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What are the Most Common Causes of Dizziness and Vomiting?

By Madeleine A.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Some of the most common causes of dizziness and vomiting include inner ear infections, pregnancy, hypoglycemia, and concussion. In addition, kidney disease, high or low blood pressure, and severe anemia can cause these symptoms as well. Although most cases of dizziness and vomiting are transient, symptoms that are prolonged and severe need to be medically evaluated. Diagnostic tests for these conditions include pregnancy evaluation, complete blood count, blood chemistry profile, and ear examination. In addition, if concussion or other head injury is suspected, an MRI or CT scan may be indicated.

When an inner ear infection is present, vertigo might accompany dizziness and vomiting. Typically, vertigo causes a spinning sensation and can sometimes create severe nausea and vomiting. The patient may feel the need to hold on to an object to steady himself to prevent losing his balance or falling. Treatment for whirling vertigo includes motion sickness medications and exercises.

A condition called positional vertigo can cause dizziness and spinning sensations. This condition frequently responds well to a series of exercises specifically designed to help equilibrium and vertigo. The physician or physical therapist can recommend a series of exercise for vertigo.

Women who are pregnant frequently experience morning sickness, or hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition causes nausea, vomiting, and occasional dizziness throughout the day, and not just in the morning. Typically, dizziness is related to dehydration from vomiting. In severe cases, the patient might be hospitalized for a course of intravenous fluids and electrolytes that can reverse dehydration and the effects it can have on the unborn baby. Because anti-nausea medications can pass through the placenta and affect the baby, physicians are hesitant to prescribe medication, especially during the first trimester.

Frequently, hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and nausea. In severe cases, vomiting and faintness can occur. When this happens, the patient needs glucose to restore blood sugar levels and alleviate symptoms. Sometimes a glass of orange juice will quickly relieve symptoms, however, if the patient does not respond, emergency medical intervention is necessary. Although dizziness and vomiting can be caused by a number of medical conditions, many times the cause remains unknown. Certain viruses and bacterial infections can cause this condition, as can food poisoning and even stress and panic attacks.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By burcidi — On Feb 13, 2014

There are different causes of dizziness and vomiting. The only way to know for sure what's causing these symptoms is to get checked out by a doctor. Especially issues like hypoglycemia require blood tests for diagnosis.

By stoneMason — On Feb 12, 2014

I think I have vertigo and vomiting because of an inner ear infection. I'm prone to having ear infections and I've been having problems for the past few days. When I get up and sit down or move my head too quickly, I feel light-headed and dizzy. I also vomited yesterday but I know that I haven't eaten anything bad. It's odd because I've had inner ear infections before and I did not have vomiting during those times.

By turquoise — On Feb 11, 2014

Dizziness and vomiting can be due to poisoning as well, such as food poisoning.

Food poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhea. This can lead to dehydration and changes in blood pressure which result in dizziness symptoms. It has happened to me before, that's how I know. I ate out at a place that probably didn't prepare food in the proper way. I developed all these symptoms after a few hours.

The best way to deal with these symptoms is to go to a hospital. I had to get an IV with medications inside for my vomiting to stop and also for hydration. The doctor also gave me antibiotics.

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