Skip to main content

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo


BPPV is an inner ear condition that causes you to suddenly feel dizzy. Benign means it is not serious or life-threatening. BPPV is caused by a problem with the nerves and structure of your inner ear. BPPV happens when small pieces of calcium break loose and lump together in one of your inner ear canals.

Ear Anatomy


Seek care immediately if:

  • You fall during a BPPV episode and are injured.
  • You have a severe headache that does not go away.
  • You have new changes in your vision or feel weak or confused.
  • You have problems hearing, or you have ringing or buzzing in your ears.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your BPPV symptoms do not go away or they return.
  • You have problems with your balance, or you are falling often.
  • You have new or increased nausea or vomiting with vertigo.
  • You feel anxious or depressed and do not want to leave your home.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may be recommended or prescribed to treat dizziness or nausea.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent your symptoms:

  • Try to avoid sudden head movements. Stand up and lie down slowly.
  • Raise and support your head when you lie down. Place pillows under your upper back and head or rest in a recliner.
  • Change your position often when you are lying down. Try not to lie with your head on the same side for long periods of time. Roll over slowly.
  • Wear protective gear when you ride a bike or play sports. A helmet helps protect your head from injury.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return in 1 month to check the progress of your treatment. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (Discharge Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.