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Dizziness and Nausea

Dizziness and Nausea

While dizziness and nausea are commonly experienced by people who suffer from motion sickness, these could be signs of other medical conditions. The following write-up provides information on the circumstances under which one may experience dizzy spells and nausea.
Dhanya Joy
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
Did You Know?
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that is characterized by excessive nausea and vomiting, leading to dehydration and dizziness. It affects 0.5% to 2% of pregnant women.
Dizziness is an umbrella term that is used to signify lightheadedness, disorientation, or imbalance. Nausea is the sensation of uneasiness that is accompanied by a strong urge to vomit. Nausea and dizzy spells are often experienced by people who are susceptible to motion sickness. Women may also experience these symptoms during the course of pregnancy.
However, it must be noted that these could be the indicators of certain medical conditions that require immediate attention. Symptoms that may accompany lightheadedness and nausea should therefore be considered for an accurate diagnosis.
Causes
Hyperemesis gravidarum
Most women experience dizziness and nausea during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. This condition is known as morning sickness, and is considered to be absolutely normal. However, hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe but rare form of this morning sickness. It is characterized by severe vomiting and nausea. The excessive vomiting may result in weight loss, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, electrolyte imbalance, and dizzy spells.
Vertigo
The term 'vertigo' refers to a spinning sensation. The affected individual feels that he/she or the surroundings around him/her are in motion. Such a spinning sensation causes disorientation. The affected individual may also feel nauseated. Abnormal eye movements, nausea, vomiting, or sweating are some of the symptoms that may accompany disorientation. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a vestibular disorder that is characterized by a sense of imbalance, nausea, and lightheadedness. There is a sudden onset of the symptoms with a change in the position of the head.
Motion Sickness
Motion sickness, which is commonly referred to as travel sickness, is a nauseating sensation that some people may experience while traveling by car, train, ship, or an airplane. It is caused by the disturbance or conflict between the signals that are sent to the brain by the eyes, vestibular system (inner ear and the cochlea), and the sensory receptors that are located in the joints, tendons, and other body tissues. When the brain gets contradictory signals regarding the position of the person, the affected individual experiences symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
Panic Attacks
A panic attack is characterized by sudden onset of intense fear that could give rise to symptoms such as dizziness, racing heart, sweating, nausea, chest pain, sensation of shortness of breath, etc. People may be predisposed to panic attacks in certain situations. Those who suffer from phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and hyperventilation syndrome are more likely to suffer from panic attacks.
Medication
Use of certain drugs can cause dizziness and vomiting. Drugs that are prescribed for treating hypertension may cause dizziness. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and antidepressants could also cause dizziness. Abrupt withdrawal of certain drugs could also be a contributory factor.
Dysmenorrhea
Dysmenorrhea is a medical term that is used to signify painful menstruation. It can cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps in some women. It is believed that release of prostaglandins from the uterine lining gives rise to these symptoms.
Gastrointestinal Problems
Nausea and vomiting are some of the most common symptoms of gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, food poisoning, and gastroenteritis. Severe vomiting can lead to dehydration, which may give rise to dizzy spells.
Cardiovascular Problems
Irregular beating of the heart muscles, arrhythmia, heart attack, cardiac arrest, sudden decrease in blood pressure, etc., alter sufficient supply of blood and oxygen to the tissues of the brain. This results in dizziness followed by an immediate loss of consciousness. In addition, the blockage of arteries that carry blood to the brain (carotid arteries and its branches) may also lead to dizziness. Consistently high blood pressure levels may also give rise to headaches, dizziness, nausea, and excessive sweating.
Respiratory Disorders
Respiratory disorders and infections in the respiratory tract may lead to difficulty in breathing, and the resultant low intake of oxygen often leads to dizziness. These include obstructive pulmonary disorders, asthma attacks, pulmonary edema, etc.
Neurological Disorders
Brain and spinal cord injury, as well as damage and inflammation of cranial nerves, are crucial etiological factors as far as dizziness is concerned. These conditions alter the conduction of signals necessary for the proper sense of balance.
Olfactory Problems
Inner ear is an important organ that plays a vital role in maintaining the sensation of balance and equilibrium. Infection, inflammation, fluid buildup, and injury to these tissues leads to dizziness and vertigo.
Other Causes
♦ Flu
♦ Allergy
♦ Fatigue
♦ Sinusitis
♦ Infection
♦ Migraine
♦ Dehydration
♦ Low blood sugar
♦ Nutritional deficiency
Dizziness can also be caused by frequent episodes of nausea and vomiting. If you often suffer from nausea and lightheadedness, it would be best to seek medical help for ascertaining the precipitating factor for these symptoms.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical professional.