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Travel Sickness And Vestibular System


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I've asked this question before in a different form, but I'm about to go into hospital for dyautonomia checks and really want them to take notice of the fact that I get terribly travel sick, but I'm wondering if it's something they'll deal with?

I get terrible, terrible motion sickness. Unless I take a high dose of compazine/stemetil/dramamine, I only have to be in any form of transport for 5 seconds and I have vertigo, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, major orthostatic problems and can't walk in a straight line. There's nothing that directly relates it to POTS, but I also can't see the possibility of it NOT being related to the autonomic nervous system?

It's the bain of my life because I'm not allowed to drive (because of POTS) so have to get driven around by everyone else, which, unless I take high doses of compazine, means I get very ill.

It also seems related to my posture. If I am horizontal, I get a lot less affected by it than if I'm sitting up. Caffeine makes it much worse, alcohol dulls it a little.

Anybody have any idea how this vestibular thing may connect to a vascular/POTS thing?

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I don't know if it's related to dysautonomia but I have Meniere's disease & I understand how it can ruin your life. I can't ride at all now if it's night or just cloudy outside. If I don't have light I have no balance. My last car trip trying to go with someone to the dr before daylight was a nightmare. I got so sick I couldn't get out of the car after we got to the dr office. It was very embarrassing for me. I was supposed to be taking care of them & I couldn't function. When I have to ride I take Ativan about an hour before time to go & sometimes it helps. Others say Valium helps them more. The problem with sedatives is I feel so bad from them I still don't feel like going anywhere.

Hope you find answers.

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Hi Janey,

I have struggled with this myself over the years, and have found that most docs don't understand it. I, too, have to take something before I travel (only flight - no car trouble as of yet). I use Klonopin, because it is longer acting than Xanax, and doesn't seem to knock me out as badly. I was told by my doc, don't know if this is true, that the Klonopin "calms down" the central nervous system, and as a result, indirectly calms down the autonomic nervous system. I take one exactly 40 minutes before I travel, because you have to get it into your system BEFORE you start moving. It makes me a little tired, but I'll take tired over nausea ANY day. ;) It does seem to help.

Also, I keep Childrens Liquid Benadryl on hand when the motion and nausea get too much (it works like Dramamine for me). I like the Liguid form because it is very fast acting - don't have to wait for the "pill" to dissolve, and I can take it at any time. It helps to calm down the inner ear (so I was told).

In cars - always ride in the front seat, and tilt the seat back, and put your feet up on the dash. Try to keep your head motion itself to a minimum - try and look straight ahead. Remember to BREATHE! :blink:

Good luck - I help this helps.

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My son suffers from POTS and other dysautonomic symptoms. He definitely suffers from travel sickness, and one of his doctors explained it this way: When the autonomic system works properly, it constantly calibrates blood pressure to adjust to movement and other changes of position. With dysautonomia, the constant calibration doesn't work. Relatively routine movements--like riding in a car--completely overwhelm the autonomic system. The effect is similar to the ones experienced by a healthy person who rides on a really fast amusement park ride: nausea, dizziness, and similar symptoms. For the healthy person, it takes a monster "amusement" ride to overwhelm the autonomic system. For someone with POTS or other forms of dysautonomia, a car ride can do it.

In addition to understanding what happens when our son rides in a car (or even gets up and down frequently), this analogy has helped us explain POTS to people unfamiliar with the disease. As soon as we explain that walking around or riding in a car makes our son feel like someone who has just gotten off a dizzy amusement park ride, they turn slightly green and seem to understand!

Best wishes to you. In addition to riding in the front seat and tilting slightly back, which another member suggested, we have found that riding in a larger, more stable car helps. Maintaining an even speed (highway driving) often is better than stop-and-go traffic. Although, of course, you often can't avoid the latter!

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