People yawn when they feel tired, or when they are bored. One may also yawn when they are on a plane; this brings a feeling like their feet are exploding from inside. There are times when yawning is actually usual for example, in alleviating pressure in eardrums as the case of plane. While these may be good reasons for one to yawn, on the other side, when one yawns persistently or repetitively, it may signal a much larger problem.
What causes excessive yawning?
Excessive yawning occurs when one yawns in close succession or repeatedly. When an individual yawns, they open their mouths and take in deep and long breath. The opening of mouth is at times accompanied by a sign. It is normal to yawn since it is a body’s response to fatigue or drowsiness. At times, yawning may even be triggered when you observe another person yawning.
If one yawns excessively, it implies that they are taking in deep breath more often than is normal. This may happen when one feels tired, drowsy, or weary. Some medicines particularly those used in treatment of anxiety, allergies, and depression can cause one to start yawning abnormally. Moreover, when one yawns excessively, it could indicate conditions such as sleep apnea, which results to inadequate restorative sleep.
The body needs to have sufficient rest after the tiring daily activities and when one does not have it, it may induce problems. Sleep apnea prevents one from having adequate sleep meaning there is lack of restorative sleep. Another indication of yawning is that it may be due to body’s reaction to the changes in daily working hours or habits for example, when you take on long working hours or night shift; things you did not do previously.
As the body tries to respond to such changes, you may experience repetitive yawning. Heart defect and disease may also contribute to excess yawning when the vagus nerve acts on blood vessels and stimulates yawning. Vasovagal reaction is the term given to this kind of stimulation and it may be an indication that you could be having a heart problem.
Two cardiovascular conditions are associated with excessive yawning and these are heart attack and what is known as aortic dissection. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is partly blocked. One who has heart attack lacks sufficient oxygen in the heart, which may permanently damage or kill heart muscle. An aortic dissection, it is a condition where bleeding occurs in and around aorta, which is the main artery in heart.
People who have electrolyte imbalance or hypothyroidism may often feel drowsy especially in working hours making them to yawn repeatedly. You may want to seek medical help when you find that you are yawning persistently because it might be a sign of a serious health problem such as heart disease. Although less common, when one yawns excessively, it might indicate a sign of conditions like brain tumor or stroke, liver failure, multiple sclerosis, or epilepsy.
Symptoms that may accompany excessive yawning
Depending on whether there is an underlying condition, disease or disorder, yawning excessively may be accompanied by some other symptoms. The symptoms include fatigue, headache, balance problems, falling, difficult walking, and cramping or abdominal pain.
Other symptoms may include loss of strength, weakness, sleep disturbances, vertigo or dizziness, and symptoms of multiple sclerosis including numbness, vision problems, and unsteady walks as well as depression. People who yawn excessively because of emotional and psychological problems may have other symptoms like lack of energy, malaise, change in mood, behavioral change, and anxiety.
Potential complications that may arise when yawning excessively
Yawning repeatedly might be an indicator of a serious disease; one may want to seek for treatment because failure to do so may lead to permanent damage and serious complications. When an underlying problem causing the yawning is identified, treatment can be offered. Some of the potential complications that may occur when you experience excess yawning are such as absenteeism from work. You may find that you are uncomfortable due to the yawning and the underlying condition may make one miss work duties.
One may also have difficult performing daily tasks whether at home or work. A person may have poor quality of life and the symptoms could progress further leading to more complications. At times, one may not be able to participate in otherwise normal activities they used to do quite easily before the yawning set on.
In diagnosing this yawning problem, doctors try to identify the cause. You might need to discuss your sleep habits with the doctor to give cues on what could be happening. The sleep pattern can say something about the cause of repeated yawning. If one is having a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or is working excessively, thereby being overtired, these could be possible causes.
Once sleeping issues are ruled out, the doctor may decide to do some other tests like MRI and electroencephalogram to access body structures such as brain tissues for examination of conditions like tumors and stroke. The treatment is based on the causative factors.