What causes dizziness?

Dizziness can affect both men and women for a large range of reasons. The MediFind Medical Team has summarized 10 potential causes for extreme fatigue below in order from most to least likely based on our data. Learn more about how MediFind works here. You can also enter your symptoms into MediFind’s Symptom Checker to receive more customized results.


Some patients experience a sense of dizziness that involves motion or spinning. This is referred to as vertigo and is caused by a loss of balance control from the inner ear attributed to the vestibular nerve. Vertigo generally occurs because of injury to the head but can also come about through use of certain medicines, including antibiotics. Besides dizziness, patients also experience loss of balance leading to falls, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Since vertigo may involve some kind of brain disorder, it is important to see a doctor in order to discover its cause. A neurologist will prescribe medicine to treat the symptoms of vertigo and recommend lifestyle changes to improve outcomes. Find a neurologist near you here.


When a headache involves nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound, it becomes a migraine. This occurs due to over activity of the nerves branching from the brainstem and may originate from blood flow constriction to the brain or facial tissues. Migraines are caused by a large variety of sources and foods. Some patients experience dizziness from particularly harsh migraines. There is no cure for migraines but a neurologist will recommend lifestyle changes to improve outcomes. They can also prescribe antidepressants, blood pressure medicine, anti-seizure medicine, and gene-related peptide agents. Find a neurologist near you here.

Transient Ischemic Attack

A lack of blood supply to the brain, due to obstructed blood flow, is called a transient ischemic attack. It includes symptoms like dizziness but also changes in senses, confusion, muscle problems, and a lack of control of the bladder or bowels. It occurs from blood clots or an injury to blood vessels. This condition is considered an emergency as it predates a possible stroke. A cardiologist will treat the symptomology first, focusing on blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, and other known causes and then prescribe blood thinners and direct acting oral anticoagulants to prevent further damage. Find a cardiologist near you here.

Atrial Fibrillation

An irregular heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. When there is an arrhythmia of the upper chambers of the heart, also called the atria, it is called atrial fibrillation. This may lead to heart failure, blood clots, or ischemia. Besides dizziness, patients may experience weakness, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, and chest pain. This is a serious condition that immediate medical attention. A cardiologist will prescribe beta-blockers, blood thinners, calcium channel blockers, and other heart rhythm medications but will also recommend lifestyle changes. Find a cardiologist near you here.

CVA / Stroke

A stroke is when blood flow to the brain stops and causes long-term damage due to a lack of oxygen and nutrients. Strokes usually happen from blood clots but can also come about after a blood vessel in the brain burst open. Oftentimes strokes are asymptomatic but are characterized by a headache that worsens over time. Patients may also experience dizziness, trouble swallowing, lack of bladder or bowel control, or trouble speaking. This condition is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. A neurologist will prescribe blood thinners and direct acting oral anticoagulants. Surgery may also be required. Find a neurologist near you here.

Cervicogenic Dizziness

A combination of both neck pain and dizziness is called cervicogenic dizziness and likely involves a disorder in the cervical spine, though not much more is known about it. Causes of this disorder center on the gradual degeneration of nerves and muscle with age but can also include the aftereffects of trauma on the spine. Besides dizziness, patients may also experience uncoordinated movement, posture changes, changes in gait, headaches, and stomach discomfort. A neurologist will likely recommend lifestyle changes that incorporate neck and back exercises along with the usual treatments for vertigo. Find a neurologist near you here.        

Ectopic Pregnancy

In pregnant women, an ectopic pregnancy is one that occurs outside of the womb. This can happen due to defects in the fallopian tubes that shuttle the fertilized egg to the uterus or because of scarring in female reproductive organs. Besides dizziness or the fainting or feeling faint, patients may also experience cramping, a lack of periods, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and pain in the pelvic region. Early detection by an obstetrician is key for future pregnancies. Find an obstetrician near you here.

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Movement of blood throughout the body undergoes a complicated system that depends highly on blood pressure established by the heart. In cases where the blood cannot quickly return to the heart after movement from a lying down to standing up position, the patient may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, tremors, fatigue, and many other adverse effects. A cardiologist will focus on managing blood pressure, specifically focusing on low blood pressure. Medication such as fludrocortisone is the first line therapy for the syndrome. Find a cardiologist near you here.

Meniere’s Disease

Much like vertigo results in balance and dizziness due to damage to the inner ear, Meniere’s disease is an extreme version of vertigo combined with roaring tinnitus and a pressure and fullness in the ears. The symptoms can even develop into nausea and vomiting. The cause of Meniere’s disease is unknown but many doctors believe it originates from environmental factors. There may also be a genetic component involved. An otolaryngologist will likely perform vestibular rehabilitation and prescribe antiemetics, antihistamine, or diuretics as treatment. Find an otolaryngologist near you here.

Perilymph Fistula

When the membrane between the inner and middle ear tear, fluid can leak from the inner space to the middle space and cause a pressure change. This is called a perilymph fistula and results in dizziness, fullness in the ear, sensitivity when hearing, sensitivity to motion, and potentially hearing loss and vertigo. This condition tends to heal over time after minimally invasive surgery by an otolaryngologist to patch the perforation. Without treatment, most patients are unable to completely function as any kind of movement results in extensive dizziness. Find an otolaryngologist near you here.

Understanding the Results

These results are based on the most likely conditions for a 20 to 40 year-old patient that is living in the United States. Our data shows that 96% of the time, this symptom is related to one of the 10 most likely causes. Location and age can also contribute to different results. Use our Symptom Checker to add your information and get your custom results.

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Differences in Age Groups

Dizziness as a symptom may be more targeted at the elderly as it appears to originate from torn membranes and nervous damage. However, adults are also susceptible after trauma.

Differences among Men and Women

Women have a much higher likelihood to experience dizziness as a symptom as it is a primary consequence from complications during pregnancy.

Last Updated: December 08, 2022

Published By: MediFind Medical Staff