How long does BPPV last? Why does it go and come back?

We were recently asked, “Why does BPPV go away and come back?”.  To understand the treatment and natural history of BPPV it helps to understand how it happens in the first place.  
Lets imagine that the inner ear is akin to a tiny snow globe inside the head.  In a healthy person the snow inside this globe is actually stuck down but with age the snow comes loose and begins to fly around when disturbed.  Now lets imagine there is a house inside the snow globe.  Inside the house are the very sensitive balance organs of the inner ear.  There are, of course, windows in the house and sometimes flying snow comes in through those windows.  When that happens you get BPPV. 
Every time the snow globe is disturbed, by rolling over or looking up, the snow inside the house causes the balance organs to be confused and the sensation of vertigo results.   The snow can fall out of the windows of the house as well but this only happens sometimes when you are in just the right position.   The treatment maneuver for BPPV carefully guides these particles out.  You can have your doctor do the maneuver or do it yourself with a BPPV treatment device.
Without treatment BPPV often lasts 2 weeks until the particles inside the house (which is actually called the posterior semi-circular canal) fall out or somehow breakup.  However, more snow can come in and usually does in about 60% of people. 

68 Responses

  1. Maria Pinzon

    I saw Dr. Adrien Eshragi at University of Miami and he cured me of the vertigo.

  2. Michael

    I have had it for over 24 years I have to sleep on my left side if I turn to my right it activates it and I spin but if I turn to my left and look up it stops and goes away I’m thinking about going to the house ear institute in Los Angeles and have them flip me around and hopefully it’ll go away forever

  3. charles G

    I’m going on two months, I feel dumb mentally when it triggers when looking up mainly to my right, totally confusion mentally. Everything is perfect if I sit and don’t move head. As I look back I believe I have been dealing with slight degrees for over 10 years. Life’s going to be interesting

  4. rosemary

    ive had mine for a few years. ive gone thru all the above comments. i’ve taken to lying just on my right side as lying on the left brings the spins then im messed up for the day. looking down feels like i’ll fall into a hole. i can’t bend over unless my chin is tilted up. it deepens my depression. my anxiety disorder makes it more acute. i can function but not like before. i’ve lost confidence in myself and sometimes walk with a cane just to feel stabilized. its been a stressful year so the episodes have kicked in again. i hate epleys they don’t work, i did them for a year solid and nothing worked. more people are getting this have you noticed. even my own doctor and an ER doctor i ran into. its a terrible disorder. whatever makes you feel better, just do it. if you have to sit, just sit and rest. i hate it.

  5. Suzy

    Its the nausea 24hrs a day even Zofran does little

  6. Denise

    I have been dealing with BPPV since March. It will get better then come back. Last week the dr prescribed Methylprednisolone. Be careful taking this. I started bleeding and I had to stop the medication immediately!! I’m doing the exercises daily, stopped any caffeine and as much sodium as possible. I’m hoping I will get a period of a break in this sometime soon.

  7. SAS

    @Dhara Patel pls contact Kohinoor Hospital- Mumbai – ENT Doc Dr. S Helale
    Dr. Sanjay Helale -ENT/ Otorhinolaryngologist

  8. Windy

    I have had severe Vertigo for almost 3 weeks. It stopped for two days and came back today. The exercises the dr. gave me helps I think. I feel nausea and was described Zofran. It helps. You must do the exercises 3 times a day. Please try them. You will eventually get relief. Drink plenty of water. More than usual. Stay positive and try not to let it take over your life.

  9. Alex

    I woke up one morning feeling very dizzy, and it persisted for the rest of the day. This had never happened to me before! The next day I went to a doctor and she told me it was BPPV. This was two weeks and two days ago.

    After the first three or four days it started to get a lot better. After a week it was not anything worse than uncomfortable, and I only noticed it when I moved suddenly and sometimes when I laid down. Now after 16 days it is much better. I still feel dizziness when I tilt my head down and move it, but I don’t really think about it most of the time. I think it is still getting better more slowly.

    I wanted to share my experience to encourage others who have suddenly been diagnosed with BPPV.

  10. Jackie

    I have had bppv for 20 years. Went a long time without issues and one wrong roll in bed and it can re-occur. No meds work. I do epley on my own with my husband’s help. Go thru the whole process of sleeping at 45 degree angle and can go a pretty long time without happening again. I do get risidual whoosiness too. Never really goes away. Just goes into remission. Believe its a “for life” condition. Hate it.

  11. Terry

    By my name is Terry I recently discovered that I had vertigo and i went to the doctors they can’t fin out any thing to help me I’m so tired of this so if any one can help me to cope with this please help thanks

  12. Nann D

    I’m not sure if this is the right diagnosis for me or not but I also go to bed fine and wake up spinning I make my way to the bathroom then throw up clear liquids. This symptom comes and goes whenever…. Still looking for a Doc to tell me WTH is not right with me.

  13. Cynthia Balentine

    I saw 5 doctors before even being diagnosed! How frustrating and Scary! A brain and spine doctor has prescribed meclizine and some exercises. I got better, then got worse!

  14. Ann

    See a neuro ophthalmologist sometimes it’s the vision and vision therapy can help

  15. Fran

    I have had this going on for years and no-one can fix this. I can go to bed perfectly fine then wake up spinning as if I’m on the tea cup ride at the amusement park I’m spinning so hard I’m grabbing at anything that will help slow it down.i have learned to turn my head to the left and it stops. But this can last from a day to up to a few weeks. I have learned to live with this, I am always looking for a cure.
    Kerra Ray-stay in touch.

  16. Dhara patel

    I thought i will do susaid…bcoz i m so tried of bppv….now 4 year …but no one help me

  17. Dhara patel

    Hi i have bappv …no one can undersand my feeling..i am 28year….plz help me…i am suffring from 4 year…

  18. Dhara patel

    Hi plz help me

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