Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo — the sudden sensation that you're spinning or that the inside of your head is spinning.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is characterized by brief episodes of mild to intense dizziness. Symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo are triggered by specific changes in the position of your head, such as tipping your head up or down, and by lying down, turning over or sitting up in bed. You may also feel out of balance when standing or walking.
Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can be a bothersome
problem, it's rarely serious except when it increases the chance of
falls. You can receive effective treatment for benign paroxysmal
positional vertigo during a doctor's office visit.
The signs and symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) may include:
The signs and symptoms of BPPV can come and go, with symptoms commonly lasting less than one minute. Episodes of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and other forms of vertigo can disappear for some time and then recur.
Activities that bring about the signs and symptoms of BPPV can vary from person to person, but are almost always brought on by a change in the position of your head. Abnormal rhythmic eye movements (nystagmus) usually accompany the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. Although rare, it's possible to have BPPV in both ears (bilateral BPPV).
When to see a doctor
Generally, see your doctor if you experience any unexplained dizziness or vertigo that recurs periodically for more than one week.
Seek emergency care
Although it's uncommon for dizziness to signal a serious illness, see your doctor immediately if you experience dizziness or vertigo along with any of the following:
The signs and symptoms listed above may signal a more serious problem, such as stroke or a cardiac condition.
Although benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is uncomfortable, it rarely causes complications. In rare cases, if severe, persistent BPPV causes you to vomit frequently, you may be at risk of dehydration. The dizziness of BPPV can put you at greater risk of falling.