It happens to everyone at least once. You stand up quickly and feel dizzy or you wake up and the bed is spinning in circles. While we might all feel dizzy every once in a while, dizziness and vertigo are two different things. If you feel like you are still and everything is spinning around you, that’s vertigo and you should see a doctor. You might wonder what kind of a doctor to see. ENTs are the natural choice for vertigo treatment because they are specialists in conditions of the ear.

How our ears keep us balanced

Quite a few organs work to give us a sense of where we are in a given space and our position. The skin on our feet or our bottom tells us if you we are standing or sitting. Our eyes tell us if we are standing, sitting, or lying down or even upside down. However our ears are the major player when it comes to our sense of balance.

In addition to processing sound signals, our inner ears also send signals to the brain telling us about our position relative to gravity and motion. When the inner ear has problems, it may send the wrong signals. This can be caused by infections, circulatory disease, and problems with the fluid or structures in your ears.

ENTs are doctors that have specialized in conditions of the ears, nose, and throat. They are familiar with how the ears function and are trained experts in diagnosing and treating conditions of the ear.

Common forms of vertigo and treatment options

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This form of vertigo happens when you change positions. You can turn your head quickly, stand quickly, or just roll over to get out of bed in the morning. The symptoms usually last just a minute and they go as quickly as they start. It is caused by the movement of small structures over the hair cells in your ears. If these structures get displaced or travel to the wrong area, the hair cells send the wrong signals. Your ENT will teach you to perform simple exercises to get everything back where it belongs!
  • Meniere’s disease. Meniere’s disease is most common after the age of 40. It is a combination of severe vertigo, ringing in the ears and a sense of fullness is your ears. You may experience some hearing loss. Episodes can leave you feeling exhausted. This condition is thought to be caused by an imbalance in the production and absorption of the natural fluid in the ear. This fluid is in the inner ear and cannot be drained. It is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. Treatment focuses on control and consists of diuretics, special diet and anti-nausea medication.
  • Labrynthitis. This is an infection of the inner ear that causes sever inflammation. This inflammation prevents the inner ear from working properly. Treatment for labyrynthitis includes medications to reduce the inflammation and infection.
  • Acoustic neuroma. Acoustic neuromas are very rare. They are non-cancerous tumors that occur on the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. They do not spread to other parts of the body. Usually the tumor only occurs on one side of the body. They can cause hearing loss and extreme vertigo. These tumors are removed through surgery or radiation.

When to seek vertigo treatment from an ENT

If you have just a bit of occasional dizziness or vertigo you shouldn’t be too concerned. However, if you have symptoms that last for a week or more or it seems like your vertigo is getting worse you need to call the ENT.