move my eyes to the outside edge, toward my ears, the muscles didn't have time to develop. This is from being 5 weeks premature, and starving in the womb, I wasn't quite 3 lbs and required some ICU time. I checked at the eye Dr in December and told him what's going on and he said it's not from my eye condition or vision, but I wonder if something else also did not develop correctly. If it helps maybe I should mention I used to have bad ear infections too, one on the right side that was very bad and nearly beat all the antibiotics they gave me. I grew out of them. Have had painful periods since the age of 10.

I had a car accident in 2018 in which I was rear-ended at high speed, so we did an MRI of my cervical neck/spine, and though there was some damage there was no nerve compression to cause my issues. They did find a small nodule on what they thought was my thyroid.

I was checked in Women's health, no issues to explain my symptoms there. I was checked by ENT for hypercalcemia (nope, normal) and and a test to check if the nodule was in fact on my thyroid or on my parathyroid. It is on my thyroid, so because of the location and size they said it is nothing to worry about.

At that point I went to an epileptologist. He did order a brain MRI, with and without contrast. MRI showed nothing abnormal, no size or shape or position abnormalities, no indicators of demyelinating disease. The only thing they found was what he said were "freckles" which indicate a headache, which I did have what I would more accurately call a migraine- sensitive to light and noise. That morning of the brain MRI I also had an instance where I was on my knees kneeling and fell, which was odd to me because I should have been quite stable in my position.

Then I did the aforementioned epilepsy testing with constant EKG, EEG, with a consistent very high bp for me, as high as 155/90, when 115/70 is normal average. I do get white coat syndrome but normally systolic only raises 10 points, not 40! The only times I was allowed move from my bed for 2.5 days was to go to the bathroom, and my pulse would also jump to 140 from 88 at rest (88 is a bit high but I attribute that to white coat). I set off the heart alarm every time I got up, and when I got up to walk across the room to get a change of clothes, is when I had a very bad confused spell. I was asked what month it is, and I was searching for the answer for a solid minute.The confusion usually lasts 10 seconds or so. It was April but I wanted to say July, and knew that was wrong, so then wanted to say March, then couldn't even think of the word April but finally found it. That's when epileptologist called it "not epilepsy" because my brain was fine during that episode, but my pulse was jumping around and he said "it's like your heart can't keep up".

They sent me home with info about stroke and said to try and keep my bp lower, which I only seem to be able to do with being sedentary. They tested me for orthostatic intolerance (Not sure if hyper or hypo) and said it was negative, but I don't think they gave it enough time and actually think there's something to that. Since then I have been taking 10-15 second's pause between position changes, laying to sitting, sitting to standing, standing to walking- and have been feeling MUCH better. I have had only a few dizzy spells and ZERO confused spells for almost a month now, that is very significant!

I might mention too, that at the beginning of the 2.5 day hospital stay they took my blood and it came back onto an app color coded for me, with green within healthy range and yellow in abnormal range. All was in normal range except my sodium was right on the cusp of green/yellow on the low side, and my O2 was in the yellow on the low side.

At home I have a pulse ox meter, and when I wear it for an hour at rest I notice every 5 minutes or so that it alarms at me that my oxygen is getting low, it beeps at 93% and I have seen it go anywhere from 93 to 89. It's low only for a few seconds and then comes back up. I also have a health tracking watch and one time when I had just taken my bp, then did light chores for 5 minutes, then I glanced down and my O2 was at 72%. So IF that's accurate I think it's a big clue.

I do get dull, sometimes throbbing headaches although they seem to be typically on the right top side of my head, sometimes over my right eye, sometimes just my whole head hurts. It's not always the same, and they have greatly reduced since I started moving much more carefully and honestly, less. I get spots in my vision with light exertion, and sometimes with migraine I get retinal burns that won't go away- and they all build upon each other so that I can't see hardly at all.  

My symptoms are much worse when I 'm sleep deprived, which for me means less than 8-9 hours, and when I'm stressed, with even light exertion or standing for more than 10 minutes, and even with prolonged focus of an hour or more. I had a spell one time when I stayed up late playing a strategy board game with family that I haven't seen in years. I was sitting at the time, but tired and exerting focus for extended periods because my Dad is ruthless playing games, so I must also be cunning and ruthless haha.

Symptoms are better with slow positional changes, sitting/being at rest, keeping to meal times, reducing or avoiding stress.

I had my cardiologist appointment, and though the nurse did think that there was something to the orthostatic intolerance as well, the Dr just took it as high bp, which apparently I can't convince them is NOT normal.
Nurse asked me to change positions quickly, without my pauses, and my bp shot up to 149/98 and pulse was 131 when all I did was stand up and stand for 4 minutes. O2 remained at 97% that time. That makes me wonder what my vitals are when I am confused.

The cardiologist ordered a 2 week at-home heart monitor which I haven't received yet, as well as an echo doppler which is in a week from now, and a referral to an electrophysiologist.

I also have an appointment in 3 months with a neurologist to look into IIH-idiopathic intercranial hypertension. I will keep this appointment just in case it's needed, as I've been told it's possibly a  heart issue and possibly an issue with signals getting to the heart which would make it neurological.

I am going to leave this comment here, but also make my own question thread.
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