Doctor's Notes on Vertigo
Vertigo is the sense that you or your environment are moving or spinning in circles. It's considered to be one type of dizziness. It has been described as feeling like the world is spinning around you. One way to imagine vertigo is the sensation you get after spinning rapidly in circles for a period of time. These symptoms of vertigo occur even if you are standing still but typically get worse when moving the head. Nausea and vomiting are associated symptoms that can occur with vertigo.
Common causes of vertigo are:
- Vertigo usually happens as a result of problems within the inner ear, which regulates the body's sense of balance.
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) occurs when small crystals or stones normally found within the inner ear become displaced.
- Inflammation of the inner ear due to infection or other causes and fluid buildup within the inner ear (known as meniere's Disease).
What is the treatment for vertigo?
The treatment for vertigo depends on its cause and may include:
- Vestibular rehabilitation to improve balance signaling to the brain
- Repositioning maneuvers to move calcium deposits in the inner ear
- Antibiotics if the condition is related to a bacterial infection
- Corticosteroids to decrease swelling and inflammation
- Diuretics to reduce fluid buildup
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What Causes Vertigo Symptoms?Vertigo is usually caused by a problem in the vestibular system that includes parts of the inner ear and nervous system, which controls balance. Triggers for vertigo include head movements, bending over, standing too quickly, certain foods (salt, monosodium glutamate [MSG], caffeine, and alcohol), and nicotine.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.