Experiencing Vertigo? Three Possible Causes

29 October 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If you are experiencing frequent periods of vertigo (dizziness and the sensation you are moving when you're not) or balance problems, you need to consult a medical professional. They can help identify the inner ear or nerve problems that are causing you to feel unsteady. There are a number of possible causes and this article will discuss three of them.

Inner Ear Problems

Your problem may be due to an inner ear condition and the most common are:

Meniere's disease  is a chronic condition that can cause vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).  It is possibly caused by fluid buildup and heightened inner ear pressure and it usually affects only one ear.  If you have this condition, you might experience periods of dizziness, nausea,  and vomiting for 20 minutes to twenty four hours. Treatment for this condition could include balance therapy, anti-nausea or motion sickness medicines, steroids, diuretics, surgery, or the implantation of a Meniett device that decrease fluid levels.

Labyrinthitis is an viral or bacterial infection that causes inflammation around the inner ear nerves that you use for balance. It also causes vertigo, dizziness, and nausea and you can also experience difficulty focusing your eyes, or hearing high frequency noises. Once your doctor has ruled out other causes, they may treat it with antihistamines, anti-nausea medications, sedatives or cortico-steroids.

Benign Paroxysmal Postional Vertigo, or BPPV, is condition that is caused when tiny inner ear crystals found normally in your ears get dislodged and begin to bump into your balance sensors. This will send abnormal motion signals to your brain and make you feel woozy or unbalanced, but it probably won't give you headaches or nausea . A specialist can detect where the problem in your inner ear is originating from and can devise a  treatment that would involve learning to do some special slow head movements to guide the crystals into a harmless area of your ears.

Peripheral neuropathy

Nerve damage that affects multiple regions of your body can also affect your balance. This condition, called peripheral neuropathy, can be caused by a multitude of things such as vitamin deficiencies, genetic disorders, alcoholism or drug abuse, or trauma, but the most common cause is diabetes. Not only will it cause balance problems but you may also experience numbness or burning pain in your extremities, muscle weakness, sweating, and sensitivity to touch.

Treatment will involve  finding the cause to prevent further damage with specific treatments, and:

  • Pain relievers
  • Antidepressants, 
  • Anti-seizure drugs, and/or
  • Physical therapy.

Acoustic Neuroma or Brain Tumor

Just reading about this type of condition may have you exclaiming  "It's not a too-mah!" in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.  Your condition is most likely not a tumor and more likely due to one of the above causes.  However, there is a type of benign tumor called an acoustic neuroma that may grow on the main nerve that goes from your ears to your brain, or it could appear on an area of the brain that controls your movement and coordination. It could remain a stable size or it could grow large enough to cause you real discomfort and vertigo.

If you have this condition, you might experience blurred vision, chronic headaches, vertigo and confusion. You may also experience ear tenderness, hearing loss, and tinnitus.

This is something your doctor may want to rule out and they may have you undergo brain imaging as part of diagnostic testing. Treatment may consist of monitoring it, symptomatic relief, or surgery.

Reminder to Seek Medical Attention

You shouldn't ignore symptoms like vertigo, balance/coordination problems, chronic headaches, or nerve problems. Not only would you want to be relieved of discomfort and chronic misery, your condition needs to be diagnosed for appropriate treatment and quality health care.