Dizziness when making a sudden movement can be unpleasant, but it is a relatively common occurrence. Many things may cause dizziness, including being dehydrated or eating too little. There are also health conditions that may commonly cause dizziness when bending over, such as anemia, diabetes, and hypothyroidism.
In most cases, dizziness is not a serious medical concern and is typically resolved by trying the same movement at a slower pace, drinking some water, and eating something. If your dizziness becomes frequent, worsens, or is accompanied by worrisome symptoms, be sure to visit a doctor to determine the underlying cause.
Symptoms Of Dizziness When Bending Over
In addition to feeling dizzy, individuals may also experience:
- dark spots in vision
What Causes Dizziness When Bending Over?
There are many potential causes of dizziness that range in severity.
The brain relies on water to operate. If you are dehydrated, it has a harder time functioning, which can lead to dizziness.
There are multiple scenarios that can cause dehydration, including not drinking enough water, intense exercise, illness, exposure to hot weather, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Your circulation involves your blood flow throughout the body. It’s an important system because blood carries oxygen, and if your blood does not circulate properly, parts of your body may not receive enough oxygen. If your brain is not getting oxygen, making sudden movements, such as bending over, looking up, or standing up, can cause dizziness.
Inner Ear Problems
The inner ear is responsible for regulating your sense of balance. When you have an ear infection or an injury to the inner ear, you may experience dizziness when changing positions.
Some people also have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPP), which is a condition that occurs when a calcium particle from one part of the ear moves to another part of the ear. This can result in dizziness and vertigo.
Low Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the arteries as it is pumped through the circulatory system. For those with low blood pressure, quick movements and changes in position might be challenging for the body to keep up with, and the blood might not be able to reach the brain.
Those who experience dizziness from low blood pressure often experience it when bending over or standing up suddenly, as these are larger movements of the body.
Low Blood Sugar
When there is not enough sugar in the blood, called hypoglycemia, the brain cells can malfunction, resulting in dizziness. Low blood sugar can result if you have not eaten enough food or if it has been too long since you have eaten.
Those with diabetes are especially prone to dizziness from low blood sugar levels.
The thyroid is an organ responsible for producing many types of essential hormones, but with hypothyroidism, someone’s thyroid does not produce enough of these hormones. Since some of these hormones play an important role in the heart, not making enough of them can lead to low blood pressure and a slow heartbeat. The connection between low blood pressure and dizziness has already been discussed, and a slow heartbeat can lead to inadequate blood flow.
Those with hypothyroidism are more likely to experience dizziness when changing positions, such as when sitting up or bending over.
When some people experience a panic attack, they hyperventilate, which involves taking rapid shallow breaths. These shallow breaths cause the carbon dioxide levels in the blood to dip, and a lack of carbon dioxide can result in dizziness or lightheadedness.
Anemia refers to a lack of oxygen-rich red blood cells. Those with anemia may not have enough oxygen transported to their brain, which can cause frequent dizziness.
Additional symptoms of anemia include:
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations
- pale skin
Treatment For Dizziness After Bending Over
The way to treat your dizziness will largely depend on how severe your dizziness is and if you have any underlying conditions.
If your dizziness occurs occasionally and does not last very long, give the following a try:
- Lie down and close your eyes. When getting back up, make sure to do so slowly.
- If overheated, go inside or find some shade and drink some water
- If you have not had anything to drink for a while or are experiencing other symptoms of dehydration, drink some water
- Breathe slowly for a few minutes, focusing on taking deep breaths
To prevent dizziness, it is recommended to cut back on alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and salt because these substances may worsen dizziness. However, those with low blood pressure should not cut out salt entirely.
Dizziness From Low Blood Pressure
There are many causes of low blood pressure and determining the cause will impact what treatment to follow.
More salt in your diet and increasing the amount of fluids you drink may help increase blood pressure.
If your low blood pressure is due to a vitamin deficiency, supplementing with certain vitamins may help increase red blood cells. A doctor can help determine if this is needed, and they may also recommend a more balanced diet, if applicable.
If you are taking blood pressure medication, it may be lowering your blood pressure too much. A doctor can help to adjust the dosage to avoid adverse complications.
Dizziness From Inner Ear Problems
A doctor will treat the cause of the inner ear problem if it is a bacterial infection or ear injury. In the case of ear infections from viruses, the doctor will allow it to heal on its own.
