Dizziness is the disorienting feeling of being unbalanced or lightheaded. You may feel like you’re about to faint or like your surroundings are moving or spinning around you. Both feelings are sometimes accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Dizziness is not a medical condition on its own, but is instead a symptom of an underlying cause.
Some possible causes of dizziness include:
- benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- taking certain medications
- inner ear problems
- circulation problems
- certain conditions, such as anemia, migraines, or anxiety
So, treating your dizziness usually involves treating one of these other aspects.
Remedies for dizziness
Certain foods and nutrients may help relieve symptoms of dizziness.
A common cause of dizziness is dehydration. If you feel tired and thirsty and have less frequent urination when you’re dizzy, try drinking water and staying hydrated.
Ginger may help relieve symptoms of motion sickness. It may help also treat nausea in pregnant women. You can take ginger in many forms. Incorporate fresh or ground ginger into your diet, drink ginger tea, or take it in supplement form. However, you should always consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement, even if it’s natural. Supplements can interfere with other medical conditions you have or medications you take.
According to the Meniere’s Society, consuming vitamin C can reduce vertigo in people with Meniere’s disease. Foods rich in vitamin C include:
- bell peppers
Vitamin E can help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which can help prevent circulation problems. Vitamin E can be found in:
- wheat germ
Foods rich in vitamin B-6 may also help treat dizziness. Some research has found that vitamin B-6 supplements helped reduce drug-induced vertigo symptoms. However, more research is needed.
Vitamin B-6 can also help prevent anemia. This vitamin can be found in foods such as:
- lean pork
If your doctor thinks you have anemia, they may encourage you to get more iron. Iron can be found in foods such as:
- red meat
- dark leafy greens
Medications to treat dizziness
Medications to treat dizziness often focus on treating the underlying condition. Preventative migraine medicine, for example, is often prescribed for people who have vertigo or dizziness with migraines. Anti-anxiety medications can also be prescribed to reduce the severity of the anxiety attacks that cause dizziness.
Other medications that may be used for dizziness include:
- water pills or diuretics, which may be used as treatment for conditions like Meniere’s disease that cause a fluid buildup in the inner ear
- antihistamines and anticholinergics, which are two of the only prescription medications that focus entirely on treating dizziness instead of the underlying condition
- over-the-counter antihistamines, though the nondrowsy variations are less effective at treating dizziness
Exercises and lifestyle practices
When you start to feel dizzy, it can often help to lie down as soon as possible. If you have severe cases of vertigo, close your eyes while lying down. If you’re overheated, get a cool drink and move to a shaded, air conditioned area.
The Epley maneuver, which you can do at home, is an exercise that can help treat dizziness, especially from BPPV. It’s designed to dislodge crystals from the ear canals and reduce dizziness.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Epley maneuver process involves the following steps:
- Sit on a bed and turn your head halfway to the right.
- Lie down on your back while keeping your head turned. A pillow should be under your shoulders only, with your head reclining.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Turn your head without raising it so it’s looking halfway to the left. Wait another 30 seconds.
- Keeping your head turned, turn your body to the left so that you’re lying on your side. Wait 30 seconds.
- Sit up on your left side.
If you’re prone to dizziness, it can help to know that when undergoing treatment. If you’re more alert to the fact that you may fall or lose your balance, you may be more prepared to prevent an injury.
Migraines may cause dizziness, and acupuncture may help treat discomfort from headaches. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting many tiny, thin needles into specific areas of the skin.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help treat and prevent dizziness.
Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Drink plenty of water and get lots of sleep. You should also avoid salt, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco. According to Mayo Clinic, frequent consumption of these substances can increase your symptoms.
Causes of dizziness
There are many different causes of dizziness, some less serious than others.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. It’s caused by specific changes in the positioning of your head. It can cause short episodes of mild to severe dizziness. BPPV is often idiopathic, which means no cause is known, but it can also be caused by a blow to the head. There is an association with BPPV and migraines.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is another one of the most common causes of dizziness. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can also cause both fatigue and dizziness.
Certain medications can also cause dizziness. For example, blood pressure medications may lower your blood pressure too much and lead to dizziness. Sedatives and tranquilizers both have dizziness as a common side effect. Antiseizure drugs and antidepressants can also cause dizziness. Talk to your doctor if you think dizziness is caused by any medications that you take.
Other common causes of dizziness can include:
- inner ear problems, such as infections or fluid buildup, which can affect balance
- circulation problems, including poor blood circulation that prevents adequate blood flow from reaching the brain or inner ear
- heat stroke or becoming overheated
Conditions associated with dizziness
Some conditions are associated with dizziness. These include:
- anemia, or low iron levels
- anxiety disorders, which can cause dizziness during attacks
- neurologic disorders, like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s, which cause a loss of balance
- chronic migraines