What Are Dizziness and Vomiting?

Dizziness is a condition that occurs when you feel lightheaded, weak, or physically unsteady. Some people may feel as if the room is spinning around them.

Vomiting occurs when your stomach contents travel upward from your stomach to your esophagus and out your mouth. Vomiting can be forceful and painful. Chronic vomiting can damage the teeth and the delicate lining of the esophagus and mouth, because vomit is highly acidic.

What Causes Dizziness and Vomiting?

Causes of dizziness and vomiting include:

  • affected cardiac output: When your heart isn’t pumping adequately, your blood pressure drops. Dizziness and vomiting can result. A heart attack and stroke also can cause these symptoms.  
  • anxiety: Intense feelings of anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, such as dizziness and vomiting.
  • inner ear inflammation: The inner ear is responsible for helping maintain balance in the body. Inflammation can cause dizziness that leads to nausea and vomiting.
  • medications: including sedatives, chemotherapy, tranquilizers and anti-seizure medications
  • vestibular migraine: Migraines are headaches that can cause intense symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, and light and noise sensitivity.

Other common causes include:

  • dehydration
  • motion sickness
  • morning sickness
  • low blood sugar
  • ingesting poison or breathing in harmful chemicals

When to Seek Medical Help

Call 911 or have someone drive you to the hospital if you suspect that you’re having a heart attack or stroke.

See your doctor if you’re pregnant and these symptoms affect your ability to eat, drink, or sleep.

Dizziness and vomiting often will go away without treatment, but you should seek medical attention if you vomit blood, pass stool that has blood, or lose consciousness.  

Seek medical attention if your symptoms don’t subside within two to three days.

This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned you may be experiencing a medical emergency.

How Are Dizziness and Vomiting Treated?

Your doctor will try to determine what’s causing your dizziness and vomiting. To do so, they may ask several questions, including:

  • Are you taking any new medications?
  • Have you experienced these symptoms before?
  • When did your symptoms start?
  • What makes your symptoms worse or better?

Anti-emetics are medications used to treat vomiting. Some examples are ondansetron (Zofran) and promethazine (Phenergan).

Meclizine (Antivert) is available over-the-counter and in prescription strength for dizziness. This type of medication is used treat motion sickness, nausea, and dizziness. If you’re prone to motion sickness and you’re planning to travel, your doctor may prescribe you a scopolamine (Transderm Scop) patch. This option is suitable only for adults.

If you’re taking a new medication, don’t discontinue its use unless your physician instructs you to—even if you suspect it may be related to your dizziness and nausea.

Home Care

Dizziness and nausea will often resolve with rest. Staying hydrated and eating bland foods that don’t stimulate or upset your stomach can help. Examples include:

  • broth
  • crackers
  • dry toast
  • oatmeal
  • pudding
  • refined grains

How Can I Prevent Dizziness and Vomiting?

You can prevent dizziness and vomiting due to low blood sugar by eating meals at regular intervals and avoiding taking too much insulin.

If you experience motion sickness, avoid boat trips and always sit in the front seat of a vehicle. Avoid foods that upset your stomach, or foods that you’re allergic to.