For those with BPPV, the doctor can use a repositioning movement called the Epley maneuver to treat it.
Dizziness From Anemia
Anemia is another condition with many causes, including:
- iron deficiency
- poor nutrition
- chronic diseases (e.g., kidney disease or sickle cell anemia)
For those with anemia, a doctor will want to order blood tests to determine the cause, as this can significantly impact the treatment. Treatment may include iron supplements, vitamin B supplements, or dietary changes.
Medicine For Dizziness When Bending Over
Medicine for dizziness will often focus on what underlying condition is causing your dizziness.
For example, for those who experience dizziness from hypothyroidism, there is medicine that can supply you with a synthetic thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) that will help to increase your thyroid levels to a normal range.
For those with a buildup of fluid in the inner ear, water pills or diuretics can help to reduce the amount of fluid.
Anti-anxiety medicine is an option for those who experience panic attacks to help reduce the frequency and severity of these attacks.
Lightheaded Feeling When Bending Over
Some people may feel lightheaded in addition to feeling dizzy, or they may solely feel lightheaded. This lightheadedness when bending over often originates from lack of blood flow or oxygen to the brain, similar to dizziness.
These feelings are not only limited to bending over; someone may also feel dizzy or lightheaded when:
- looking up/down
- lying down
- standing up
When Should You Worry About Dizziness?
In most cases, feeling dizzy when bending over, looking up, or getting up is not a cause of concern and usually goes away by trying to stand or bend over again at a slower pace. However, you should see a doctor if your dizziness reaches a point where it interferes with your daily activities and makes it difficult to complete routine activities.
If poor circulation is the cause behind dizziness, it may signify a heart attack, congestive heart failure, or an abnormal heartbeat. These can be serious conditions that require immediate attention and treatment.
Dizziness should be a cause for concern if accompanied by any of these additional symptoms:
- chest pain
- blurry vision
- ringing in the ears
- the feeling of a racing heart
When To See a Doctor?
It is helpful to see a doctor if your dizziness reaches a point where it interferes with your ability to complete daily activities. A doctor can help to determine and treat the underlying cause resulting in your dizziness, preventing these episodes from occurring.
You should also visit a doctor if the dizziness is frequent, severe, or worsening.
Get Help from An Online Doctor
An online doctor offers a fast and easy way to receive guidance on the cause of your dizziness. With DrHouse, you can meet with an online doctor within 15 minutes. Once you log on with a board-certified doctor, they can help you determine the cause of your dizziness, prescribe medication, and order any additional tests or follow-up appointments.
Dizziness is a common yet unpleasant symptom. While it is no cause for concern in most cases, it is still good to be conscious of what causes dizziness so that you can prevent and stop it. Some causes of dizziness when bending over include low blood pressure, low blood sugar, poor circulation, inner ear problems, and hypothyroidism.
Treatment for dizziness largely depends on what the underlying cause is. If dizziness is infrequent, actions such as lying down and closing your eyes, drinking water, and getting to a cooler location often help to dissipate any dizziness.
An online doctor is a valuable tool to quickly discuss the potential causes of your dizziness, receive medication, and schedule additional tests.
- Dizzy when bending over: 10 causes and more. (2022). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321392
- Choi, J., Oh, E., Park, M., Baik, S., Cho, H., & Choi, S. et al. (2018). Early MRI-negative posterior circulation stroke presenting as acute dizziness. Journal Of Neurology, 265(12), 2993-3000. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-018-9097-z
- Kim, H., Bisdorff, A., Bronstein, A., Lempert, T., Rossi-Izquierdo, M., & Staab, J. et al. (2019). Hemodynamic orthostatic dizziness/vertigo: Diagnostic criteria. Journal Of Vestibular Research, 29(2-3), 45-56. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.3233/ves-190655
- Fernández, L., Breinbauer, H., & Delano, P. (2015). Vertigo and Dizziness in the Elderly. Frontiers In Neurology, 6. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2015.00144
- Bao, Y., Liu, Q., Xu, S., Wang, Y., Liu, X., & Liu, G. (2019). Multiple Cerebrovascular Occlusion With Hypothyroidism: A Powerful Compensation. Journal Of Medical Cases, 10(6), 158-163. Retrieved from https://www.journalmc.org/index.php/JMC/article/view/3303
- Dizzy When Bending Over: 10 Possible Causes. (2022). https://www.healthline.com/health/dizzy-when-bending-over#takeaway
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.