Vertigo

Symptoms of vertigo

If you have vertigo, your surroundings will appear to be moving vertically or horizontally, or you may feel that you're spinning.

The effect of vertigo may be slight and barely noticeable, or it may be so severe that you find it difficult to keep your balance and do everyday tasks.

Attacks of vertigo can develop suddenly and last for a few seconds or they may last much longer. If you have severe vertigo, your symptoms may be constant and last for several days, making normal life very difficult.

As well as the sensation that your surroundings are moving or spinning, the symptoms of vertigo may include:

  • loss of balance
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • vomiting (being sick)
  • light-headedness
  • difficulty standing
  • difficulty walking

Related conditions

Several different conditions can cause vertigo. Depending on the underlying cause, you may also experience:

  • tinnitus – the perception of noise in one ear, both ears or inside your head; the noise comes from inside your body rather than from an outside source
  • hearing loss
  • symptoms of an infection, such as a high temperature
  • nystagmus – where your eyes move uncontrollably, usually from side to side
Last updated: 09 January 2012

Continue to next section: Causes of vertigo