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Vertigo: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Vertigo is the sensation that either your body or your environment are moving about in space (usually spinning). There are numerous different diseases and conditions that might manifest themselves as vertigo. The most frequent causes of vertigo are diseases that affect the inner ear, such as those that are associated with:

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – This disorder creates a sudden sensation of spinning when the head position changes. Small crystals that breakaway in the inner ear canals and contact the sensitive nerve endings inside are the most likely cause.

Acute labyrinthitis, also known as vestibular neuritis, is an inflammation of the inner ear's balance system, most likely caused by a viral infection.

Ménière's disease (also known as Ménière's disease or Ménière's illness) Repeated episodes of dizziness, generally accompanied by ringing in the ears and gradual low-frequency hearing loss, resulting from this condition. A shift in the amount of fluid inside the inner ear causes Ménière's disease. Although the cause of this alteration is uncertain, experts believe it is related to loud noise, a viral infection, or physiological processes within the ear.


Symptoms

Vertigo can make you feel as if the room is spinning around you, or it might merely make you feel unbalanced. Nausea, vomiting, and ringing in one or both ears are all possible symptoms (tinnitus).

Diagnosis

Based on your description of your symptoms, your doctor will diagnose vertigo. Peripheral vertigo and central vertigo are the two most common types of vertigo.

Benign positional vertigo, labyrinthitis, and Ménière's disease are all examples of peripheral vertigo. When moving the head produces vertigo and returning it to a neutral posture cures symptoms, it's called positional vertigo. Labyrinthitis and Ménière's episodes typically strike suddenly and last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. There may be severe nausea and vomiting, as well as varying degrees of hearing loss.

In the cerebellum (back region of the brain) or the brain stem, central vertigo is a more significant issue.

Your eye will be examined by your doctor to see whether there are any odd jerking motions (nystagmus). The pattern of your eye movements might assist you to figure out if the issue is peripheral or central. Unless your doctor believes you have central vertigo, no additional testing is usually required. Your doctor will arrange a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your brain if central vertigo is suspected.

Expected Timeframe

Vertigo can persist anywhere from a few seconds to weeks or months, depending on the reason.

Prevention

Vertigo can happen to anyone at any time, and there is no way to avoid the initial attack. Because vertigo is linked to a strong sensation of unbalance, it's crucial to avoid circumstances where a fall might be dangerous, such as mounting a ladder or working on a sloped roof.



Treatment

Bed rest or medications that suppress inner ear activity, such as meclizine (Antivert, Bonine, and other brand names), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), or promethazine (Phenergan); anticholinergic medications, such as scopolamine (Transderm-Sco); or a tranquillizer, such as diazepam, may be prescribed by your doctor (Valium). Additional counsel may be given depending on the reason and duration of vertigo.

Your doctor may rotate your head and body through a variety of postures to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This is generally done on the examination table in the office. The manoeuvres move the tiny free-floating crystals out of the sensing tube. The Epley manoeuvre is the most often utilized technique. Your doctor may also recommend particular exercises that you may practice at home.

Other forms of vestibular rehabilitation, also known as balance rehabilitation, may be recommended if your vertigo persists. The exercises suggested are determined by the underlying cause of dizziness as well as the emotions that trigger the symptoms. For assistance in designing and instructing your therapy, your doctor may send you to an audiology specialist and/or a physical therapist.

When Should You See a Professional?


If you get a fresh episode of vertigo, especially if it is accompanied by a headache and substantial coordination issues, call your doctor. If you get mild vertigo that lasts more than a few days, consult your doctor.

Vertigo usually lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Acute labyrinthitis symptoms generally always go away without causing lasting damage. Other causes of vertigo might lead to symptoms that last longer.

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Photo credit: verywellhealth

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No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.

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