Great Sex, Weightlifting, or a Strenuous Bathroom Visit Can Temporarily Erase Your Memory

October 13, 2011

Ever stagger out of the bedroom, the gym, or the bathroom unable to remember anything about the last 24 hours? Well, if you had sex, lifted weights or...dropped number two with uncle John, we might have an answer for you. You've just worked your abdomen so hard it gave you amnesia!

No, seriously. That happens. Not often, 3 to 5 people per 100,000 every year, and it's always temporary. And now we might have an idea of why it happens.

During certain events, you press down hard with your abdomen. It's a reflex, in most cases. This means that a lot of blood flowing through your body gets forced around. Your body has valves that prevent too much...well, backwash in your veins, but some people's valves are worse than others.

So, combine a sudden bearing down of the abdomen with weak valves in the jugular vein, and deoxygenated blood piles up, meaning for less than a second, your brain just has a bunch of blood drain out of it with no replacement. Thus, hello, temporary amnesia.

Fortunately, it isn't fatal, and it rarely happens more than once, something science can't yet explain. Nor does it explain why the effect is so rare when we squeeze our abs every day.

So, the next time you suddenly can't remember where you are, and you don't reek of cheap beer, see if you've given your abdomen a squeeze. Hey, if nothing else, it makes a great excuse for not remembering names.

Source: Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images