What Causes Dizziness, and How Do I Stop It?
Dizzy, woozy, wobbly, weak-in-the-knees…whatever you want to call it, you’ve probably felt that faint, unsteady feeling like your head is spinning at some point in your life. Most often, feeling dizzy is a temporary sensation and nothing at all to worry about. However, frequent or prolonged dizziness may point to an underlying condition.
What causes dizziness?
Dizziness can be a symptom of dozens of conditions. Some of the most common causes of dizziness are medications, alcohol use, or migraine headaches. At its root, dizziness is an issue of balance, which is largely linked to the inner ear, but can also indicate a problem with muscles, joints, or even the eyes. Inner ear issues linked with dizziness include:
- Meniere’s Syndrome — this is caused when too much fluid is built up in the inner ear. In addition to dizziness, people with Meniere’s Syndrome may also experience tinnitus (ringing in the ear), nausea, and hearing loss.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) — when calcium crystals in your inner ear shift positions, you may experience temporary dizziness. This disruptive condition can be annoying, but the good news is that it’s treatable and temporary. Your provider will help guide you through a canalith repositioning procedure (CRP), which helps move the crystals back into place.
- Ear Infections — Inflammation of the inner ear from a bacterial or viral infection can cause dizziness as well. Most ear infections are easily diagnosed and treated.
Symptoms of dizziness
Individuals can experience dizziness in different ways. What is dizziness and how can you tell if you are dizzy? Dizziness can occur when lying down or standing up, and usually includes some of the following symptoms:
- Feeling of spinning, even if you are still
- Loss of balance
Common causes of dizziness
Aside from ear infections and common syndromes that affect your balance, you could also encounter dizziness as a byproduct of one of the following issues.
Moving your head
This is also usually a symptom rather than a diagnosis, but finding out why you feel faint or like the room is spinning when you move your head can help you learn how to stop dizziness. If you experience this type of lightheadedness, talk to your doctor about the possibility of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
There are many medications that can cause dizziness, and only your doctor can help you figure out how to stop dizziness from medications. Antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and anti-seizure drugs can all contribute to feelings of faintness. Ask your doctor if there are alternative medicines for your condition that don’t leave you with a loss of balance.
Dizziness can easily last for a few weeks after a concussion. If you suspect you may have received a concussion, you should go see a doctor immediately. Untreated concussions can result in life-threatening complications, including brain bleeds. Even mild concussions can have lingering symptoms, like headaches, memory issues, and dizziness.
High or low blood pressure
Have you ever stood up very quickly and saw stars and felt lightheaded? This phenomenon, called orthostatic hypotension, is due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. As long as it’s a relatively rare occurrence, it’s nothing to worry about. However, if it happens every time you sit or stand up, you may want to talk to your doctor about what could help the dizziness.
Extremely high blood pressure can also produce dizziness or vertigo-like symptoms. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can lead to dangerous health conditions and should be discussed with your doctor.
Hormonal changes during menstruation can also make you feel dizzy. Estrogen levels jump around during your period, especially directly before menstruation. Many women encounter dizziness during this time.
Like menstruation, rapid hormonal changes are also what cause dizziness during pregnancy. These hormones expand your blood vessels, which helps blood and oxygen to reach the baby. A little dizziness is normal during pregnancy, but always tell your doctor about rapid, repeated, or severe bouts of dizziness.
How to get rid of dizziness
Severe and repeated dizziness needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional. Only your provider can help you figure out exactly why you experience frequent dizziness. However, some types of dizziness are easily treatable. For instance, to stop dizziness from drinking alcohol, you would limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages, or drink more water while imbibing. For more mysterious causes of dizziness, you will need to make an appointment with a doctor.
When to see a doctor
Recurrent, prolonged, sudden, or severe dizziness should be treated by a doctor. Your provider can determine the severity of your dizziness, and help you figure out if your dizziness is serious, or just a passing symptom. If you need to consult with a medical professional about your dizziness, you can find vetted, qualified healthcare providers at Tripment.com.
How do I fix inner ear dizziness?
The canalith repositioning procedure can treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This type of vertigo is common, and your provider can help you go through the motions of the canalith repositioning procedure right in his or her office. This procedure helps shift calcium deposits from the inner ear to where they can be absorbed by your body and no longer influence your balance.
How does COVID-19 cause dizziness?
No one knows for sure why COVID-19 causes dizziness in some patients. However, viral infections in general often leave patients feeling weak and lightheaded. To treat dizziness after COVID-19, you should follow your doctor’s instructions.
What's the difference between vertigo and dizziness?
Vertigo is a specific type of dizziness – vertigo symptoms make you feel like the whole room is spinning. It is much more severe than simple lightheadedness. Treatment for vertigo can include the canalith repositioning procedure, or medications such as prochlorperazine and some antihistamines. For some patients, vestibular rehabilitation training (VRT) can ease vertigo symptoms. VRT exercises help people live with or correct balance problems that can lead to dizziness.
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