What causes dizziness when bending over?
A person should see a doctor if the dizziness is frequent or severe enough to interfere with daily activities. A doctor will be able to help a person determine and treat the underlying cause.
According to some studies, feeling dizzy is one of the most commonly reported medical complaints. It becomes increasingly common after age 60 and is also more common in women than men.
In this article, we look at ten possible causes of dizziness when bending over.
1. Poor circulation
If a person's blood is not able to circulate enough oxygen to the brain, they may experience dizziness.
Circulation refers to how well the blood moves around a person's body. Blood carries oxygen, so if blood does not circulate properly throughout the body, the brain may not get enough oxygen.
If the brain is lacking oxygen, sudden movements, such as tilting the head up or down or bending over, can cause the person to feel dizzy.
It is important for a person to consult a doctor if poor circulation is causing dizziness, as it may be a sign of:
2. Low blood sugar
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia can also lead to dizziness, as it can cause brain cells to malfunction. Low blood sugar may occur if a person has not eaten enough or in several hours.
People with diabetes are particularly prone to dizzy spells due to low blood sugar levels. Changes in medication or bending over immediately after taking insulin can also increase the chances of dizziness.
3. Low blood pressure
When a person has low blood pressure, sudden changes in the head's position can cause dizziness, especially when bending over or standing up suddenly.
Low blood pressure is usually a mark of good health, but it can still cause symptoms. This is because the blood may have difficulty reaching the brain quickly when a person changes position.
When a person with low blood pressure bends or stands, they may experience:
- dark spots in the vision
Staying hydrated may help prevent lightheadedness.
Dehydration occurs when a person does not have enough fluid in their body.
The following can cause dehydration:
- going for long periods without drinking
- intense exercise
- exposure to hot weather
- vomiting or diarrhea
Anything that causes a person to become dehydrated may cause dizziness when they bend over. This is because having too little fluid in the body makes it difficult for the brain to function and can cause lightheadedness.
5. Panic attacks
A panic attack may result in hyperventilation, which causes the carbon dioxide levels in the blood to dip.
A lack of carbon dioxide in the blood can cause dizziness or lightheadedness.
Anemia is a lack of oxygen-rich red blood cells in the body. Without enough red blood cells, the blood flowing to the brain may not contain enough oxygen, causing frequent bouts of dizziness.
Other symptoms of anemia include:
- shortness of breath
- pale skin
- heart palpitations
7. Medication side effects
Dizziness is a common side effect of a variety of medications. Some drugs that may cause dizziness include:
- blood pressure medication
- pain relievers
- certain antibiotics
The thyroid produces important hormones and can have an impact on many aspects of the body, including the heart.
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is when the thyroid does not produce enough of these hormones, which can result in low blood pressure and a slower heartbeat. These factors can cause dizziness when a person changes position, such as when bending over.
9. Problems with the inner ear
The ear affects a person's balance. Inner ear problems may cause dizziness.
A person's sense of balance is regulated within the inner ear. Ear infections or injuries can cause a person to feel dizzy when standing or bending over.
Simple infections are a common cause, but a person could also have an inner ear problem called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPP).
BPP occurs when a calcium particle from one part of the ear comes off and moves to another part of the ear. This can cause both dizziness and vertigo.
10. Meniere's disease
Meniere's disease is associated with long periods of extreme dizziness. The dizziness can occur while standing, bending, or for no apparent reason.
A person with Meniere's disease will also likely experience:
- pressure in the ears
- ringing in the ears
- hearing loss
Other underlying conditions
Other underlying conditions that can cause occasional dizziness include:
- Parkinson's disease
- Lyme disease
- hormone changes during menstruation or pregnancy
- peripheral neuropathy
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- multiple sclerosis
When to see a doctor
Most people who experience temporary dizziness when bending do not need medical intervention.
Many common causes can be managed at home by standing or bending slowly, staying hydrated, and avoiding excess caffeine and alcohol.
Some people find compression socks, such as those available here, help reduce dizziness related to low blood pressure.
However, a person should see a doctor if the dizziness is:
- getting worse
A person should also speak to a doctor if dizziness occurs with other symptoms, such as:
- blurry vision
- chest pain
- feeling of heart racing
- ringing in the ears
Even in mild cases, if the dizziness is frequent, a person may wish to speak to a doctor about how to prevent it in the future.
In most cases, dizziness goes away after a person stands up again slowly and will not require any special attention.