Fainting or Syncope

Fainting or Syncope (medical term) is defined as the loss of consciousness, lasting for a few seconds or minutes. There is no awareness of the surrounding environment as well as oneself. Most individuals also refer to it as “passing out”. Loss of consciousness is usually followed by a state of complete wakefulness and temporary muscle weakness. The primary pathology of fainting is the temporary reduction in blood supply and oxygen to the brain. 

A few warning signs and symptoms may appear before you faint:

  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Blackouts
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in vitals like blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate

What are the causes of Fainting?

Fainting occurs due to reduced blood and oxygen supply to the brain and is a frequent symptom of related diseases or triggers listed below:

  • Mechanical causes: Straining during coughing, sneezing, urinating, pooping, etc.
  • Cardiogenic causes: Irregular heartbeat and blood pressure fluctuations can cause heart function abnormalities and lead to fainting.
  • Carotid sinus: Compression of the carotid artery near the neck can cause fainting.
  • Orthostatic hypotension: Getting up suddenly from sitting can cause fainting due to a sudden drop in blood pressure, known as orthostatic hypotension.

When should you consult a doctor if you have Fainting?

When you experience fainting episodes, you must consult a medical professional in the following cases: 

  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • No breathing detected
  • Fainting for more than a few minutes
  • Lack of orientation
  • Unable to move hands and/or legs
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

It is advisable to take medical help in case of severe and/or repeated episodes of fainting. Yashoda Hospitals enlist several doctors who are experts in their fields.

What are the diagnosis and treatment options for Fainting?

Establishing a diagnosis based on the cause of fainting is essential to prevent future episodes. A detailed history of what led to fainting, symptoms, and how many times you have experienced will be obtained by an attending physician. Laboratory tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), electroencephalogram (EEG), blood sugar, etc., may be conducted based on the history provided by the individual or caretaker.

Once the cause of fainting is established, medical treatment may be initiated in the form of medicines for the cause of fainting and appropriate therapy.

One usually revives from a fainting episode within a few seconds to minutes. If you know someone who has a history of fainting, you must call for help and initiate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in case of prolonged fainting. You are advised to take help from a medical professional before beginning any treatment procedure.


Fainting is the temporary loss of consciousness lasting for seconds to minutes. Associated with dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blackouts, etc., just before fainting, one may experience transient muscle weakness and memory loss once consciousness is regained. Diagnosis and treatment are based on the cause of fainting.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing frequent or unexplained fainting episodes, seek medical help immediately for proper diagnosis and further treatment.

Consult Our Experts Now


Frequently Asked Questions about Fainting

Fainting is also known as passing out. Fainting may be partial when there is a quick revival of one's senses, and passing out may be the complete loss of consciousness.

On regaining consciousness, one may feel nauseous, tired, lightheaded, and a feeling of blacking out for a temporary period.

Lift the legs of the individual above the heart level. Facilitate blood circulation to the heart and brain by removing any tight clothing, collars, belts, etc. Meanwhile, you must call for medical help immediately.

Yes. Lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to fainting. The brain functions effectively on a continued source of oxygen and, therefore, a few seconds of oxygen deprivation can cause temporary fainting.

Yes. Anxiety may cause breathlessness in an individual, and this lack of optimal oxygen can lead to fainting. Calming oneself during an anxiety episode will help restore the oxygen supply.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.