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Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness (just a few seconds or minutes). About 33% of people faint at some point in their lives. When you faint, you lose muscle control and you may fall down. Most people recover quickly and completely from fainting.

Fainting usually happens when your blood pressure drops suddenly, which causes the blood flow to your brain to decrease. Fainting also can happen when not enough oxygen flows through your blood to your brain.

Fainting can be caused by a number of pain medications that you may be taking during breast cancer treatment, including morphine and codeine.

Fainting also can be caused by other treatment side effects, including dehydration and heart problems.

Managing fainting

Fainting usually isn't serious. Still, if you do faint, it's important to tell your doctor so you can find out why it happened. If it's because of medicine, you may be able to switch to another pain reliever.

Tips for when you feel you might faint:

  • Lie down and put your legs and feet up higher than your heart.
  • If you can't lie down, sit and bend forward over your thighs and put your head between your knees.
  • Loosen your collar, belt, or other restrictive clothing.

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