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What Are the Causes of Intermittent Dizziness?

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated August 14, 2017

While periods of intermittent dizziness may cause anxiety, the U.S. National Library of Medicine advises that most causes of dizziness are not serious. The underlying conditions that cause dizziness vary and may require medical tests to determine the origin of this symptom. Contact your doctor immediately if your dizziness occurs after a head injury or includes fever, vomiting, shortness of breath or loss of consciousness that continues for more than a few minutes.

Drop in Blood Pressure

This type of intermittent dizziness normally occurs when getting up from a sitting or lying position. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the cause of this symptom occurs more frequently in older individuals. Rising slower may help reduce feelings of dizziness caused by a temporary drop in blood pressure upon standing or sitting up.

Inner Ear Problems

Many people experience occasional dizziness during a cold or flu. This type of dizziness results from an inner ear infection, commonly caused by a virus. Another type of inner ear condition that causes intermittent dizziness is Meniere’s disease. The Mayo Clinic advises that an excessive buildup of fluid in your inner ear can cause sudden episodes of dizziness that may last from 30 minutes to several hours in duration. Medication may help reduce these episodes.

Dehydration

Losing more water than you take in can lead to dehydration. Even a mild case of dehydration can cause feelings of dizziness. Dehydration often occurs during illnesses that cause fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Strenuous exercise and the overuse of diuretics may also result in dehydration that causes feelings of dizziness. This temporary dizziness usually clears up when your fluid balance returns to normal.

Anxiety

Some anxiety disorders, such as phobias and panic attacks, can cause episodes of dizziness. Anxiety brought on by medical disorders can also lead to dizziness. For instance, worrying over an episode of dizziness caused by an inner ear problem may actually cause additional dizziness due to the feelings of anxiety.

Medications

Certain types of medication can cause intermittent episodes of dizziness. While individuals react differently to drugs, some common causes of dizziness include antidepressants, tranquilizers, sedatives and high-blood pressure medicines.

Serious Disorders

Although not common, serious disorders may cause feelings of dizziness. Strokes, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and bleeding in the brain can result in episodes of dizziness.

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