Dizziness

It's common to sometimes feel dizzy, lightheaded or off-balance, and it's not usually serious. See a GP if you're worried.

Check if you have dizziness

Dizziness includes feeling:

  • off-balance
  • giddy
  • lightheaded or faint
  • like you're spinning or things around you are spinning (vertigo)

How you can treat dizziness yourself

Dizziness usually goes away on its own. But there are things you can do to take care of yourself while you're feeling dizzy.

Do

  • lie down until dizziness passes, then get up slowly
  • move slowly and carefully
  • get plenty of rest
  • drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • avoid coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs

Don't

  • bend down suddenly
  • get up suddenly after sitting or lying down
  • do anything that could be dangerous while you're dizzy, like driving, climbing a ladder or using heavy machinery
  • lie totally flat if you feel like things are spinning – use pillows to prop up your head

See a GP if:

  • you're worried about your dizziness or vertigo
  • it won't go away or it keeps coming back
  • you're finding it harder to hear
  • there's ringing or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus)
  • you have double vision, blurred vision or other changes in your eyesight
  • your face, arms or legs feel numb
  • you have other symptoms like fainting, headaches, feeling or being sick

Causes of dizziness

If you have other symptoms, this might give you an idea of the cause. Don't self-diagnose – see a GP if you're worried.

Dizziness while you're ill with something else

Dizziness often goes away after you're treated for something else. For example:

Dizziness for no obvious reason
Dizziness symptoms Possible causes
When standing or sitting up suddenly sudden drop in blood pressure (postural hypotension)
Feeling off-balance, losing some hearing, ringing or other sounds in your ears (tinnitus) inner-ear problems
Feeling off-balance or like things are spinning, feeling or being sick, sometimes after a cold or flu labyrinthitis
After starting new prescription medicine side effect of medication
With symptoms like hearing loss, double vision, blurred vision, numb face, arms or legs decreased blood flow to the brain, possibly from clogged arteries (atherosclerosis)

Page last reviewed: 29/03/2017
Next review due: 29/03/2020

Call 111

If you can’t speak to your GP or don’t know what to do next.