What Causes Vertigo?

Vertigo is the sensation of movement, even when neither you nor your surroundings are moving. As a child you may have voluntarily induced vertigo by turning around and around in a circle until you fell down giggling.

For vertigo patients, though, the sensation is no fun. They can sometimes have trouble walking and feel nauseated and vomit. Even rolling over in bed can cause the uncomfortable sensation that the room is spinning.

Pinning down what’s causing vertigo is the key to treating it. Often it’s related to a problem in the vestibular system of the inner ear, the part of the ear that helps us maintain our balance. Less commonly, vertigo may be a result of a problem with the brain or central nervous system.

Possible causes of vertigo include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This happens when tiny calcium particles move into the inner ear canals, irritating the small hair cells there. Because the inner ear sends signals to the brain about our position, this condition can affect balance.
  • Meniere’s disease. Doctor believe Meniere’s disease is caused by a fluid buildup in the inner ear. It can occur along with hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. This inflammation in the inner ear is usually caused by a viral infection.
  • Medications. In some patients, vertigo can be a side effect of drugs they are taking, such as antidepressants, blood pressure medication, or antiseizure medications.
  • Stroke, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis, or head or neck injury. Although rare, sometimes vertigo is caused by a more serious underlying condition, such as a stroke or brain tumor.
  • Migraine headaches. Sometimes patients with basilar artery migraines will develop vertigo.

The doctors at Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) are trained to get to the bottom of causes of vertigo and come up with treatment plans to help patients get back to their normal lives.

AOC is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery, and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today.

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

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