Does Caffeine Aggravate Vertigo?

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Vertigo causes the unpleasant sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning.
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Vertigo refers to a sudden spinning sensation and can be a symptom of several conditions. If you experience this issue, it may be time to practice vertigo exercises. You may also want to limit your caffeine intake, which can worsen your condition.

Tip

Caffeine and vertigo often go in hand. When consumed in excess, caffeine may worsen ear disorders, which in turn, can trigger or aggravate vertigo.

What Is Vertigo?

According to the Mayo Clinic, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the most common causes of vertigo, may trigger episodes of mild to intense dizziness. Its symptoms may occur when you tilt your head up or down, when you turn over or when you sit up in your bed, and can include:

  • Dizziness
  • A feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning
  • A loss of balance or unsteadiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that vertigo and dizziness can have a wide range of causes. When your blood pressure suddenly drops or when you are dehydrated, you may feel dizzy. Sometimes, it can happen from standing up too quickly. Certain medicines and problems with your inner ear may also cause dizziness.

Vertigo often gets better by itself. If not, it can be easily treated. In case you're feeling dizzy often, it may be time to consult a healthcare provider.

Read more: Are There Foods That Treat Vertigo?

Caffeine and Vertigo

If you suffer from vertigo, you may need to cut back on certain foods and drinks, including caffeine. An October 2015 study published in the International Archives of Otorhinolaryngology has found a possible association between dietary habits and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo in the elderly.

Further research is needed to confirm these findings, though. Researchers suggest that some products, such as saturated fats, alcohol, tobacco, sugar, salt and caffeine should be avoided by people who experience vertigo. These substances may worsen the symptoms of ear disorders, which are a potential cause of vertigo, and slow down the recovery process.

When consumed in large amounts, caffeine may cause unpleasant side effects. As the Mayo Clinic notes, these often include:

  • Migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tremors
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Inability to control urination

Foods and beverages that contain caffeine will state the amount on the nutrition labels. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, about 400 milligrams of caffeine a day (three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee) can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Some popular foods that contain caffeine are:

  • Coffee (8 ounces) — 95 milligrams of caffeine
  • Black tea (8 ounces) — 27 milligrams of caffeine
  • Dark chocolate (1 ounce) — 12 milligrams of caffeine

Read more: Foods to Avoid for Vertigo

How to Treat Vertigo

The Cleveland Clinic states that more than four out of 10 people experience an episode of dizziness that is significant enough to send them to a doctor. Although most times dizziness goes away by itself, it may cause you to lose your sense of balance and increase the risk of falling. If you are dizzy often, reach out to a health professional.

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to prevent dizziness or relieve its symptoms when it occurs:

  • Before standing up in the morning, sit on the edge of the bed for a few minutes.
  • Practice exercises that can improve your balance, such as Tai Chi or yoga.
  • Don't walk in the dark.
  • Install handgrips and floor mats in the bathroom to prevent falls.
  • Always use handrails when walking up and downstairs.
  • When changing positions in bed, make sure to turn slowly.
  • Avoid certain activities, such as driving a car and or climbing a ladder, when you're dealing with vertigo.
  • Ask your doctor to recommend vertigo exercises.
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