ZocdocAnswersHow long can vertigo last?

Question

How long can vertigo last?

Last night, I had a horrible attack of vertigo when I was watching a movie in the theater with my kids. I had to leave and get a ride home, and I went straight to bed. This morning, I still feel dizzy and uneasy. Is this vertigo? Can vertigo last that long? Should I be worried about something else?

Answer

Vertigo is the sensation of spinning and nausea that is abnormal. If this is an attack of vertigo, it does sound concerning. While it is a common symptom, for an attack to come while you are sitting watching a movie and hang around for hours warrants an evaluation. Most of the time attacks of vertigo are caused by an inner ear abnormality and is triggered by a specific body position such as bending over (example: Benign Positional Vertigo). Other causes include Meniere's disease which will likely also cause changes in your hearing. Sometimes vertigo can result from tumors of the auditory nerve or within the brain. The first step your doctor will need to take is to determine if your vertigo is originating from the inner ear or from the central nervous system. This will help decide which doctor will be best for you to see. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she will be able to take a detailed history of your vertigo and other symptoms and perform several in office tests. From there, your doctor may refer you to either an ear nose and throat doctor or a neurologist depending on what the suspected cause is. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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