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Vertigo - What Causes It?

Dr. Nishit Shah 87% (10 ratings)
MS - ENT, DNB (ENT), DORL
ENT Specialist, Mumbai  •  28 years experience
Vertigo - What Causes It?

Vertigo is a medical condition where the affected person feels that the world or surrounding environment is spinning or moving. It is accompanied with nausea, vomiting, sweating and having problems in walking steadily. Moving your head worsens this condition. An illusion of movement is observed. Vertigo arises from several conditions. There are mainly two types of vertigo.

Peripheral vertigo:
This is the most common vertigo and is caused often due to a problem in the balance mechanism of the inner ear. The causes include:

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: Being one of the common causes of vertigo, BPPV occurs due to certain head movements when standing up or bending over. The attacks are short, powerful and recurrent in nature. Nausea is also accompanied. A feeling of light headedness and despaired balance is observed after the attack. Fragments of calcium carbonate crystals are broken off from the channel linings present in the inner ear. These fragments cause the problem by getting into the ear fluid canals, and certain  head movement sweeps them across the canal causing vertigo.
  2. Head injury: Vertigo develops due to head injuries, and the symptoms are similar to that of dizziness.
  3. Labyrinthitis: It is an infection in the inner ear, which causes the labyrinth of the ear to get inflamed. The labyrinth controls our hearing and balance. An inflammation causes it to send different information than the other, normal ear. This conflict causes vertigo. Such vertigo can be accompanied with nausea, vomiting, loss of hearing and ear pain.
  4. Vestibular neuronitis: This is a condition pertaining to the inner ear, which causes inflammation of the nerve which connects the labyrinth to the brain.  The condition arises from viral infections. Nausea and vomiting are observed, and this condition leads to vertigo.
  5. Menieres disease: This rare condition in the inner ear causes severe vertigo along with hearing loss and aural fullness. Menieres disease prompts sudden vertigo attacks with nausea and vomiting.

Central vertigo:

Central vertigo arises from problems in the cerebellum of the brain and brainstem. Causes include:

  1. Migraines
  2. Sclerosis, a condition which affects the central nervous system.
  3. Acoustic neuroma, a type of brain cancer growing on the acoustic nerve.
  4. Brain tumors, stroke or transient ischemic attack.
  5. Certain medications.

Treatment
Treatment of vertigo depends on the cause and on the extent of symptoms. Labyrinthis and vestibular neuronitis are cured by vestibular rehabilitation and medication. BBVV is treated using a process called the Epley maneuver. Menieres disease is cured by modes of dietary restriction, medication, treating tinnitus and treating hearing loss. Generally, curing the cause of vertigo helps in healing the disorder.

Vertigo is caused from different reasons and factors and rectification of these factors helps in the treatment of vertigo. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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