You may have seen your health care provider because you have 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.
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.
- Drink water, especially if you have nausea and vomiting.
If symptoms continue, ask your provider about balance therapy. Balance therapy includes 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, such as:
- 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:
- Deep breathing
- Guided imagery
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Tai chi
- Quit smoking
For some people, diet alone will not be enough. If needed, your provider may also give you:
- Antihistamine medicines
- Medicines to control nausea and vomiting
- Medicines to relieve dizziness
Most of these medicines may make you sleepy. So you should first take them when you do not have to drive or be alert for important tasks.
You should have regular follow-up visits and lab work as suggested by your provider.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if:
- Symptoms of vertigo return
- You have new symptoms
- Your symptoms are getting worse
- You have hearing loss
Call 911 or the 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°F (38.3°C)
- Weakness or paralysis
Bacterial labyrinthitis - aftercare; Serous labyrinthitis - aftercare; Neuronitis - vestibular - aftercare; Vestibular neuronitis - aftercare; Viral neurolabyrinthitis - aftercare; Vestibular neuritis vertigo - aftercare; Labyrinthitis - dizziness - aftercare; Labyrinthitis - vertigo - aftercare
Chang AK. Dizziness and vertigo. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 16.
Crane BT, Minor LB. Peripheral vestibular disorders. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 176.
Review Date 11/4/2021
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.