11 Unexpected Reasons You’re Feeling Dizzy

by Alli Hoff Kosik

Dizziness is one of those symptoms that seems like it could potentially be blamed on just about anything. I'm dizzy, so I must be hungry. I'll have another snack. Been there. I'm dizzy, so I must be tired. I'll just go to bed with the dinner dishes still on the table. Been there... less, but still — been there! Dizziness is far from uncommon, but there are a few potential causes of it that might not even be on your radar. These unexpected reasons you're feeling dizzy might even help put you on a road to recovery so that you can squash that icky feeling altogether. You need to know what the problem is in order to treat it, right?

Of course, it should go without saying that if you're experiencing dizziness often and chronically, you should tell a medical professional. They can help you confirm if one of these things is to blame, or if there's something else worth investigating.

In the meantime, my catchall recommendation for correcting your dizziness? Have another snack and go to bed with the dinner dishes still on the table. It usually works for me.

1. You're Stressed And/Or Anxious

According to a fact sheet from the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy, dizziness is commonly caused by stress and/or anxiety. Dizziness can also make you anxious, which creates a whole vicious cycle situation that no one wants any part of. A feeling of wooziness or of being in motion is the result of the real changes that happen in the brain as a result of stress.

2. You Have Allergies

Most allergy sufferers are well familiar with the most common symptoms that come with an allergic reaction — a stuffy nose, irritated skin, itchy eyes, and the like — but you might find yourself adding dizziness to that list as well. According to Healthline, the sinus congestion often caused by allergies (particularly of the seasonal variety) can make you feel a little off balance.

3. You've Been Around Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke, according to University of Rochester Medical Center, contains plenty of chemicals that can cause physical reactions like dizziness. If you're even slightly sensitive to smoke, you might find yourself feeling woozy after every brief encounter with your pal who smokes.

4. You've Suffered Inner-Ear Damage

Damage to the inner ear probably isn't a condition that you regularly find yourself Google-ing, but if you have been experiencing chronic dizziness for any sustained period of time, it might be something worth exploring. According to Verywell, inner ear damage may occur as a result of certain illnesses or antibiotics.

5. You're Taking A New Medication

Anyone who's ever sat through an antibiotic commercial is well aware that most pharmaceuticals come with a hefty list of potential side effects. If you've ever actually listened to that list (full disclosure — I often tune it out myself), you may have noticed that "dizziness" is a regular offender. Per Scientific American, dizziness is one of the most common side effects of prescription drugs. If a short-term antibiotic is making you dizzy, you can probably hack it for a few days, but if a new, longer-term prescription has you feeling off your game, it's probably worth it to check in with your doctor.

6. You're Experiencing Indoor Air Pollution

If your dizziness comes on suddenly and in closed spaces, you might be dealing with a case of air pollution. Per the University of Rochester Medical Center, inhaling carbon monoxide can lead to fatigue, headache, nausea, and — yes — dizziness. In this situation, get fresh air ASAP and call an expert to test the air.

7. You're Dehydrated

Just in case you haven't been reminded enough about the critical importance of drinking enough fluids, allow me to do it again. If you don't, dizziness could result! According to the Mayo Clinic, dizziness is a common symptom of dehydration in adults of all ages.

8. You Have Mal D Debarquement Syndrome

Air travel doesn't quite agree with many of us while it's actually in progress, and for some, its negative physical effects can linger for months — or longer. Mal de debarquement, which translates to "sickness of disembarkment," was first document by French sailors who felt dizzy after getting off a ship. If you've been out of travel mode for a few weeks and are still feeling dizzy, you may just be dealing with a very long case of motion sickness, per Verywell.

9. You're Vitamin Deficient

According to the Spine Correction Center, vitamin B12 plays a big part in maintaining stability, so if you feel unstable more often than not, picking up a bottle of drugstore-brand supplements might be a quick solution. The best food sources of vitamin B12 are dairy, meat, seafood, and poultry, per Dietitians of Canada.

10. You Have Migraines

If you already suffer from regular migraines and are now finding yourself saddled with chronic dizziness, it probably feels like one. More. Thing. The two problems, however, might be linked! Everyday Health cites a study that says 40 percent of people who experience migraines also experience dizziness.

11. You May Have A Heart Condition Or Circulation Problems

Changes in blood volume affect the blood flow to your brain and inner ear, so regular dizziness — especially the kind that happens right after you stand up — could be an early sign of conditions like heart arrhythmia, low blood pressure, and more, according to Mayo Clinic. I know this sounds scary, so resist the urge to panic and just go see a doctor. That's your best bet for anything — even if your symptoms prove to be nothing.