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Jonathan Fay, M.D.
Jonathan Fay, M.D., Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
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Experience:  Physician health consultant
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I woke up this morning and my equilibrium was off and the ...

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I woke up this morning and my equilibrium was off and the room was spinning when I was laying down flat. I feel a bit light headed. Is this an inner-ear thing or what do I need to do?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Jonathan Fay, M.D. replied 10 years ago.
There could be a few things going on here. One possibility is labyrinthitis, which is inflammation of the labyrinths, the organs in your inner ear that help you maintain your balance. When they are inflamed this can "trick" your body into thinking the room is moving when it is not, and because your eyes see that the room is NOT moving, this causes a real sense of nausea (generally, if the labyrinths and the eyes don't experience the same thing, it will cause nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms). Labyrinthitis can be related to a virus, and will often resolve on its own over a few weeks. But treatments can be administered to help with the associated symptoms.

Another possibility is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). If the sensation that the room is spinning (this is vertigo, actually) lasts less than a minute, then this is a more likely diagnosis. Sometimes your hearing can be temporarily affected, as well, with BPPV. Otherwise, this has similar symptoms, and it can also resolve over time, and it is also treated symptomatically.

Call your physician, and get into see them, and they may end up prescribing you something to help with your symptoms. Although both of these generally spontaneously remit on their own, treating the symptoms can make them far more tolerable.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions - I'm more than happy to try and help.

Take care - Dr. Fay
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