What are the Causes of Vertigo?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2018
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Vertigo is often characterized by a loss of balance, nausea, and a spinning sensation. There are a few common causes of vertigo, most of which involve the brain, connecting nerves, or the middle ear. For instance, this condition may be caused by inflammation of the inner ear, such as labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis. Meniere's disease is another common cause, which starts off with vertigo and often results in total hearing loss. Finally, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is a temporary condition that can lead to recurrent vertigo, and is typically caused by head trauma.

The labyrinth is the area of the inner ear that provides people with their sense of balance, so when it becomes inflamed after the onset of labryinthitis, it may seem like the world is spinning. This is usually caused by either a bacterial or viral infection, and the common symptoms often include dizziness and nausea. Another of the causes of vertigo involving inner ear inflammation is vestibular neuritis, which is typically the result of an upper respiratory infection. The vestibular nerve is part of the ear's vestibule, which helps the brain control the body's balance. Thus, most patients with this condition suffer from dizziness and loss of coordination, but normally escape the hearing problems that tend to come with most ear issues.


Meniere's disease describes a dysfunction involving the ear's labyrinth, and is usually caused by an abnormal amount of fluid in the ear. Though it is one of the causes of vertigo, it also involves various other symptoms, such as tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. In fact, this condition usually starts with recurrent episodes of slight hearing loss, vertigo, and tinnitus, eventually ending in complete loss of hearing. In most cases, though, Meniere's disease only occurs in one ear. While it cannot be cured, the symptoms may be treated with medication and diet changes.

One of the most common causes of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. This occurs when one of the crystals that sits on the ear's otolith organs falls into the semicircular canals. Since this type of crystal tends to cause sensitivity to movement, the result is extreme dizziness and loss of coordination while moving the head. Unlike most causes of vertigo, this type is usually the result of a blow to the head, though it can also be caused by an infection or disorder that damages the inner ear. The vertigo that is caused by BPPV tends to go away within days or weeks, but it can recur frequently in some patients.



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