What should I do? (Medical question)

You are probably not a doctor, it is extremely unlikely you are my doctor, but I would still like your opinion.

I, a healthy 40 odd year old guy that regularly exercises, feel fine but for the last 24 hours or so have been getting dizzy spells. This has never happened to me before. It only occurs when I bend over or cock my head but when it happens the world spins. As soon as I straighten up it goes back to normal. Lying on my back or side is fine, but when I switch between the two everything spins for a second and then settles down.

I figure that I have something going on with my inner ear, but I don’t have any other symptoms. What would you do? See a doctor? Take some decongestant? Wait and see?

Thanks for your opinions!

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See your doctor but in the meantime Benadryl might help.

Likely suspect (not diagnosing you) is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Others also on the list though.


Sounds like something my sister had, which was vestibular disease following a viral infection. Affected her balance center in the inner ear.

And? Did she survive?

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[Monty Python] She got better![/MP]

Joking aside, it took time. I don’t recall if she got steroids or other meds to help with it.

Thanks. I think I will give it a day or three and then see a doctor if it doesn’t go away or if it gets worse.

If anybody else has stories of my imminent demise, please share.

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I have had an inner ear infection. I had dizziness and nausea, but no pain or fever. Required the same antibiotics as a middle ear infection. The fluid in your inner ear gets thick, and is sluggish, so it doesn’t work like it should. If you let it go, it can be very serious. On the off-chance that you have this, I would see a doctor ASAP. I had dizziness and nausea from a virus once, and marched straight to the doctor. Turned out to be something I had to wait out (but I got phenergan filled when I was still well enough to fill it, before the puking started, so I had it when I needed it). The doctor said it was good to get that sort of thing checked out anytime it’s a possibility, because you want to start treating an inner ear infection as soon as you can. You can avoid needing steroids, or possibly fluid drained, or getting such bad vertigo you end up in bed.

How is your hydration? Being dehydrated can cause dizziness such as you have described. Drink a few glasses of water & see if it isn’t a simple fix.

When I’ve had similar symptoms in the past, doctors have told me to take Dramamine and drink lots of water.

Be careful. Dizziness can result in falling and dangerous driving.

Had the same thing, at your age, after flying with a bad cold. Diagnosis was benign positional vertigo (viral?).

Take your BP when you’re dizzy. (Are you on BP meds? They may need tweaking!)

If you’re not on BP meds, this could be onset symptoms.

Just a thought, wishing you Luck!

I had that after a nasty cold, with symptoms exactly matching the OP. It got gradually better but it took a few weeks.

Definitely worth a trip to the MD if you don’t notice any improvement in a day or two.

Yeah, years ago I had something of that sort - lasted about 2 weeks. Pretty miserable bouts of vertigo in the meanwhile. As it was viral there wasn’t much to do but wait it out, but I was given medication to help with the spins which was a good thing.

I didn’t have much in the way of symptoms other than “dizzy”, either.

Do get it checked out, though - there are a number of things that could be causing this and no way to diagnose any of them over the internet, even if I was a doctor, which I’m not.

Generally not viral or bacterial. It’s felt to be caused when the tiny calcium crystals, otoconia, get dislodged from where they should be in the utricle of the inner ear and get into the semicircular canal (where they do not belong and where they cause symptoms). Medicines (like Benadryl, Dramamine, Antivert, Phenegran …) can help symptomatically, but someone who knows how (if not the doctor then someone the doctor can get the person to) can actually fix it with particular head maneuvers, most famously the Epley maneuver.

The maneuver is pretty cool to see work.

I have had similar and it’s always water on the ear when I get it, some kind of bacterial infection. They shoot a lot of water in the ear to clear it out and then give me some valium to maintain balance and an antibiotic and it clears in less than a week.

It’s actually pretty amazing how often BPPV is not diagnosed correctly.

It usually goes away in about one to two weeks if treated with antibiotics (or water being shot in the ear) but can otherwise take about seven to fourteen days. When someone does have BPPV properly diagnosed the Epley maneuver can work right away in a solid majority of the cases.

Again, not diagnosing the op, but when the complaint is sudden onset of vertigo associated with head position changes it is the horse to those hoofbeats.

Seconded. My bp meds very occasionally made me a bit dizzy so I just started taking them right before bed instead of the morning.

That’s what I do. Made a huge difference.