Why Do I Feel Dizzy When Bending Over? Everything to Know

Medically Reviewed By Angelica Balingit, MD

The reason behind your dizziness may be dehydration or bending over too quickly. In some cases, an underlying medical condition or medication can cause dizziness. True balance disorders are rare, and many causes of dizziness when bending over are not dangerous. Feeling dizzy when you bend over is common and is typically not a cause for concern. 

However, if you frequently experience dizziness when bending over, or if you also experience other symptoms such as fainting or headaches, contact your doctor. They will diagnose any underlying condition and advise you on treatments to help manage dizziness.

This article looks in more detail at the possible causes of dizziness when bending over. It also discusses when to contact a doctor, treatments for dizziness, and diagnosis. 

Dehydration

A person is bending over gardening.
Jovana Vukotic/Stocksy United

Dizziness is a main symptom of dehydration Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source in both adults and children. 

Drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated. You should aim for 4–6 glasses of water per day.

However, you may need to drink more water if you:

  • have a medical condition or take medication that causes dehydration
  • live or work in hot weather
  • are very active

Your doctor can tell you how much water you should aim to drink each day.

Learn more about dehydration.

Low blood sugar

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source explains that low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can lead to dizziness when bending over. 

Other symptoms you may experience with low blood sugar include:

Many things can cause low blood sugar, such as:

  • diabetes
  • physical activity
  • alcohol 
  • hot and humid weather
  • high altitudes
  • stress
  • puberty
  • menstruation
  • not eating enough

If you think you are experiencing low blood sugar, contact your doctor. They will help identify the cause of low blood sugar and advise you on suitable treatments.

Learn more about low blood sugar.

Low blood pressure

Your blood pressure automatically adjusts as you change positions throughout the day. However, if your blood pressure is too low, you may feel dizzy. 

Postural hypotension may cause you to feel dizzy when you bend over. This is when your blood pressure changes when you change position, such as standing up or bending over.

Postural hypotension may be linked Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source to some medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Contact your doctor if you have concerns about postural hypotension.

Learn more about low blood pressure.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

According to the Ménière’s Society, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. Vertigo is a feeling of dizziness. 

BPPV is not dangerous. However, it can affect people differently and may cause significant impairment if it is severe. About 50% of people will experience BPPV at some point in their life.

BPPV occurs when loose crystals get in the wrong part of the ear that is responsible for sensing rotation. When there is movement in the ear canal, the crystals move. This gives the body the sense that it is rotating, even when it is not. 

BPPV is more likely to occur in older adults and with position changes, such as standing up or bending over. BPPV is more likely to occur or get worse with increases in barometric pressure, according to a 2019 study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source in the American Journal of Otolaryngology. 

Learn more about BPPV.

Inner ear infection

The most common symptoms of an inner ear infection, or labyrinthitis, are:

  • dizziness
  • vertigo
  • loss of hearing

An inner ear infection affects the labyrinth. This is the structure inside the ear that helps control the body’s balance system. A viral or bacterial infection in that area can make you feel dizzy. 

You may notice dizziness associated with an inner ear infection more when you move or walk. You may also have other symptoms, such as:

  • ear pain
  • fever
  • pressure and ringing in the ears

Infections from a virus may clear on their own. You will need to contact a doctor for antibiotics to clear up a bacterial ear infection

Learn more about ear infections.

Atherosclerosis

Conditions that cause your arteries to become clogged, such as atherosclerosis, can cause dizziness. 

Your carotid arteries supply oxygen to your brain. If these arteries become clogged or narrowed with plaque, you may feel dizzy when you bend over. 

Other symptoms of atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries include:

Learn more about atherosclerosis.

Medications

Many medications can cause or contribute to feelings of dizziness. Common medications known to cause dizziness include:

  • codeine
  • some antibiotics
  • some antidepressants and antianxiety medications
  • some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen and prednisone
  • some medications for Parkinson’s disease
  • some anticonvulsants 

In some cases, the dizziness may be temporary as you adjust to the medication. However, contact your doctor about any new symptoms you experience. 

When should I see a doctor?

You should contact a doctor for any new symptoms of dizziness.

Also contact a doctor if dizziness is interfering with your ability to function on a daily basis. Your doctor will help you find ways to manage the symptoms and treat any underlying condition.

Seek medical attention if you have other symptoms along with dizziness, such as:

  • numbness
  • loss of vision
  • difficulty speaking

What are the treatments for feeling dizzy when bending over?

Your doctor can recommend treatments to help you manage feeling dizzy when bending over.

If a medication is causing your symptoms, your doctor may advise reducing the dosage or switching to a different medication. Follow your doctor’s instructions and continue to take your medication as your doctor advises.

To reduce or manage dizziness when bending over, your doctor may recommend that you:

  • slowly bend over and take your time when changing position
  • hold onto something when standing up and bending over
  • drink 6–8 glasses Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source of water per day to stay hydrated
  • avoid very hot baths or showers
  • avoid drinking alcohol
  • avoid cigarette smoking

Also follow your doctor’s recommendations for managing other medical conditions you may have. 

How do doctors diagnose the cause of feeling dizzy when bending over?

Your doctor may begin by performing a physical examination, taking a medical history, and asking questions about your symptoms.

Your doctor may ask some of the following questions: 

  • Does the dizziness only occur when bending over, or does it happen at other times? 
  • Does anything make the dizziness go away?
  • Have you ever fallen because of feeling dizzy?
  • Do you feel unsteady on your feet?
  • Are you experiencing other symptoms, such as blurry vision?

Your doctor may then order tests including Trusted Source National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Governmental authority Go to source :

  • blood pressure tests
  • pulse rate tests
  • hearing tests
  • blood tests
  • video nystagmogram, to measure eye movement
  • imaging studies of your head and brain
  • posturography, to measure your balance when standing on different platforms

Summary

There are numerous possible causes of feeling dizzy when bending over. In many cases, dizziness upon bending over is nothing serious and is not usually a cause for alarm. 

Some medical conditions can cause dizziness when bending over. These include postural hypotension, BPPV, atherosclerosis, and inner ear infection. Other possible causes include dehydration, low blood sugar, and low blood pressure.

Dizziness when bending over may be a side effect of certain medications. If this is the case, your doctor may advise gradually reducing your dosage or changing to a different medication.

If dizziness when bending over is new for you, you are having other symptoms with it, or it is affecting your ability to function, contact your doctor for a diagnosis.

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Medical Reviewer: Angelica Balingit, MD
Last Review Date: 2023 Mar 1
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