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What is Vertigo?

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the false sensation that your environment is spinning when it is not. Vertigo is not a disease or condition; it is a symptom of a disease or condition. It can be caused by problems with the brain or spinal cord (central vertigo) or a problem with the inner ear (peripheral vertigo). Since most causes of vertigo begin in the inner ear, ENTs are the doctors that treat vertigo. Here are two of the most common causes of vertigo treated by ENTs.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo

This type of vertigo is experienced upon a change in position. You may experience this form of vertigo if you sit or stand quickly, if you turn your head quickly or when you first get out of bed in the morning. This type of vertigo usually lasts no more than just a minute. These vertigo episodes end just as quickly as they begin. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is not usually serious, but it is annoying. It’s caused by a dysfunction in the inner ear. The inner ear has very fine crystals (canaliths) that help your body be sensitive to gravity. If these crystals get dislodged and travel to the wrong place in your ear, the semicircular canal in your ear becomes sensitive to head position. This is not the portion of your ear that should be concerned about the position of your head. The ENT can perform a series of maneuvers that will help the crystals get back to the proper spot. This therapy is known as the canalith repositioning procedure. It can be performed in the office and takes no more than 15-25 minutes.

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease is most common after the age of 40 but it can start at any age. It is characterized by vertigo, hearing loss, tinnitus and a feeling of fullness in the ear. The vertigo may last anywhere from 20 minutes to up to four hours. The hearing loss may occur during the vertigo or alone. The tinnitus and sense of fullness in the ear is intermittent. It’s most commonly experienced in only one ear, but it can occur in both ears. The cause of this condition isn’t known for sure. The current medical consensus is that it is caused by a build-up of fluid in the inner ear. While fluid build up in the middle ear can be drained, the fluid in the inner ear cannot be easily drained. The fluid buildup causes inflammation to the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. When allergies are not controlled it make Meniere’s worse.

See the ENT for diagnosis

If you are experiencing episodes of vertigo, make an appointment with the ENT. The ENT is uniquely qualified to expertly diagnose and treat your vertigo.


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