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Why Do I Get Dizzy and Nauseous in the Shower?
It's not uncommon to be taking a shower or relaxing in the bath and to suddenly feel dizzy and light-headed. It can be a frightening feeling and unless you know the cause, it will definitely startle you. While in the vast majority of cases, feeling faint while bathing isn't cause for alarm. But if you notice it frequently, you should consider going to your family physician for a checkup.
Let's take a look at why people are more likely to feel dizzy after a shower and discover what you can do if it happens to you.
The Short Answer
It's probably your blood pressure.
According to Joshua Hoffman MD, the medical director of Sutter Medical Group Hospitalist Program in California, "[B]athing or showering causes blood vessels to dilate and triggers a drop in blood pressure. If you move too quickly, your brain may not get enough oxygen, making you feel light-headed and dizzy."
The Long Answer: Vasovagal Syncope
Vasovagal Syncope is the most common cause of fainting in young people. The word "vasovagal" relates to a temporary drop in blood pressure, while a "syncope" is a temporary loss of consciousness.
Fainting as a result of a vasovagal syncope occurs when the body is exposed to certain triggers. Some people experience syncopes when they are exposed to blood, feel afraid, stand up too fast, are stressed, ride roller coasters, or heat up too quickly.
When your body is exposed to these triggers, a myriad of different things can occur. Heat (such as the heat from your shower water) often makes your blood vessels expand, which creates less blood flow from your heart to your brain. Your heart has to work harder to make up for this loss, and your brain suffers for a brief moment as your blood pressure falters. This can make you dizzy, nauseous, and light-headed, and can even cause you to faint.
Is Vasovagal Syncope Dangerous?
Though the fainting itself is not indicative of something dangerous, you may injure yourself as you fall. If you begin to feel dizzy, it is important that you sit and rest before subjecting your body to any more physical stress.
Other Reasons You Feel Dizzy in the Shower
The following reasons are all possible causes for you feeling dizzy during or after a shower:
- Pregnancy: It is very common for pregnant women to have low blood pressure causing them to get lightheaded, particularly when standing up from a seated position or changing positions quickly.
- Dehydrated: How is your water intake? If you are not drinking enough fluids you could be dehydrated.
- Lack of Food: If you have not eaten for a long period of time, your blood sugar may be too low.
- Medication Changes: If you have recently changed your level of any medication you may be prescribed, it may be affecting you. Consult your GP.
- Hot Water: It is possible that your shower was too hot. Hot water can cause the arteries to get close to your skin and to open, allowing you to 'naturally' get rid of excess heat. This process lowers your blood pressure, so when you suddenly move up, not enough blood is reaching your lungs and brain, which can cause dizziness.
- Infection: Dizziness can suggest a possible infection building.
Other Symptoms That Can Accompany Dizziness
- Blurred Vision
- Heart Racing
- Muscle tremors or shaking
What Should You Do If You Feel Dizzy?
If you experience bouts of dizziness, there are a few things you can do:
- Sit for a moment (just sit on the shower floor if you can) and rest until you're able to stand up.
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Make an appointment to visit your doctor to have a checkup.
- Monitor your blood pressure at home to see exactly what the levels are and relay the information to your doctor.
- Take a pregnancy test and/or get your doctor to verify.
- Try to take a cooler shower.
Talk to Your Doctor
As with any health concern, it is best to receive advice from a medical professional. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms listed above.
Good luck and stay healthy!
Sources and Further Reading
- ClevelandClinic: Vasovagal Syncope
- MayoClinic: Vasovagal Syncope Symptoms and Causes
- Prevention.com: 19 Ways to Treat Dizziness
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Jeanette on December 09, 2019:
Hi Jane,.I also had a vertigo over a year now,and I feel dizzy also every time after taking a bath I dont know y..I also had a lightheadedness,what d nuero tells u about your situition ? I want to know,I am worried about my condition,and I have two kids..,please answer me,anybody?doctor?
Bilkisahmad2017@gmail.com on September 30, 2018:
Am in West Africa i shower with cold water but i have dizziness after shower
jane on July 04, 2018:
am suffering vertigo for over a year now..and everytime i took a shower i felt dizzy.i took a medicine like stugeron forte and betahistine and still vertigo doesnt disappear..i used to visit an ENT and NEUROLOGIST and they are giving me the same kind of medicine..i really had a hard time dealing it..
Dianne on August 23, 2017:
I Relized y I was feeling dizzy after my shower n thank you for letting me know...
Anonymous on August 09, 2017:
Thank you very much, I realised that it was in fact the warm water that was causing my dizziness.