You may have seen your doctor because you've had labyrinthitis. This inner ear problem can cause you to feel like you are spinning (vertigo).
Most of the worst symptoms of vertigo will go away within a week. However, you may feel dizzy at times for another 2 to 3 months.
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Being dizzy can cause you to lose your balance, fall, and hurt yourself. These tips can help keep symptoms from getting worse and keep you safe:
- When you feel dizzy, sit down right away.
- To get up from a lying position, slowly sit up and stay seated for a few moments before standing.
- When standing, make sure you have something to hold on to.
- Avoid sudden movements or position changes.
- You may need a cane or other help walking when symptoms are severe.
- Avoid bright lights, TV, and reading during a vertigo attack. They may make symptoms worse.
- Avoid activities such as driving, operating heavy machinery, and climbing while you are having symptoms.
If symptoms continue, ask your doctor about balance therapy. Balance therapy is head, eye, and body exercises you can do at home to help train your brain to overcome dizziness.
Symptoms of labyrinthitis can cause stress. Make healthy lifestyle choices to help you cope.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Do not overeat.
- Exercise regularly, if possible.
- Get enough sleep.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
Help ease stress by using relaxation techniques, such as:
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Tai chi
For some people, diet alone will not be enough. If needed, your doctor may also give you:
- Antihistamine medicines
- Medicines to control nausea and vomiting
- Medicines to relieve dizziness
- Sedatives, such as diazepam (Valium)
- Steroids (Prednisone)
Most of these medicines may make you sleepy. So you should first take them when you don't have to drive or be alert for important tasks.
You should have regular follow-up visits and lab work as suggested by your doctor.
When to call your doctor
You should call your doctor if:
- Symptoms of vertigo return
- You have new symptoms
- Your symptoms are getting worse
- You have hearing loss
Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have any of the following severe symptoms:
- Double vision
- Vomiting a lot
- Slurred speech
- Vertigo that occurs with a fever of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Weakness or paralysis
Polensek SH. Labyrinthitis. In: Ferri FF, ed. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2010.
Post RE, Dickerson LM. Dizziness: a diagnostic approach. Am Fam Physician. 2010;82:361-369. PMID: 20704166 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20704166.
Update Date 11/24/2013
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.